Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chattanooga Fall Festivals 2012

Photo Credit: River Rocks
As almost anyone who has spent time in a Southern town on a river knows, summers are hot and humid and stick, and winters are chilly and wet without much snow to justify the downsides of winter. Autumn and spring are when Tennessee is at its most beautiful and comfortable. It's no surprise then that Chattanooga goes all out on its fall festivals, and there are more interesting events this time of year than you can shake a stick at or fit on your calendar. Even better, many of these festivals are all about community and are great examples of what Chattanoogans do best-- combine a good cause with a lot of fun, or as Fast Company once put it, "partying their way to a cleaner, safer, richer city."

Here are some of our annual favorites and when they are taking place in 2012:
  • National Night Out was, of course, last night, rescheduled form the August 2nd date that many towns use in cooler parts of the country. The October date lets neighborhoods still sweltering in August enjoy a cookout with their neighbors, cops, and firefighters without melting.
  • Wine Over Water is a long-standing Chattanooga tradition taking place this Saturday, October 6th. The concept is simple-- a wine tasting on the beautiful Walnut Street Bridge, to benefit Cornerstones, a local historic preservation organization. In addition to the wine, there is a great lineup of bands, including Tim Hughes Quartet, HillCityBilliesRick Rushing & the Blues Strangers, Alan Shikoh Trio, Cardon Smith, and hors devours from local restaurants.
  • The Kudzu Ball and Festival is ALSO this coming weekend, October 5-7. The Kudzu Ball started as a lighthearted tease of the local upper crust's annual debutant coming out, the 78 year old Cotton Ball tradition that is one of the oldest in the South. The Kudzu Ball benefits the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, which has been a vital part of both the Northshore and Chattanooga at large since 1923. The festival itself is a celebration put together by the Northshore merchants association. It will include a parade, cookout, art sales, a live street-side piano concert, raffles, a haiku contest, and more!
  • The Autumn Children's Festival is ANOTHER big event this weekend, October 6 and 7th to benefit the Ronald McDonald house in Chattanooga. It's an enormous fundraiser for an incredibly good cause, typically bringing in 3,000 – 3,500 festival participants and raising each year. $50,000 – $55,000. It's packed with family friendly fair-type activities including a "mobile Rolling Video Game Theater, giant inflatables, carnival games with fun prizes, arts and crafts, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, Ronald McDonald Magic Show, costumed character appearances, plus health, wellness and educational programs," according to Public Broadcasting's website.
  • River Rocks describes itself as "a party with a purpose." This ten day event that kicked off (technically) on September 29th but really starts gaining ground this week, starting today (October 3rd). The activities celebrate Chattanooga's great outdoors in its best season with rock climbing, trail running, kayaking, rowing, cycling, off-road biking, hiking and all sorts of paddling" as well as "live music, hot air balloons, river cruises and more." Best of all, it benefits the local enviornment, and has raised more than $80,000 in the past two years for local conservation. Party with a purpose indeed! You can't beat having fun, enjoying the perfect weather, and preserving it all for River Rocks in years to come.
    The Steep Canyon Rangers at a past Three Sisters Festival
    Photo Credit: Lawson Whitaker and The Chattanoogan.com
  • Chickstock on October 13th is a 10 year old festival held at Greenway Farms. It will benefit the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy and Crossfit Brigade‘s Unbroken. It's also rolled into the Hellbender12 River Rocks event, a team race that challenges particpants to "run a 5K, jump, climb and balance." The rest of Chickstock is much more mellow, with great bands including the The Dirt Daubers, Hill City Billies, Knob Creek Girls, Bluetastic Fangrass, The Snake Doctors, and Slim Pickins.
  • The Ketner's Mill Arts Fair is same weekend as the hop, taking place October 20th and 21st. It's been a major part of the area's fall fun for over 10 years, featuring arts and crafts of all kinds, and from a different set of vendors you see at other Chattanooga-centric arts events on the Northshore or at the Chattanooga Market.