Want to belly-dance, ride a pony, or just chow down on popcorn and turkey legs this Saturday?

You’ll probably want to be in the southern end of the county.

The Town of Sawmills will hold its annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Baird Park off Mission Road. The Granite Falls Merchants Association’s annual Festival on Main will kick off at 2 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. in downtown Granite Falls.

Sawmills will celebrate history

The Sawmills Fall Festival is also something of a birthday party.

This year’s festivities will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the town, which was incorporated July 1, 1988.

The festival, which is in its fifth year, has always marked milestones – it was started to mark the 20th anniversary of the Town of Sawmills and the 55th of the Sawmills Fire and Rescue Department, which is getting on in age a bit more than the town it serves.

To commemorate the 25-year mark, former mayors and officials from Sawmills’ 30 years as a sanitary district will show up. But so will balloon artists, horses (courtesy of 4H), therapy dogs, and a jumble of food, craft and service vendors.

The town will provide free popcorn and bottled water to its guests. Some of them will be new to Sawmills. Others (including two town employees who have been on board for more than 25 years) will remember the days of the Sawmills Sanitary District, which was formed in 1958. A handful will remember the days before that, when Sawmills was just an unofficial community, formed – of course – around the timber industry.

Festival-goers will get a taste of downtown Granite Falls

Organizers of the Granite Falls Merchants Association’s Festival on Main hope attendees will get a glimpse of downtown Granite Falls – a place where you can buy everything from furniture to pet supplies, with stops to practice Zumba or inspect antique vending machines.

“As merchants, we hope people will learn about the Granite Falls downtown area,” Merchants Association president Mike Mackie said. “We hope they’ll see its quaintness and the different merchants that are here, the things they don’t get in the big-box stores.”

The Festival on Main has been in the hands of the Merchants Association for five years; it was organized by South Caldwell Christian Ministries before that. The group spends the year lining up everything from hot dog vendors to bands for the main stage, kicking off shortly after each year’s festival ends.

This year, festival-goers can munch on traditional funnel cakes and kettle corn, or get a little crazier and go for wood-fired pizza or wild-game jerky. Two bands, the Flying Saucers Band and Johnny Cash tribute band The Folsom Prison Gang, will take the stage.

There also will be Zumba and belly-dancing demonstrations. And First United Methodist Church of Granite Falls will raffle off a guitar signed by country singer and Granite Falls native Eric Church.