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Photo/Damon Howell Recent visitors to Talking Rock Park have likely noticed white spray-painted boxes alongside the walking path. These demarcations are where vendor booths will be for the new festival orientation, which relocates the event inside the park.

Talking Rock Heritage Days Festival set for Oct. 16-17



            “We’re ready to rock and roll,” said Talking Rock Heritage Days organizer Cheryl Sams of the Oct. 16-17 festival. Last year would have been the 27th annual celebration, but because it was cancelled due to COVID, 2021 will get the popular downhome event back on track. 

            Festival-goers can expect the return of their favorite elements – crafts, antiques, and food vendors, live demonstrations, musical acts performing on both days, and an antique fire truck that pumps out cheery tunes through an instrument affixed to the top.      The restored Talking Rock Schoolhouse Teaching Museum, built in 1877, will be open to the public, and admission and parking will be free as usual.

            The difference this year is that festivities will be relocated from the main drag that runs through historic downtown, into Talking Rock Park. The change will provide additional safety and save the tiny town some money, too. 

            “We won’t have to close the road, and this is going to keep us from having to use shuttles,” Sams said. “It’s a way to be safer with COVID by not having people riding shuttles together or having to disinfect the shuttles in between trips.”

            Nixing the shuttle service and keeping the main road open to traffic also means festival organizers don’t have to hire as many deputies to direct traffic.

            Parking will be in the two-acre field at the rear of the park.

            Sams said the public and local businesses have been pleased with the return of Heritage Days. 

            “Oh yes, people have been very supportive,” she said. “The businesses wanted us to have it, too. If people decide for themselves they don’t want to be out in public that’s a decision they can make.”

            There are no shortage of vendors this year, either.

            “We’ve got a lot of vendors signing up,” she said. “We’ve got a great selection of arts and crafts and antiques – some are returning and some are new. I have had to turn away a few that wanted to do more retail items, but we’ve stayed true the last 27 years and we’re going to continue to do that.”

            Limiting vendors to antiques or handmade arts and crafts gives the festival more of a homespun feel, she said.

Vendor space is still available. Interested parties can register until Friday, Oct. 15th, the day before the event. Cost is $75 for one 12’x12’ tent, and $65 for additional tents. Max is three tents per vendor. Food vendors are $80, with a $10 power hook up fee if needed. Additional food vendor booths after the first are $70, with a limit of three per vendor. Non-profit booth fees are $25 (inside Pickens County), and $50 (outside Pickens County), both with power included. Visit www.talkingrockga.com for an application.

            Music, featuring bluegrass and southern gospel acts, will begin at noon both Saturday and Sunday.

            If you would like to volunteer to work at the festival contact Sams at the Town of Talking Rock office at 706-253-5515.

            The Talking Rock Heritage Days festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday October 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. 

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