Editor’s Note: To celebrate the City of Gainesville turning 200 years old on Nov. 30, 2021, Gainesville Georgia Government is sharing interesting highlights from its centuries-old history. This is the tenth installment in a series, which will be featured monthly through November 2021 on gainesville.org and social media. For September, we present to you autumn in Gainesville – a "hot" time for events in this North Georgia community.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2021) – North Georgians welcomed the first day of fall Sept. 22, marking what many hope is the start of cooler temperatures, less humidity and everything else there is to love about the season. Aside from fiery-hued leaves, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and everything pumpkin spiced, autumn's arrival also marks a time of tradition in the City of Gainesville – beloved fall festivals, holiday events and more.
Fun fall festivals
While Gainesville has much to offer throughout the year in terms of entertainment, the fall months mark some of the community's favorite festivals and events.
Mule Camp Market | Oct. 8-10, Midland Greenway
*Shared from gainesvillejaycees.org
Mule Camp Market began many years ago as a farmer’s curb market near the downtown square. This market evolved into the Corn Tassel Festival, which focused on local craft exhibitors. In 1993, the Gainesville Jaycees revamped the event and renamed it “Mule Camp” to honor the City’s origins.
In the years since, Mule Camp has grown into a regional fall festival with crowds in excess of 75,000 for the annual three-day event. During the second weekend in October, visitors enjoy a wide array of craft vendors, children’s activities, feast on delicious items from many food vendors and cap it all off with a community concert.
In 2021, its bicentennial year, the City of Gainesville and Main Street Gainesville will serve as the presenting sponsors, helping bring to festival-goers a free performance by Drivin N Cryin followed by a celebratory fireworks show (Oct. 8) and a Bicentennial Community Showcase (Oct. 9). Mule Camp will also feature a carnival (beginning Thursday, Oct. 7), petting zoo and more.
Gainesville Bicentennial Celebration | Oct. 8-9, Midland Greenway (during Mule Camp)
As described above, the City of Gainesville has opted to celebrate its 200th birthday, coming up Nov. 30, at Mule Camp.
In addition to a free performance by Drivin N Cryin, celebratory fireworks show and Bicentennial Community Showcase, the City will also have a vendor booth Oct. 8-9 to help spread the birthday spirit. Be sure to visit with City staff who will be slinging some Gainesville trivia and prizes. That, and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase some cool Gainesville- and bicentennial-branded merch.
Gainesville Chicken Festival | Nov. 6, Lake Lanier Olympic Park
The Spring Chicken Festival you know and love returns Saturday, Nov. 6, to Lake Lanier Olympic Park as the Gainesville Chicken Festival.
The City of Gainesville has updated the event name, reflecting Gainesville’s prominence in the poultry industry. Attendees can expect all the same flavor and fun, this time with a lakeside view.
The festivities are slated from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and, in addition to front-row views of beautiful Lake Lanier, will offer attendees the chance to enjoy the ever-popular chicken cook-off contests, good eats, beverage tents, live entertainment, a kids’ zone, plus a marketplace.
Your $6 wristband gets you 10 samples, which you can purchase on site the day of, soon to be available online at gainesville.org. Don’t be chicken – join us lakeside Nov. 6 and treat your taste buds.
Jingle Mingle and Lighting of the Chicken | Nov. 20, historic Gainesville square
Save the date! Jingle Mingle and the Lighting of the Chicken, an annual tradition and community favorite in Gainesville, returns from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, to the historic square in downtown Gainesville.
Main Street Gainesville opens the holiday shopping season with music, kiddie train rides, carriage rides, photos with Santa and, of course, the Lighting of the Chicken! This event is held in coordination with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce to promote shopping local for the holidays.
Check gainesville.org and/or the @DowntownGainesvilleGA Facebook page for more information and a schedule of events as we near Thanksgiving.
Christmas on Green Street | Dec. 5, historic Green Street
Gainesville's annual Christmas parade and open house along historic Green Street returns Sunday, Dec. 5.
The traditional Lighting of the Rotary Tree also makes this event a bright spot on the holiday calendar.
Check gainesville.org and/or the @DowntownGainesvilleGA Facebook page for more information and a schedule of events as we near Christmastime.
Other engaging events
Fall Sidewalk Sale
Mule Camp and Gainesville's bicentennial celebration aren't the only cause for excitement the weekend of Oct. 8-10. Main Street Gainesville also brings back the weekend-long Fall Sidewalk Sale to the historic square in downtown Gainesville – home of several well-loved retailers and restaurants.
After shopping and dining downtown, hop on the Gainesville Trolley and head over to Mule Camp for more crafts and vendors, a carnival, kids zone and food court.
Annual Mother-Son Halloween Dance
The 18th Annual Mother-Son Halloween Dance, presented by Gainesville Parks and Recreation, is slated for 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the ballroom at the Gainesville Civic Center. Because one night of Halloween is never enough, the dance will feature a costume contest, catered dinner, dancing, raffles and more – all sure to cast a spell on you.
If City of Gainesville residents, the cost to attend is $50 per couple, plus $17.50 for each additional sibling. If non-City residents, the cost to attend is $60 per couple, plus $21 for each additional sibling. But don't wait too long – the deadline to register is 5 p.m. Oct. 22.
Trick or Treat on the Square
Downtown trick-or-treating is moving to Friday for 2021.
Main Street Gainesville's Trick or Treat on the Square returns from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, in and around the historic square. Trick or treat downtown businesses, which will be handing out more treats than tricks. There will also be a costume contest at 5 p.m. at the center of the square. Look for the Main Street table to enter one of the three age categories: 0-4 for the wee ones, 5-8 for those little ghouls and 9-12 for those ghastly bats!
See you there, if you dare! As always, take advantage of free parking in the Main Street Parking Deck or Hall County Parking Facility – both within walking distance to the square.
To learn more about Gainesville, visit gainesville.org or "Like" and follow the following City-managed social media pages: @GainesvilleGeorgiaGovernment, @DowntownGainesvilleGA, @ExploreGainesville, @gainesvillegeorgiafire, @GainesvilleParkandRec, @GainesvillePoliceGeorgia and @LakeLanierOlympicVenue.