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Country Fair & Festival opens
Much more than just rides and corndogs
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going

* The Cumming Country Fair & Festival opens at 4 p.m. today and runs through Oct. 14. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 12:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

* Admission is $7 for adults; $3 for students 18 and younger; and free for children 4 and younger. Parking is $3. Ride tickets are $1 each, 22 for $20 or 55 for $50. All rides require more than one ticket.

* For complete fair information, visit

Cumming Fairgrounds workers have been busy since Monday putting the final touches on their biggest event of the year.

The Cumming Country Fair & Festival opens at 4 this afternoon, spanning 11 days before its finish Oct. 14.

Besides fairgrounds employees, the James H. Drew Exposition rolled into town Monday, bringing numerous carnival workers who each year set up the more than 40 rides and dozens of games along the midway.

In addition, more than 65 businesses, civic groups and other organizations have set up booths, tents and other displays this week.

Perhaps the only remaining task is to open the gates and let the crowds flow into the venue.

Dave Horton, director of the fairgrounds, said the event, now in its 18thyear, draws at least 120,000 people every year.

In 2006, the record year for attendance, Horton said 128,000 people came.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt is a faithful fair-goer. He said the festival is one of his favorite events of the year.

“We’re always excited about the fair,” he said. “It’s kind of a big tailgate party … we get to see people who we haven’t seen since last year, a lot of them.

“I make a trip down there every day and we greet our friends and newcomers who haven’t ever been to the fair before.”

Gravitt said he’s always happy to see the various performers that the fair brings, as well as indulge in the fair fare.

“We’re excited about all the shows and the fair food,” he said. “I gain a good bit of weight during the fair. But that’s what it’s all about, having a good time.”

This year’s entertainment lineup includes Cumming native Chris Cauley, who appeared earlier this year on NBC’s “The Voice,” and country chart-topper Gloriana, who will both perform Friday.

Confederate Railroad and the Kentucky Headhunters take the stage Tuesday, while the Marvel Avengers will have two shows and “meet and greet sessions” for kids on Wednesday.

Gravitt said he’s especially looking forward to again seeing the Charlie Daniels Band, which appears at the fair about every other year, on Oct. 11.

“He’s a real favorite and a true American pioneer,” Gravitt said. “He’s a great entertainer and a great American and everybody just loves Charlie.”

Among this year’s ground acts, which perform at various times and locations throughout the 11-day run, are Brian Ruth Master of the Chainsaw, King BMX Stunt Show, Kachunga and the Alligator Show, and Horses, Horses, Horses.

“I think the ground acts have a lot of different things for folks as far as their tastes go,” Horton said.

Some other returning favorites to this year’s fair are Oscar the Robot, who roams the grounds interacting with guests, and a petting zoo with animals ranging from pigs and goats to emus and zebras.

For the second year, the fair will close with the American Bull Riders Tour on both Oct. 13 and 14.

As always, the fairgrounds themselves are an attraction with the Heritage Village and Cherokee Indian Village.

Heritage Village features a saw mill, cotton gin, back smith shop, cider press and other buildings representing a village from more than a century ago.

The Indian Village celebrates Forsyth County’s native Cherokee heritage.

Horton said villages are some of his favorite attractions at the fair.

“Those venues, I think are kind of what sets us apart from a lot of other fairs,” he said. “Those along with our great shows are what make it a little more unique.

“You know our fair has a lot more to offer than just rides and corndogs.”