“The slightest hint of cool weather in the air or anything like that will prompt people to say, ‘I want to go to the mountains, or ‘I want to travel, I want to do things,’” said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Once you get school back in session and things calm down from the summer, [then] you get that itch, wanting to do things. So the fall festival season is a great opportunity to do that, to get out and spend the day if not a weekend just getting out and seeing things. So we’re always very excited and very energized with this time of year.
“... Actually, we do [see people visiting from throughout the state]. This year, for instance, is an anniversary year for [the] Pine Log [Arts & Crafts Fair], which is a great testament to the members of [Pine Log United Methodist Church] that have put this on every year. It’s a great fundraiser for their organization. It’s really developed a great following through the years. So yes, the more people come and enjoy it, the more they share with family and friends. We like to do [a] car tag search — show up at an event and walk through the parking lot and see where people are coming from. Certainly it’s an easy drive there just off U.S. 411 for Pine Log, for instance. You really attract people from many surrounding counties, so we certainly look for that. Even as far away as say, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga and just beyond, we look for those visitors as well.”
For Wheeler, many of Bartow’s festivals are rooted in a sense of history. Among the featured historical and religious structures will 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.
“No one else has our beautiful settings,” Wheeler said. “When you look at the spiritual history there at Pine Log and that beautiful country church and those camp meeting cabins. That setting and that tabernacle, those are very rare things these days. Wooden structures, they go by the wayside.
“[And] Rose Lawn, what a treasure. For many people, [the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn is] a rare opportunity to see Rose Lawn. Because it is a special events home, it’s one of the few opportunities in the year that you can go in on the weekend and take a guided tour. Some people are still just learning that story, the legacy of Sam Jones. So it’s a great opportunity to get out and experience the traditional fall festivals but also to learn and to experience unique settings that are found nowhere else.”
As in past years, Labor Day weekend will signal the start of the fall festival season. Since changing venues to Cartersville in 2009, Pioneer Days’ four-day offering typically draws 10,000 to 15,000 people annually.
To be based at Sam Smith Park, 1155 Douthit Ferry Road, Pioneer Days will be presented Friday, Aug. 29, from 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 30, from noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 31, from noon to 11 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 1, 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. 1, Pioneer Days will serve as a fundraiser for Allatoona Charities Inc. Last year’s offering raised be3
tween $8,000 and $9,000 that was dispersed to those in need in southern Bartow, northern Cobb, eastern Paulding and southwestern Cherokee counties.
“We help [provide] immediate help for needy families,” said Dallas Godfrey, president of Allatoona Charities. “This is the only fundraiser we do a year, so we don’t have a whole lot of money. There’s just a group of us that do this festival every year.
“We take our proceeds from it and we help people that need help with groceries sometimes or maybe a light bill if it’s not too high. If it’s more than what we can afford, then we’ll pay part of it and tell them to talk to another organization about paying some of it. .... Naturally, it’s fulfilling [to help other people]. A lot of times, we help people but we really don’t toot our own horn. We keep it sort of private.”
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 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/.