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Festival taking shape
Preparations 'full throttle on the fair'
Fair WEB 1
Oliver Willey makes friends with a goat in the petting zoo during the 2011 Cumming Country Fair & Festival. This year’s event begins Oct. 4. - photo by File photo

While it’s about a month away, it’s never too soon to start thinking about this year’s Cumming Country Fair & Festival.

The 11-day event runs Oct. 4-14 at the Cumming Fairgrounds, and Dave Horton, fairgrounds director, said it’s probably the largest gathering in the county.

“Truly, I think we are the signature event as far as a single event in the county for the year,” he said.

Horton said the fair, now in its 18th year, typically draws more than 120,000 people.

“2006 was the record and we were right at 128,000,” he said. “A typical year, it’s about 120,000 to 125,000 and that’s with a few days of being affected by weather.”

Horton said this year’s crowds can expect the same family fun that the tradition brings each year, as well as some new offerings.

Among the continuing favorites is the fairgrounds’ Heritage Village, which features a saw mill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, cider press and other buildings representing a village from more than 100 years ago.

There’s also the Indian Village, which celebrates Forsyth County’s native Cherokee heritage, and the Drew Exposition Midway with carnival rides and games for all ages.

The fair also offers several concerts and ground acts, which are all free with admission.

Horton said this year’s entertainment line-up features some old favorites, as well as some new faces.

The Charlie Daniels Band, which performs at the fair about every other year, will return Oct. 11 after it was unable to take the stage last year following the death of a band member.

“We’re glad they were available to come back this year,” Horton said.

Other performers scheduled to appear include “local boy” Chris Cauley, who was a contestant on last year’s NBC singing show “The Voice,” and Gloriana, which Horton said has spent more than 40 weeks on the Billboard Charts with its single, “Kissed You Good Night.”

Cauley and Gloriana will perform Oct. 5.

Confederate Railroad and The Kentucky Headhunters are scheduled for Oct. 9.

“That’ll be some good old Southern rock,” Horton said.

On Oct. 10, the Marvel Avengers characters Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk will have two shows as well as “meet and greet events with the kids,” Horton said.

“We’ve also got a couple of new ground acts this year,” he added. “The King BMX Stunt Show, we had them four or five years ago and they’ll be back this year.

“And then there’s Horses, Horses, Horses, which we’ve never had before. She’s got some regular horses and some miniature horses, so we’re excited about that one.”

A big factor in every fair is the weather, but Horton said he and his staff “we’ll take whatever [they’re] given and deal with it.”

“You expect a few possible weather-affected days, but you just hope you don’t get a [closure] day,” he said. “Hopefully the hurricane season won’t be prolonged. Generally, it’s kind of winding down the last couple of weeks in September. And hopefully since it kind of got cranked up late this year, it’s not going to run late.”

For the next few weeks, he and his staff will be focused on getting everything ready for the festival.

“We’ve got the [Labor Day weekend] rodeo out of the way, now it’s full throttle on the fair,” he said.