Local News

October 8, 2012

Prater’s Mill Country Fair pays tribute to Georgia’s Peacock Alley

It’s country fair time at old Prater’s Mill on Saturday and Sunday.

Always held on the second full weekend in October, the fair is presented at historic Prater’s Mill, a water-powered grist mill that still grinds organic corn the old-fashioned way. The mill is located at 5845 Ga. Highway 2, Dalton. Admission is $7.

Begun by volunteers in 1971 to raise funds to restore the 1855 mill and surrounding buildings, the rural festival offers original art, handmade crafts, Southern foods and music. The event is a featured destination in the National Geographic MapGuide to Appalachia, www.nationalgeographic.com/appalachia.

Crafts demonstrations include blacksmithing, quilting, wood carving, chair caning and hand tufting, a cottage industry that evolved into the tufted carpet industry centered in Dalton.

“I demonstrate tufting at Prater’s Mill to preserve the heritage of our textile industry that is so important to us today,” said Jeanette Defore Coker, age 68. “I grew up on the famous Peacock Alley, the nickname of U.S. Highway 41, where colorful bedspreads flopped in the wind on both sides of the road.”

“My exhibit at Prater’s Mill is a tribute to the creative genius of the people here who revived the art of tufting, developed machines to tuft, and marketed their products worldwide,” Coker said.

At the fair, visitors take self-guided tours of the operating grist mill, the country store, Shugart Cotton Gin and Westbrook Barn, complete with farm animals, a petting zoo and animals to adopt.

Across the road from the mill is the 1898 Prater’s Store. In a cabin near the store, Dalton Pike Church of God members serve authentic Southern meals of chicken and dumplins, collard greens and cornbread cooked on a wood burning stove. Elsewhere throughout the festival area are other specialties, such as pit-cooked barbecue, apple cider and churned ice cream.

During the fair, families enjoy canoeing on the Coahulla Creek, riding the “Little Texas” train and pony rides for the children. Educational exhibits include working antique tractors, antique cars and “Peacock Alley,” a clothesline display of handtufted bedspreads.

Continuous entertainment on stage offers Appalachian-style cloggers, a wild animal presentation, the play “The Legend of Charles Prater,” as well as country, bluegrass and gospel artists. Wandering musicians, dulcimer players and storytellers perform throughout the festival area.

The Prater’s Mill Country Fair is sponsored by the Prater’s Mill Foundation, a nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to historic preservation and education. Thirty-seven civic clubs, churches and schools also participate in the community event.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7, children 12 and under free. Visitors are urged to dress casually and wear comfortable shoes. Parking is free.

Prater’s Mill is 10 miles northeast of Dalton, about 30 miles south of Chattanooga. Interstate travelers should take I-75 to the Tunnel Hill-Varnell exit (341); drive north 4.5 miles to the intersection with Highway 2 at Varnell; turn right and continue 2.6 miles to the mill, a total distance of seven miles from I-75.

For more information, call (706) 694-MILL (6455) or email pratersmill@PratersMill.org or visit www.PratersMill.org.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014