As Labor Day weekend nears, thousands of local and out-of-town festival-goers will start experiencing Bartow’s diverse locales. With settings ranging from parks to historic structures, events offering carnival rides, artwork, the old West and live music will begin taking shape across the county through late October.
“I am so ready for [fall festival season],” said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “There’s something about festival season in Cartersville and Bartow County. It’s kind of like a homecoming. It’s just a wonderful time of year. The temperatures begin to get a little cooler and [there is] a little hint of fall each morning — it just makes you want to get out and attend some of these great festivals and start planning for seasons ahead. So it’s just a wonderful time of year. We have a lot of great festivals for people to get out and see.
“People have their favorites, of course, but without a doubt, I think we’re always looking for that unique setting, whether it be a historic downtown or ... just some place of significance like the tabernacle out at Pine Log [United] Methodist Church or whether it be by the covered bridge out in Euharlee or even ... the historic downtown of Adairsville. People really appreciate that sense of place because that’s what does make things very unique. [Other festivals are] unique by the type of things that you’re going to be seeing. Where else in the South can you go and see an authentic gunfight?” she said, referring to the Booth Western Art Museum’s Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium. “So we’re really excited to be able to put on so many different festivals here. We just have a wonderful tourism community here that wants to share what we have to offer and puts on great events each fall.”
For Wheeler, the festivals’ variety and unique locations set the events apart from the offerings of surrounding counties.
Many of Bartow’s festivals are rooted in a sense of history. Some of the historical and religious structures that will be highlighted this fall include Pine Log United Methodist Church’s campground and tabernacle; Rose Lawn Museum, the former residence of the late renowned evangelist, Samuel Porter Jones; and the Euharlee Covered Bridge. Along with attracting Bartow residents, many of the fall staples also will reach a broader audience.
“The Booth Western Art Museum always brings in a lot of out-of-town visitors for their cowboy festival,” Wheeler said. “Of course, they market across the U.S. to enthusiasts of Western art. But even festivals with long tenures like [the Arts Festival at] Rose Lawn or [the] Pine Log Arts and Crafts Fair, as well as the Great Locomotive Chase Festival [in downtown Adairsville] — those festivals in and of themselves really give people the opportunity for a homecoming.
“So [for] people who might have some tie to [Bartow County] ... it’s a good reason to bring others from their newfound communities home to show them around. So we do find a lot of people come from outside the area. Certainly with metropolitan Atlanta so close, it makes it very easy to have people come and stay the weekend.”
Echoing Wheeler’s comments, Allatoona Charities President Dallas Godfrey expressed Sam Smith Park is a central location for Pioneer Days’ patrons. Since changing venues to Cartersville in 2009, the four-day event typically draws about 10,000 people annually.
“The event’s been held for 35 years total,” Godfrey said. “We moved [to Cartersville] because we grew too large for the place we had in Acworth. So we moved to Sam Smith [Park]. ... We’ve got plenty of room to grow more up there. So that’s what we looked for — a place large enough to where we wouldn’t have to worry about five, 10 years down the road having to move it again.
“We draw about 10,000 [people] each year. ... They’re really from all over north Georgia. We look at tags in the parking lot usually on Saturday night because that’s the largest night we have. They’re from as far as down in Fulton County to Alabama [to Catoosa County].”
To be based at Sam Smith Park, 1155 Douthit Ferry Road, Pioneer Days will be presented Friday, Sept. 4, from 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 5, from noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 6, from noon to 11 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 7, from noon to 10 p.m.
Along with providing family-oriented entertainment, such as an arts and craft show, carnival rides, musical entertainment and a fireworks display at dusk Sept. 7, Pioneer Days will serve as a fundraiser for Allatoona Charities Inc. Last year’s offering generated about $20,000 that was dispersed to those in need in southern Bartow, northern Cobb, northwestern Paulding and southwestern Cherokee counties.
“[Allatoona Charities’] mission is to [provide] immediate help for needy families,” Godfrey said. “We’re not subsidized by [the] government. ... It [was] a group of 25 or 30 of us that put Allatoona Charities together back in ’79 [or] ’80.
“... We spread our money thin because this is the only event we hold every year. So we limit light bills to like $150, groceries to like $150. ... Then we also help the battered women’s shelter there in Cartersville and [Advocates for Children’s Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter]. ... There’s a lot of people out there that get in dire straits. ... [It is Allatoona Charities’] desire to help people in need in our community.”
Admission to Pioneer Days will be $5 per person, but there will be no charge for children 11 and younger. Daily wrist bands will be sold for $20, granting individuals unlimited rides.
For more information about Pioneer Days, visit http://www.pioneerdaysga.com. Further details about upcoming fall festivals can be obtained by viewing future editions of The Daily Tribune News or the local CVB’s website, http://www.visitcartersvillega.org.
In addition to promoting Pioneer Days, CVB’s festival lineup includes Pine Log Arts & Crafts Fair at Pine Log United Methodist Church Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 13 from noon to 5 p.m.; How Sweet the Sound at Sam Smith Park Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.; 40th annual Arts Festival at Rose Lawn at Rose Lawn Museum Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 20 from noon to 5 p.m.; Bartow County Fair at American Legion Fairgrounds from Sept. 22 to 27; 47th annual Great Locomotive Chase Festival at Adairsville Public Square Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Oct. 4 from noon to 5 p.m.; Duck Derby at Terminus Wake Park Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Oktoberfest at Anheuser-Busch at Anheuser-Busch Brewery Oct. 3 from noon to 5 p.m. and Oct. 4 from noon to 5 p.m.; Euharlee Covered Bridge Fall Festival at Frankie Harris Park Oct. 16 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival at downtown Cartersville Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 13th annual Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium at Booth Western Art Museum Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a 7 p.m. concert, and Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.