Prater's Mill Country Fair

October 12th & 13th, 2019

What is Prater's Mill Country Fair?

Signup to Volunteer

it is more than just a mill

You can meet new friends, have fun and sustain the history of your community. We need volunteers to help in our office, help us maintain the grounds and especially to help do the many jobs to produce the show. Choose tasks and time slots to your liking. 

Newsletter Signup

Less than 10 sent all year

We have a periodic newsletter. Click here to get on the list.

Buy Advance Tickets

Use Bank Account or Card

Buy advanced ticket online starting in mid September. Save time at the gate. No cash required. Print or Display receipt on smart phone for entry.

2018 Fair Program

2019 coming late September

View and download the fair program, exhibit map, entertainment schedule, and exhibitor listings by category.

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.
 
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.
 
Continuous live entertainment on the main stage under the Saylors Pavilion features  Appalachian-style clogging exhibitions, country bands, and gospel singers. Pat Bryant with many of her 12 grandchildren sing and play instruments – including dulcimer on the front porch of the mill.
 
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. 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. Pony rides and face painting are always at the top of kids’ to-do list.
 
Demonstrations include blacksmithing, quilting, weaving and woodcarving. “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.
 
Adult admission is $7.00 cash per person per day for adults; children 12 and under, free; military with ID, free; parking & shuttle service, free. If you don’t have cash, we now have a card option. Text PMTIX to 44321 on your smartphone to purchase advance online tickets ($7.50). Visitors are urged to dress casually & wear comfortable shoes.

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.

Parking is Free

All Parking at Prater’s Mill is free. The Prater’s Mill Traffic Control will direct you off the road and into our parking lots where the Boy Scouts will take over and get you in a space. The Boy Scouts will help navigate the lots and direct you back out to go home. You may have many questions, please do not stop the vehicle to ask. We are parking you in the closest available lot in the closest space. Why not stop? – that brief conversation time multiples by the number of vehicles in line, exponentially increasing the time each driver must wait to get parked.  You may not understand what we are doing. We often park vehicles nose to tail where you may think you will be blocked in, but we leave driveways so everyone can either back out or pull forward to leave with out obstruction.  

Our parking lots are hayfields, so this is not a trip to the mall.  You may think where you want to go is a good spot to park, however, it may be too soft, deep mud, a ditch or sink hole, two foot rock, or who knows what that you cannot see or don’t know better.  We have roped off driveways and bus stops to give the lot some structure.  If you follow our direction and park where we show you, you should have no problem getting out. If for some reason you do then, we will get you out and on your way fast as we can. Free shuttle buses run constantly from the fair grounds to designated points in each parking lot. Each bus 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 areas for safety reasons.

Handicapped? Reserved handicap parking is the section next to the blue bus stop where wheel chair lift shuttles will deliver you onto the flat fair grounds. Display permit on the road to be sent to the right lot, then inside for faster, accurate direction to the closest available spot. 

RVs and buses park in a special lot up on the hill. DO NOT ENTER the car lots with anything longer that 13 foot.

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.

A note of the food: for a more interesting, higher quality show, we do not duplicate food items. However, all food vendors may prepare Breakfast, Brewed Tea, Regular Coffee,  Lemonade, Limeade and offer bottles of Dasani® water, Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Sprite®, Dr, Pepper® and up to four flavors of Powerade®.  All 20 oz. bottles sell at $2.00 each.

As to firearms, observe the laws and ordinances of Whitfield County and the Sate of Georgia pertaining to public events.  Alcohol is not permitted. 

What about the Dog?

Pets are admitted free. We do require you to pick up after them and keep them leashed at all times. Georgia DOT will ONLY allow service animals on the shuttle busses.  We would like to be able to keep our park pet friendly, but it does take ALL pet owners to take full responsibility for their pet in order to do so. We hope pet owners will continue to help us in our efforts to keep our historic park clean and pet friendly by letting us know if our policies are not being met and alert a Volunteer in this event.

Pet Policies:

• DOT regulations prohibits animals on the shuttle buses.
• All animals must be on a leash and controlled at all times.
• Pet owners must clean up after their pets.
• Clean up bag(s) must be visible and with your dog.
• Young children should not walk the dog.
• No pets allowed in restrooms or Port-o-lets
• Do not leave your pets unattended at any time.

Clean up bags are available at the ticket booths if you run out. On the first sign that your pet may be having issues with the crowd, small children, or other pets, please take steps to rectify (if possible) and prepare to remove them from the grounds. If your pet causes problems, you and them will both be escorted out immediately. 

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