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Fall festival roundup of events
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Shorter days and crisp air mean it's time for fall festival season, with hayrides, arts and crafts, trunk-or-treating, pumpkins and frights galore. Let the fun begin! Here are a few events in Rockdale and surrounding counties:

Saturday, Oct. 4

Monastery Fall Festival and Health Fair
10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Hwy 212 SW, Conyers; family friendly festivities including a petting zoo, hay rides, face art, arts and crafts, tree climbing, classic cars, music and live entertainment; free health screenings 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. including dental dermatologist/skin, Prostate/PSA, blood work, Ask a Medical Question/ Ask a Pharmacist;

Social Circle Friendship Festival
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; 10th annual festival in historic downtown Social Circle; arts & crafts, food, kids entertainment;

Salem UMC Barbecue
11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m.; Salem United Methodist, 3962 Salem Rd, Covington; $8 plates of barbecue; Brunswick stew for sale too; cakes, pies, desserts for sale; benefits church missions programs; 770-786-6027

Miller Lite Chili BBQ Cook-off

10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.; Ga. Int'l Horse Park, 996 Centennial Olympic Pkwy, Conyers; adults $10, children 12 and under are free; parking $5; proceeds benefit Camp Twin Lakes; live music; about 150 chili booths will provide free chili samples to public; BBQ teams also doing limited sampling; Samples start 11 a.m. first come first served;

Blessing of the Animals
2-4 p.m.; St. Simon's Episcopal, 155 Ga. Hwy 138 NE, Conyers; Blessing of the animals and bluegrass concert with The Donna Bopp Band; 770-483-3242

Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival
Oct. 3-5, at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, 556 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN; Participating exhibitors chosen by jury in 16 categories, ranging from ceramics and glass to watercolor and woodworking;; 800-588-1817

Thursday, Oct. 9

Blithe Spirit
New Depot Players stage the Noël Coward classic comedy "Blythe Spirit; directed by Gina Hay-Bryan; October 9 - 19 (preview night October 8);

Saturday, Oct. 11

Georgia Apple Festival
9 a.m. - 5/6 p.m., Oct. 11-12, 18-19; Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, 1729 South Main St, Ellijay, GA; $10 tickets; Head into the mountains for the 43rd annual Ga. Apple Festival; car show Oct. 11, parade Oct. 18;

Stone Mountain Village Oktoberfest
1-7 p.m. Oct. 11-12; at the Village Corner Restaurant, 6655 James B Rivers Memorial Dr, Stone Mountain; $30 tickets;

Saturday, Oct. 18

Senior Bazaar
8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Bald Rock Baptist; 2284 Old Covington Rd, Conyers; Find great bargains from peanuts and jellies to clothing fashions and home decor; 770-929-3421.

Saturday, Oct. 25

Race Against Violence
8 a.m. One Mile Fun Run; 8:15 a.m. 5K; starts and ends at Conyers First United Methodist, 921 N. Main St, Conyers; Registration $20 before Oct. 10, $25 on race day; proceeds go to Rockdale Family Violence Task Force;

Olde Town Fall Festival
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Olde Town Conyers; family friendly activities, games, Pets and Kids Costume Contest, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and more;

Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat
4-7 p.m.; Conyers Church of God, 1825 Ga. Hwy 138, Conyers; "Heroes of the Bible"-themed fall festival; egg and spoon race, pumpkin race, health screenings, trunk or treat; 770-922-5834

Sunday, Oct. 26

Trunk or Treat
5-7 p.m.; County Line Baptist Church, 3325 Hwy 162, Covington; Shelia Archer, 770-786-2637

Trunk or Treat
5-7 p.m.; Solid Rock Baptist Church, 8111 Brown Bridge Rd, Covington; 770-784-0982,

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Hallelujah Night/Trunk-or-Treat
6 p.m.; Bald Rock Baptist; 2284 Old Covington Rd, Conyers; bring the youth out for Hallelujah Night; an evening of food, fun, games and Trunk-or-Treating; 770-929-3421.

Saturday, Nov. 1

KCAF Chili Cookoff/Poker Ride/Cornhole Tournament
9 a.m. start at National EMS, 1060 Culpepper Dr SW, Conyers for 30-mile poker ride through Rockdale and 3-card poker game; $25 registration for ride; chili cookoff entries at National EMS by 10:30 a.m.; $7 tickets for chili; Cornhole Tournament 10 a.m. - noon; $20 registration per team or $10 per individual for cornhole tournament. Fundraiser for Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation to prevent breast cancer; 770-922-9578 x215 or