Home Directions Exhibitor Info Be a Friend History About Store Press Room Contact
Press Room   Articles Releases   Photo Gallery   Logos © Copyright Info Search
Family Fun PMCF History Milestone
Family Fun at Prater’s Mill Country Fair word Click to download
– By Lewis Covington

One of the Southeast region’s most visited Fall eventis the Prater’s Mill Country Fair. A family-friendly jaunt through history, the festival is centered around the old water-powered, still-operating gristmill which was established in 1855 to grind wheat into flour and corn into meal.

The Fair has grown into a celebration of music, Southern food, history exhibits and handmade crafts and original art created by over 185 talented artists and artisans. Live demonstrations include blacksmithing, quilting, woodcarving, rug hooking and hand tufting, the precursor to the famous tufted carpet industry of Dalton, Ga.

Additionally, educational exhibits of interest include a living Civil War encampment, antique engines in operation, and handcrafted beadspreads on display.

In addition to self-guided tours of the mill, visitors may also enjoy shopping in the country store, checking out the Shugart Cotton Gin or acquainting themselves with farm animals at the Westbrook Barn. The whole family can experience canoe rides on Coahulla Creek or take a short hike down the nature trail, and pony rides are always at the top of kids’ to-do list.

A continuous entertainment schedule on two stages offers traditional fare such as Appalachian Style clogging exhibitions, country bands, and gospel singers as well as a contingent of wandering musicians and storytellers.

In many minds, the highlight of the Fair is the food. While the Dalton Pike Church of God serves authentic Southern dishes near the 1898 Prater’s store (located just across the road from the mill), other favorites are served at various points on the festival grounds. These include delicacies such as pit-cooked barbecue, fried apple pies, North Georgia apple cider, and even fresh-churned ice cream.

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. Thirty-nine civic clubs, churches and schools also participate in the regional event.

Fair hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7, children 12 and under enter free. There is no charge for parking. Visitors are urged to dress casually and wear comfortable shoes.

Prater’s Mill is located on Georgia Hwy. 2, 10 miles northeast of Dalton and about 30 miles south of Chattanooga, Tenn. Interstate travelers should take I-75 to the Tunnel Hill-Varnell Exit No. 341; drive north 4.5 miles to the intersection with Georgia Hwy. 2 at Varnell; turn right and continue 2.6 miles to the Mill, a total distance of 7 miles from I-75.

For more information or to inquire about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities call 706-694-MILL (6455) or visit PratersMill.org.


Lewis Covington is a writer, graphic designer, public relations manager, and Art Deco collector living in Atlanta.