Experience Prater's Mill Country Fair in 2.5 Minutes

The 2024 Prater’s Mill Country Fair will be postponed until October 11th & 12th 2025.

The majority of site used for the fair is needed for extensive building repair, site renovation, and creek bank reclamation projects planned for 2024

Information on the 2025 Prater’s Mill Country Fair will be released early this fall.

October 11 & 12, 2025

October 10 & 11, 2026


About the Fair

The Prater’s Mill Country Fair, begun by volunteers in 1971 to raise funds to restore the dilapidated 1855 grist mill and surrounding buildings, has grown into a legendary celebration of Appalachian traditions.  This is an invitation-only show where nearly 200 talented artists and craftsmen t must hand-make their items out of only natural materials.  We boast the best Southern food this side of Heaven, most prepared by local groups.
Prater’s Mill Historic Site is now owned by the people of Whitfield County but continues to be operated and maintained by the Prater’s Mill Foundation.  As a non-profit volunteer group, the foundation relies heavily on the revenue from the annual Country Fair.  This is our primary fundraising event.  All donations and proceeds from the fair go back into site maintenance and day to day operations.  The mission of the foundation is to protect, preserve and present the heritage of the Prater’s Mill Site for future generations. For more information call 706-694-MILL.
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair is sponsored by the Prater’s Mill Foundation, a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to historic preservation and education. Nearly 40 civic clubs, churches and schools also participate in the community event.

We encourage you to Become a Member or Volunteer to help during the fair.

Fair Program

Now Available

Digital Program

Virtual fair program: includes; exhibit map,  exhibitor and food  listings by category. Compatible with your smart phone. 

Plan Your Visit

At the fair, visitors take self-guided tours of Prater’s Mill viewing operating grist and Meadows mills and Shugart Cotton Gin. The 1898 Prater’s Store, Dr. Lacewell’s Office and Westbrook Barn which houses the Goodness-Smith Farm Collection, are also open and located across the road from the Mill.  On the ‘Store-Side’ visitors experience the inside of an old country store and can taste authentic Southern meals of chicken & dumplings, collard greens & cornbread cooked on a wood stove, view displays of antique tractors, cars, plows and more.
In many minds, the highlight of the Fair is the food. In addition to the ‘store-side offerings, other regional favorites are served at various points on the festival grounds. These include delicacies such as John’s Family pit-cooked barbecue, Cochran Family fried pies, North Georgia apple cider, and even fresh-churned ice cream..  See Fair Program for complete list of food items and locations.
Live entertainment on the main stage under the Saylors Pavilion features  Appalachian-style clogging exhibitions, country bands, and gospel singers.
In addition to live entertainment, the fair boasts several activities such as “Little Texas” kid’s train ride and Petting Zoo adored by children and adults alike.  Pony rides and face painting are always at the top of kids’ to-do list. The whole family can experience a short hike down the Prater’s Mill Greenway which connects to the Norma Gordon Nature Trail then to the Eagle Trail.  
Demonstrations include blacksmithing, quilting, weaving, caning, woodcarving and more. Living History and other historic displays including plows, tractors and cares.  “Peacock Alley” and other displays of hand tufting chenille, the precursor to the famous machine tufted carpet industry of Dalton, are scattered throughout the grounds.

Prater’s Mill offers a fascinating peek into the rural heritage of Northwest Georgia.

During the country fair, several products are available for purchase.

Since its beginnings around 1855, Prater’s Mill has been a gathering place for local farmers and their families. Arriving at the mill in mule-led wagons, the men folks would bring their corn to be ground into cornmeal; the women folks would shop at the store and visit with their neighbors to get up-to-date news in the area. The children would play games with their friends or swim in the creek, maybe even catch some fish for supper.

Visitors can still see the original set of French Buhr millstones in action when the miller opens the gates to flood the forebay. The Leffel turbine wickits are then opened, and the power of the water starts the mill stone spinning. The corn is then added into the hopper, and the “Damsel” starts her chatter.   The corn is slowly dropped onto the millstones to be ground into meal.

The grinding surface of the “runner” stone is concave and carved in a spoke-like pattern. The bed stone is also carved. As the runner stone rotates, the grain first gets cracked in the middle of the two stones, then it is pushed to the outer side by the spoke-like pattern where the finer grinding is done.


White or Yellow Plain Corn Meal
White Self-Rising Corn Meal
Whole Wheat Flour
White or Yellow Grits

Each are sold in 2-lb. bags for $6.00 each or 3 bags for $15.00.

Directions Map

 Visit Directions Page HERE

Dalton Location Map

GPS:: Lat. 34.89.525  Lon. -84.92.011

Getting there

Prater’s Mill is located at 5845 Georgia Highway 2, 10 miles northeast of Dalton, GA and 30 miles south of Chattanooga, TN.  Follow the signs from I-75 take Exit #341 (Tunnel Hill-Varnell).  Travel 4.5 miles North on Highway 201.  Turn right (East) onto Highway 2 (at Doller General in Varnell).  After 2.6 miles, cross Highway 71 (at Exxon, Shell, & McDonalds).  Continue on Highway 2 for 1 mile, then turn on your left turn signal to be directed to the closest Free Fair Parking lot.


Admission & PREP

Adult Admission is $10 cash only. Military ID and Children 12 and under are free.  An ATM is located outside the gate.  Bring the whole family to Prater’s Mill in Dalton, Georgia. What a great way to spend a day in the country!


Large wheeled wagons, carts or strollers will roll over gravel. Small wheels don’t roll. Casual Dress, Comfy Shoes & Mask – Strongly Urged!  

Signup to Volunteer

it is more than just a mill

2023 Volunteer Slots Now Open

You can meet new friends, have fun and sustain the history of your community. You can help by donating not only money, but preferably your time. We need volunteers to help in our office, help us maintain the grounds and especially to help do the many jobs to produce the Country Fair. Choose days, tasks, time slots to your liking. 

On the Grounds

Once upon a time Prater’s Mill and Dalton Rock shared an owner, so most of our exhibit space is gravel. High heels and small, thin wheeled strollers will find the terrain difficult at best.  Casual dress, comfortable shoes and wagons are the best way to go.
FOOD& DRINKS: for a more interesting, higher quality show, we do not duplicate food items. However, all food exhibitors may prepare Breakfast, Brewed Tea, Regular Coffee,  Lemonade, Limeade and offer bottles of Dasani® water, Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Sprite®, Dr, Pepper® and 4 flavors of Powerade®.  These 20 oz. screw-top, recyclable, plastic bottles sell at $2.00 each.
FIREARMS observe the laws and ordinances of Whitfield County and the Sate of Georgia pertaining to public events.  Alcohol is not permitted.

& Shuttle

♿️ PERMIT HOLDER?: Handicap parking in the Main Lot in the section next to the Blue Bus Stop where lift equipped buses shuttle from flat ground to flat ground.  Display permit or say ‘handicap tag’ on the road & in the lot and follow the handicap signage.

Free shuttle buses run constantly from the fair to designated stops in each lot. Each stop has its own color.  Remember the color to get back to the same stop.  Buses cannot drop off or pick up outside of these designated stops for safety and logistics reasons.

Newsletter Signup

Choose your content of interest

We periodically send out news/events letters. We don’t bombard your email monthly not even 10 times a year. And then only on the area(s) of interest you have selected. Click here to get on the list.


Pets Allowed

PETS ADMITTED FREE  Pets should be on leash & on good behavior, crowd, child and pet friendly. Owners must clean up after & control pets.  Georgia DOT will ONLY allow service animals on the shuttle busses.  To keep our historic park pet friendly,  ALL owners must take full responsibility for their pet and it’s actions. Letting us know if  your fellow owners are not adhering to policy by alerting a Volunteer (booth #025).

Complimentary clean up bags available at each ticket booth. On the first sign that your pet may be having issues with the crowd, small children, or other pets, please take steps to resolve and remove pet from situation and if needed removed from the grounds.  Otherwise  both you and your pet will be escorted out immediately.

• DOT regulations prohibit pets on shuttle buses.
• All pets must be on a leash and under control at all times.
• Pet should be acclimated to kids, crowds and pets.
• Property damage is the responsibility of owner.
• Service animals only on shuttle.
• Pet owners must clean up after their pets.
• Clean up bag(s) must be visible and with your dog.
• Young children should not walk pets.
• No pets allowed in restrooms or Port-o-lets
• Do not leave your pets unattended at any time.

Free Parking

All Parking at Prater’s Mill is free. The Prater’s Mill Traffic Control will direct you off the road and into the closest available lot where the Boy Scouts will take over and get you into the closest available space. The reverse will happen to get you back out and on your way.  We’ve be doing this for 4 decades, Trust that we know what we are doing. If everyone follows the signs and directors no-one will NOT get blocked in and the process will move quickly. We often park vehicles nose to tail BUT we leave driveways on each end to pull or back out. Please do not stop the vehicle to ask questions in line.  Why not? – the reason you had to wait to park is because the people in front of you did.  Follow signs & directions. Ask questions once parked

Our parking lots are hayfields, so this is not a trip to the mall.  Where you want to go may look just fine, however, it could be too soft, deep mud, a ditch, sink hole, two foot rock, or who knows what that’s not visible.  Follow the signs and directions for best results.

RVs and buses park up on the hill.  DO NOT ENTER the regular car lots with anything longer that 22 foot.

Making It Happen