SUGAR HILL -- Erin Dyer and her step-daughter Ashleigh Sargent couldn't believe what they had found. A petting zoo. And not just any petting zoo. This one had alpacas, a silky chicken and a yak, plus a few other furry friends to interact with at the Sugar Hill Fall Festival on Saturday.
"I grew up (in Sugar Hill) so I wanted to come back to see what they have brought to town," Dyer said, who now lives in Roswell with her step-daughter and husband. "I have to say one of the most impressive things I've run into here was the petting zoo. I could not believe they had an actual camel you could touch and pet. They had potbelly pigs, llamas and a lemur. It was unbelievable."
During the day, thousands of other residents came to the festival to tackle the games, watch live dance and animal demonstrations and browse through the classic cars and Volkswagens, which filled the back parking lot of the park. Many people came to look at the well-maintained automobiles.
"We've come for two years in a row," David Barrios of Sugar Hill said, while standing with his three children and wife. "You find some interesting stuff here. I used to be a Volkswagen guy until about five years ago. The family expanded and we had to get another car that was more practical."
That doesn't stop him from admiring the VWs owned by others at the festival though.
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There were a number folks who have been attending the festival for the past 11 years since it started in 2000. Cathy Pines who has lived in Sugar Hill for 28 years and has yet to miss the festival was disappointed there wasn't a chili cook-off or parade.
"I'm a long-time loyal fan of this place," she said. "What I like most is the chili cook-off. I couldn't understand why they didn't have it this year."
Although those things were missing from the annual event, the park was packed with families and friends.
"I like this festival because it's a get together for friends and it's very family oriented with lots of kids," Pines said. "I'm very proud of that."