Just like cooler temperatures, the Cumming Country Fair & Festival is finally here.
The 11-day annual festival kicked off at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Cumming Fairgrounds on Castleberry Road.
The fair, which features a variety of entertainment, rides, food and other attractions, is the largest and longest event in Cumming.
Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the event drew about 125,000 people to the city during its 16th run last year.
And this year, the mayor is hoping for an even larger turnout.
“We’re hoping for good weather and good crowds,” he said. “We hope everyone will join us for a lot of fun and hospitality.”
Gravitt, who typically attends the fair each day, said his favorite part is seeing old friends.
“You get to see friends you haven’t seen a lot of time since last year’s fair,” he said. “It’s the biggest social event in the city of Cumming and Forsyth County.”
Another favorite of the mayor’s is listening to the musical acts.
This year’s lineup includes Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Joe Nichols at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 and returning favorite the Charlie Daniels Band at 8 p.m. Oct. 13.
“This is the first time for Marty Stuart, so we’re really excited about that,” Gravitt said.
While always family-focused, Gravitt said this year’s fair will also feature more activities for children.
“We have a lot of things for kids this year,” he said. “I think that’s due to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta being one of our big sponsors this year.”
The children’s medical network opened a Forsyth County location in June.
Children’s will sponsor a new Marvel Comics superhero show at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12, as well as free admission that night.
“There’s also lots of free [admission] days for kids and days where kids can ride for free,” Gravitt said.
Another new attraction Gravitt anticipates is an American BullRiders Tour competition at 8 p.m. Oct. 15 and 6 p.m. Oct. 16.
“We’ll have to move all the stages right after all the entertainment to make room for the bulls,” Gravitt said.
Gravitt’s also looking forward to the fair’s fare.
“I have to admit I love the fair food,” he said. “That’s one of my favorite things.
“You go down there and smell all that good food and just have to get some.”