The Great Locomotive Chase Festival celebrates the historic 1862 chase of James Andrews and a band of Union spies who stole a Confederate train and traveled throughout the countryside taking up track and burning bridges in an attempt to disrupt the Confederate supply lines.
When asked why they attend the yearly festival many people said simply: to see people. Roger Collins of Adairsville said the festival is a great place to "catch up with old school friends and see people I don't see very often." Jerri Holloway, the director of the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum, agrees.
"People come here to see friends they haven't seen since the last year," she said. "The people are the best thing about the festival."
Nine-year-old Julia Urda might disagree. Her favorite part of the festival was the rides -- specifically the swinging boat ride.
As for Darlene McMicken, she came to see two of her step-grandsons who were in Saturday's parade. The parade, which began at 11 a.m., featured Adairsville's community with school groups -- such as the JROTC, the marching band, and the homecoming court -- as well as local businesses, scout groups, sports teams, the fire department, and more. Then at 3 p.m. the yearly Miss Great Locomotive Chase Festival Pageant began.
Throughout the day students from the Adairsville High School Fine Arts Department came to the festival to perform as living statues. Students dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and other subjects to help raise money for their program. They showed up throughout the weekend, frozen in place just like statues.
During the festival, Adairsville's museum was open to give residents and visitors a chance to look at Adairsville's past. The museum featured presentations on subjects such as yarn making, diagonal bead weaving, quilling, scherensnitte, and creating paper dolls.
"You would be surprised how many kids walk through here and learn something new," Collins said, who explored the museum for the first time Saturday.
One of the presenters for the museum was Connie Smith who did the presentation on how clothing was made. She used cards -- objects shaped like hair brushes -- to straighten unorganized bits of fiber. She then brought the material to the spindle to spin the fiber into threads. According to Smith, this was a task the 17th century girl would often do.
"This is one thing that grabs people's attention," she said. "They've never seen it before." Smith said that today everything is hidden in factories so people no longer know where things come from nor appreciate the time and hours hand-made material takes to make. She said that understanding the processes used to create our various daily products is important. She quoted what she called an important old saying, "If you don't know your history, you are doomed to repeat it." Smith said that the hand-made crafts are her favorite part of the festival. "The food is wonderful too."
The feast of food included pork skins, chicken on a stick, Cajun-style seafood, taco salad, burgers and funnel cakes. Crafts displayed included pottery, local artwork and wood craftsmanship -- for example, log lamps. Among the various craftsmen and women was writer Barbara Tarnow, who gave a book signing of "My Friend Noah" inside Adairsville's museum.
A resident of White, Tarnow works at Cloverleaf Elementary School as a paraprofessional with special needs children. While working at Cloverleaf she watched a friendship grow between a student with Down's syndrome named Noah and his classmate Zac, which became the basis of the story. Tarnow said the story originally started as a note to go home to Noah's mother but soon turned into something much more. "I tell everyone it was God-inspired," Tarnow said. "Never in my lifetime would I have thought I would become a writer." Her book was released in August.
The festival continues today. A variety of performers are scheduled to sing including Brenda Bradshay, Renewed Trio and Jimmy Temples Family. After a performance by Weaver Believer Survival Revival at 4:15 p.m. the festival will end until next year's festival.