Mud won’t be much of an issue this year if it rains for the Chiaha Harvest Fair.
The popular fall festival is moving from Ridge Ferry Park to the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds this year but will feature all the activities and attractions Rome and area residents have come to love about Chiaha.
The 56th annual event will bring back the traditional cider pot serving free, hot cider all weekend. There will, of course, be dozens of artists and crafters from across the region as well as live music and food vendors of all varieties.
“We have struggled with the mud and standing water at Ridge Ferry Park for several years in a row and it was beginning to impact the number of artists and customers we were able to attract to the event,” said Chiaha Co-Director Andi Beyer. “Our board considered the options and decided after the 2019 festival to move to the fairgrounds. We are excited to finally be able to do that after missing last year’s event due to COVID.”
Organizers say that while the change of location may give the festival a different feel this year, the ease of parking and access as well as the opportunity for indoor booth space make the move worthwhile.
“The new location offers us so much new potential and we are excited to share a new and improved experience with the community,” said Jennifer Selman, Chiaha Guild president.
Dog owners might be happy to learn that Chiaha organizers have decided to allow dogs to return to the festival. Pooches were not allowed at Chiaha the past few years but since this year’s event coincides with the equally popular Schnauzer Fest, they’re allowing dogs at the fair.
“We were sad to exclude dogs after some bad incidents in the past, but we decided it is time to welcome our four-legged friends back to the event,” said Chiaha Co-Director Monica Sheppard. “Knowing that there would be so many visitors to our community with dogs in tow made it a good year to try it out again.”
This time around, dog-owners will be given a dog waste bag as they enter, along with a card listing the “dos and don’ts” of having a pet at the festival. Unruly dogs and irresponsible dog-owners will be asked to leave the event at the discretion of festival board members.
“We have always said that it is the owners we have to worry about more than the dogs. We are all dog people and look forward enjoying dogs at the festival again,” Sheppard said.
Live music is always a big draw to Chiaha and this year’s event brings talented local and area artists to the stage. The lineup includes Kindred Fire, Caroline Aiken and Tim Reynolds, among others.
But the “meat and potatoes” of Chiaha has always been its artists and crafters displaying and selling their work. Visitors can look forward to more than 100 artists and craftspeople displaying, selling and demonstrating how they make their creations. Organizers say it’s a great time to get started with holiday shopping as there will be an abundance of unique gifts.
“Why not give one-of-a-kind creations to your friends and family, especially when you have the opportunity to buy directly from the person who made them,” Beyer said.
The collectible Chiaha T-shirts will be available at the T-Mobile Hospitality Tent located directly across from the main entrance gate. This is the spot for onsite information and patron check-in, as well.
Chiaha Harvest Fair will take place Oct. 23 and 24 at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, $1 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free.
For additional information, visit online at Chiaha.org as well as the Chiaha Harvest Fair Facebook page.