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Elisha Winn Fair projected bigger than ever in 29th year

DACULA - Here's your chance to help keep the oldest inhabited house in Gwinnett County standing.

Always a popular affair, the 29th annual Elisha Winn Fair is predicted by leaders to reach a record attendance of 3,000 patrons this year.

Should that prediction hold true, the Oct. 6 and 7 festival will trump last year's attendance by 500. All patrons will bear witness to an evidently alluring mix of bluegrass music, boiled peanuts and an archeological dig, among other attractions.

All fair proceeds - that is, the tally of quilt raffle dollars, vendor fees and gate admissions - will be channeled back into the Elisha Winn property. Fair entry is $3 for adults and free for children under 12.

Built in 1811, the Dacula property served as Gwinnett County's first courthouse, first jail and the site of the county's first election. Even early sessions of the Georgia Supreme Court were held in Winn's barn, according to the Gwinnett Historical Society.

"We have a strong presence in Dacula," said fair chairman Steve Starling, who doubles as historical society president. "(We) are all proud of the Elisha Winn House."

In addition to crafts, vendors and all varieties of food, the fair will showcase a county-wide quilt show, a quilt raffle, musicians and tours of the Elisha Winn Home and grounds. Even the 14th Georgia Company D Artillery, a Civil War re-enactors group, will make an appearance.

The Elisha Winn home is kept up by an all-volunteer staff, Starling said. The historical society bought the property in 1978, then sold it to Gwinnett County the following year.

The historical society renewed a second 25-year lease on the property in 2004.

Despite the multitudinous planning involved, Starling said the fair raises enough to keep the historic property up to par.

"It is quite an undertaking, but it's always fun to see our regular guests," Starling said. "We see people all year that ask about the fair.

"We talk it up all year long."