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Hard Labor Creek hosts fall fest

RUTLEDGE -- Remember those fall festivals that you used to love as a kid? If you're yearning for those days, just take a drive out to Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge on Saturday.

A fall festival lasting all day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., will include nature hikes; cow milking; games; relay races; face painting; hayrides; and a marshmallow roast. There will even be blacksmiths demonstrating their trade, members of the Alex Bealer Blacksmith Guild.

This is the first year Friends of Hard Labor Creek Park has sponsored a fall festival. The group's goal is to create a low-cost, family-friendly event to raise funds for upkeep of the park, an increasingly important venture as state allocations have dwindled, said member Susan McCullar.

The parking fee is $5 and games are $1 each, while hayrides are $2. Hiking is free.

"It's just a great time in the fall to be outside doing fun things. It's a great family event. They can come out and enjoy the park and enjoy lots of fun games and activities and have the opportunity to be outside in nature at a beautiful time of year," McCullar said.

Hard Labor Creek was created at the end of the Great Depression as part of Franklin Roosevelt's initiative to put citizens back to work. Located 2 miles north of Rutledge, the park has nearly 6,000 acres, two huge lakes for boating and fishing, a beach, nearly 20 miles of trails, horseback riding, a golf course and cottages and pavilions for rent. It's also a campground for tent or RV camping. A new bike trail will open this fall.

For more information, call 706-557-3016 or visit http://www.gastateparks.org/HardLaborCreek.