Labor Day weekend kicks off fall festival season
by Marie Nesmith
Aug 25, 2013 | 2902 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With Labor Day weekend signaling the start of the fall festival season, many of Bartow’s parks, downtown squares and historic sites will be transformed over the next few months.

For annual festival-goers, this time of year sparks memories of browsing through arts-and-crafts booths, sampling carnival rides and tantalizing their taste buds with funnel cakes. Beginning with Pioneer Days Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 and the rescheduled Stars, Stripes and Cartersville Sept. 2 at Cartersville’s Sam Smith Park and Dellinger Park, respectively, numerous seasonal offerings are expected to draw thousands of Bartow residents and visitors through November.

“Fall festivals are certainly a tradition,” said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “... There is just some desire to get out [and] enjoy the weather, but also to see things that the Earth provides and handmade crafts and things like that. So, I think, that’s somewhat the attraction. I do think weather has a lot to do with it and typically we want that reprieve from warmer temperatures in the summer. I don’t think that having a little bit cooler spell here in August is going to have much of an effect, but I think it’s just those crisp days, people just enjoy the sunshine.

“There’s lots of reasons to get out and travel. We do see people coming to festivals from outside our county mainly because we are blessed being in the mountains. We may not feel like we’re in the mountains and some of our residents may even go further north, but there are plenty [of people] throughout Georgia and the south of us that come in for our festivals and enjoy them so much. We have a lot of great things to offer.”

While Cartersville’s parks play host to the first pair of festivals, many of the upcoming venues are going to provide patrons with a sense of history. Among the featured historical and religious structures include Pine Log United Methodist Church’s campground and tabernacle; Rose Lawn Museum, the former residence of the late renowned evangelist, Samuel Porter Jones; and the Euharlee Covered Bridge.

“Events, such as Pioneer Days and the Great Locomotive Chase Festival up in Adairsville, both of those festivals have long histories,” Wheeler said. “Pioneer Days’ landscape has changed somewhat in that it’s only been up here in Cartersville for several years, but both of those festivals have a good family flavor in terms of the carnival rides for the kids and musical concerts, things like that. ... Then [we have] the other festivals, like our wonderful arts and crafts festivals, [such as] Rose Lawn, [which] has blossomed so much over the past years. And I know people adore Pine Log [Arts and Craft Fair] for its setting. It’s just a very primitive and unique setting there with Pine Log camp cabins and the old tabernacle. It gives people an opportunity to see things they just don’t see every day.

“But the Rose Lawn festival has grown greatly. I know they are expecting about 150 artists, vendors, craftsmen to be there and a great lineup of entertainment as always. So I think these festivals flourish both in content and their uniqueness of location. Euharlee Covered Bridge — there are people that travel the state just to see the old covered bridges. So we are very, very blessed. And [we are] excited about new opportunities too with the Bluegrass & Folk Festival that’s coming to downtown Cartersville. I’d love to see that grow greatly over the years.”

As in past years, Pioneer Days will kick off the fall festival season. Since changing venues to Cartersville in 2009, the four-day offering typically draws about 15,000 people annually.

To be based at Sam Smith Park, 1155 Douthit Ferry Road in Cartersville, Pioneer Days will be Friday, Aug. 30, from 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 31, from noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 1, from noon to 11 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 2, from noon to 10 p.m.

Along with providing family-oriented entertainment, such as carnival rides, arts-and-crafts vendors, musical entertainment and a fireworks display at dusk Sept. 2, Pioneer Days will serve as a fundraiser for Allatoona Charities Inc., which assists area residents in need.

According to, “ACI has three goals: help the needy, assist other non-profit organizations in the local community and state, and to assist national charitable organizations as deemed appropriate by the membership. ... ACI [hosts] an annual Christmas Luncheon for approximately 125 senior citizens [in] the area. Food, entertainment, door prizes and individual presents are provided — most of it donated.

“ACI also has provided Christmas presents each year for over 100 children and adults, our efforts are coordinated [through] Shop with a Hero, Joy Foundation. In addition to these events, [the nonprofit helps meet] the needs of every day life, such as rent, food, electricity, gas, prescription medicines, eyeglasses.”

Admission to Pioneer Days will be $5 per person, but there will be no charge for children 11 and younger. Daily wrist bands will be sold for $20, granting individuals unlimited rides. To obtain more information about Pioneer Days, visit

On Labor Day, sight-seers will be treated to two fireworks displays at dusk. Pioneer Days’ offering will follow the Stars, Stripes and Cartersville display at Dellinger Park. Originally scheduled for Independence Day, the Stars, Stripes and Cartersville event — presented by Cartersville Morning Optimist Club — will begin at 10 a.m. and feature live entertainment, children’s activities, food and craft vendors, pony and camel rides, and a petting zoo.