October 9, 2013

Prater’s Mill: A fall tradition

The Daily Citizen

— This weekend could really be considered the beginning of fall in this region as you feel the cooler temperatures and see more leaves changing colors, plus Columbus Day is Monday. But in these parts the real observance is the annual Prater’s Mill Country Fair that gets underway in Varnell.

For the 42nd year, too.

The water-powered grist mill itself dates back to the 1850s and still grinds corn as it did in its beginning.

And once again this weekend the grounds around the mill on Coahulla Creek will come alive with hundreds of people browsing by the booths manned by dozens of artisans and craftsmen selling rural-themed items ranging from handmade quilts to canned salsas.

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

Appalachian heritage is abundant with continuous entertainment supplied by cloggers and bluegrass musicians as well as gospel singers.

And let’s not forget to recommend the food offerings, including favorites ranging from apple fritters to chicken and dumplings.

Presented by the nonprofit Prater’s Mill Foundation, this annual tradition that has become part of the fabric of Whitfield County could not continue to be a success without the dedication of volunteers and devoted organizers.

So set aside some time this weekend to take a fun look back at “the way things used to be.” It’s something that will likely become a part of your family’s traditions, if it isn’t already.