The 2019 Northwest Georgia Regional Fair will open the gates next Friday at 5 p.m. and offer more rides, shows and entertainment that ever before for nine nights in a row, said Bud Owens, president of the Cherokee Capital Fair Association.
In addition to rides provided by Peachtree Rides and carnival games, this year's fair will also include Dominquez Entertainment's Majestic Thrill Show, the Jurassic Kingdom Dinosaur Show, the All American Zoo, Magical Adventures with Michael Frisbee, bands, singers, dancers, pageants, livestock shows, blue ribbon contests and more.
"All those things that make the fair what it is in Calhoun and Gordon County," said Owens.
Gates will open nightly at 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Sept. 6, and the final night of the fair will be Saturday, Sept. 14. Admission is $5 per person, but everyone who shows up during the first 30 minutes on the opening Friday will get in free. An armband for unlimited rides will be $25, and individual ride tickets will be available.
The annual Grand Parade in downtown Calhoun will be conducted Saturday, Sept. 7, beginning at 11 a.m. and will included floats, marching bands,
pageant winners from the past, this year's pageant entrants, tractors, antique cars and more.
Owens noted that three evenings will be set aside to celebrate each of the high school systems in Gordon County. On these special nights, students from the schools will perform and members of those school communities are encourage to attend. Monday, Sept. 9, will be Sonoraville High's night; Tuesday, Sept. 10, Calhoun High will be celebrated; and Thursday, Sept. 12, will be dedicated to Gordon Central High.
For those entering blue ribbon competition items such as fine arts, photography and canned items, etc., organizers will be receiving those on Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 4 to 7 p.m. or Thursday, Sept. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fresh baked items will be received Friday Sept. 6, from 9 to 10 a.m.
All blue ribbon judging will take place Friday, Sept. 6, beginning at 9 a.m.
The Northwest Georgia Regional Fair is organized by volunteers only, and the proceeds from the event benefit local organizations and charities.
For a complete scheduled of events and entertainment, as well as rules and entry information for the livestock, blue ribbon and beauty pageant competitions, check out the 2019 Northwest Georgia Regional Fair guidebook that was distributed in the Aug. 28 edition of The Calhoun Times.
This exclusive publication details everything one could want to know about the fair. You can pick up a copy at the Calhoun Times, 210 S. King St. in downtown Calhoun.
The Oostanaula Community Club is hosting its 45th annual Labor Day Bluegrass Festival on Monday, Sept. 2, at the club, which is located at 1595 Oostanaula Bend Road S.W. in Calhoun. Doors will open at 11 a.m.
The club has held the annual Labor Day celebration every year since the school board provided them with a building in 1974, according to club member Barbara Talley. A similar festival is also held each May on Memorial Day.
"We use the festivals to raise funds to keep our building up so that we can continue using it," Talley said. "Every year, we use what we raise to help with utilities and general building upkeep. No one gets paid to be a member of the club. It's all volunteer."
Admission costs $5 at the door. Lunch and dinner plates will also be available for purchase for $7 per plate. The lunch menu will include BBQ, hamburgers and hot dogs with sides, desserts and drinks. For dinner, attendees who purchase a plate will have the option of fried chicken or meatloaf with sides, desserts and drinks.
Seven bluegrass and country music groups will perform at the event with sets beginning at 11 a.m. with a performance by returning musicians Jerusalem Ridge and ending at 7 p.m. following a performance by Barbwire and Roses. Other bands taking the stage at the festival include Weiss Lake at noon, New Willow Creek at 1 p.m., Little Creek at 2 p.m., Highway 411 at 3 p.m., and Corinth Road at 4 p.m.
Talley said that Highway 411 is a returning favorite for the club. The local bluegrass and gospel group is comprised of members from the Oakman, Ranger and Fairmount communities and is well-known for performing at benefits, church events, and community gatherings.
Cakewalks will be held throughout the day in between musical sets.
Door prizes will be given away and raffle tickets for a drawing will be available for $1. The door prizes will vary, but raffle prizes include two $50 Walmart gift cards.
The Oostanaula Community Club was first established in October 1974. As a nonprofit, Talley said that the group focuses much of its attention on helping community members pay for medical expenses.
"Anyone who wants to join is welcome to come by a meeting. We meet the second Thursday of every month at 6:30 at the club," Talley said. "They can just come to that meeting and let us know they want to join. We ask that they pay a dollar to join for a year."
For more information about the festival, contact Barbara Talley at 770-606-2050.
The chief financial officer for the Ingles supermarket chain confirmed Thursday morning that the Calhoun location would be closing on Friday, Sept. 13.
Signs posted on the doors of the grocery store include that closing date and the store's new hours — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — for the remaining two weeks.
"The lease was expiring on this store and we made the difficult business decision to close the store. All of our associates there have been of fered positions at nearby Ingles locations," said Ron Freeman, chief financial officer for Ingles.
Freeman did not respond to questions about the number of employees at the store or broader plans for the chain in the area.
Connie Barlow was loading her groceries into her vehicle on Wednesday after shopping at Ingles, and she said that she hates to see the store close.
"I've been shopping here for at least 20 years. It's sad to see something that has been here for so long close down," said Barlow. "I guess I'll have to go somewhere else from now on."
The Ingles is located at 466 Highway 53 in Calhoun, in the shopping center behind Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell. That center currently has more than a half-dozen storefronts available for lease.
Barlow said she hopes some business moves into the anchor spot that Ingles will be vacating.
"It would be nice to see someone put something good there. A new store here might make other businesses want to move here too," she said.
Several local law enforcement officials took turns on Thursday praising former Gordon County Sheriff's Office Maj. Shane Parrott on Wednesday at the jail during an emotional gathering marking Parrott's retirement.
"You are the epitome of what public service is all about," Capt. Mike Garigan told Parrott.
Parrott retired from law enforcement after 22 years of service this week to follow a new path as pastor of Heritage Baptist Church.
During his time with the sheriff's office, Parrott moved from patrol duties to service as a detective, worked on the county-wide Drug Task Force and Special Response Team, had command of the Major Crimes Unit and command of the Patrol Division, and rose to the rank of major.
Chief Deputy Robert Paris said Thursday that he believed Parrott was likely the most decorated officer the sheriff's office has ever had.
"I've been a peace officer for 40 years, and I've never worked with a better officer or a better man," said Paris. "I'll tell you this about Shane: He'll never let you down."
Sheriff Mitch Ralston also spoke during the reception, saying the office and the community are better places for having had Parrott's services. He lauded Parrott's love of Calhoun, Gordon County and his fellow man and said his dedication to service and sacrifice is second to none.
"I'll tell you this. The crime rate will go down when this man starts preaching," said Ralston. "He told me recently, 'for the last 11 years, I've spent more time with you than I have with my family.' That's what you call sacrifice."
Ralston, who described Parrott as a "doer" who "always puts service before self," presented the retiring officer with a Distinguished Service Award, an official honorable discharge from duty, and his service weapon, which was engraved to mark the occasion.
Calhoun Police Chief Tony Pyle also spoke during the event, saying he's known Parrott for 20 years and that he's always been able to count on him.
"I've always known if I need anything and I couldn't get a hold of the sheriff, I could call Shane Parrott and it would happen," said Pyle.
For his part, Parrott said he never expected to leave law enforcement, even adding that he always thought he would die at his desk in front of a computer, but God had another plan.
Getting choked up at times, Parrott said he's always loved the work and has always had great relationships with his law enforcement family, but that God called him to a different kind of service.
"I want to make sure it's a good place for our children to grow up, for my kids to grow up and for your kids to grow up," Parrott said. "That's why I do this."
He thanked everyone for taking the time to recognize his career and asked them to stay strong in their faith and to turn to God.
The reception was attended by a few dozen people representing several area law enforcement agencies.
Heritage Baptist Church is located at 345 Curtis Parkway in Calhoun. Parrott has been filling in as pastor, but Sunday will be his first official day in the role.