Celebrating 40-plus years, the Prater’s Mill Country Fair is an outdoor festival of juried artists and craftsmen, talented musicians and good cooks. Held on the picturesque grounds of historic Prater’s Mill, a working gristmill established in 1855, the event is included in National Geographic’s mapguide to Appalachia’s hidden wealth of nature, history and culture.
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair focuses on mountain music, Southern foods, living history exhibits and the handmade crafts and original art of 200 talented artists and artisans. Crafts demonstrations include blacksmithing, weaving, quilting, rug hooking, wood carving and flint knapping.
At the fair, visitors take self-guided tours including the operating grist mill, the country store, Shugart Cotton Gin and Westbrook Barn, home of the Goodner-Smith Farm Collection. Across the road from the mill is the 1898 Prater’s Store where members of the Church of God of the Union Assembly serve authentic Southern meals of cornbread, pinto beans, turnip greens and sweet potato cobbler. Elsewhere throughout the festival area are other specialties, such as gumbo, apple dumplings and beef jerky.
Everyone enjoys a canoe trip on the Coahulla Creek, a ride on a pony or the “Little General” train. Educational exhibits include working antique engines, antique cars and tractors, family stories, and “Peacock Alley,” a clothesline display of chenille bedspreads. Continuous entertainment on stage features Appalachain-style cloggers, country bands and the play “The Legend of Charles Prater.” Wandering musicians create a musicfest throughout the festival area.
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair is sponsored by the Prater’s Mill Foundation, a nonprofit organization of volunteers. Proceeds from the fair go to the preservation of the historic site. Thirty-seven civic clubs, churches and schools also participate in the community event.
Fair hours are 9am-6pm Saturday and 9am - 5pm Sunday.