If you have ever been on I-75 in Tennessee or Georgia, you have no doubt seen the billboards for Rock City, and maybe even seen the barn roofs or sides painted with the Rock City ad. The Rock City bird houses are famous around here.
Life-size birdhouse in which tourists can have their pictures taken
For thousands of visitors from all over the world each October, Rocktoberfest is a fun tourist destination where, once they make the drive to the top of Lookout Mountain, they can enjoy nature amongst huge rock formations, dizzying heights and natural flora. They also get to enjoy polka bands and dancing, and locally brewed beer, the best of which (IMHO) is the Octoberfest beer.
For Jeff and me, it means much more. This was the first year that Rocktoberfest has been in existence that Lexi did not attend. Sometimes she was frustrated by not being allowed to help teach polka with Jeff, and sometimes humiliated by being used as a prop when Jeff MC’ed and announced she was the “German dog helping out today”. She was recognized by the bands for singing with them from the sidelines and pet by many children of all nationalities. She often saw friends whom she always recognized from year to year, such as her beloved Dorothy from her first Wizard of Oz, as well as some band members. She loved walking the trails and smelling the pee mail. This year, Jeff worked there every Saturday and Sunday as usual, and I went every weekend to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and try to heal from her loss.
There is a different band each weekend , although sometimes a band will perform two weekends when there are five weekends, like this year. Last Saturday, a boy about 5 years old walked up to the band with his fingers in his ears, removing one long enough to try to grab the instruments. He managed to snag the slide on the trombone while it was being played as well as one of the bells. We were sitting on the bench just to the left of this picture, and when Jeff jumped up to rescue the bell, the kid’s Mom stopped laughing and ran up and grabbed the kid. Since I keep this a “G rated” blog, I won’t voice my feelings on the entire episode. Moving on. At least two of the bands had alphorns, the instrument used to play the famous “Ri-co-la.” I hear there’s even a ringtone with that three note cough drop tune.
Oompah band from Birmingham, Alabama. Notice the alphorn lying in the front.
The Birds of Prey show with different species of owls, a comical vulture, several falcons. and an American bald eagle is quite impressive, with the birds release to fly just above the heads of the seated audience. This all happens within an enclosed space. All these birds have been rescued, either from being raised in captivity or found with injuries too severe to treat and release back into the wild. The eagle, for example, only has one wing due to illegal poaching. No photography allowed during the show. 😦 And no dogs allowed anywhere near it. They are, after all, birds of prey, and some are quite large. If one should escape, well, there might be one less chihuahua or yorkie in the world.
Here is the overlook where you can see 7 states – Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and South Carolina. It helps to put a quarter in the telescopic viewers.
See 7 states. Each has an American and state flag in a rock base with important stats for each state.
There is one large waterfall as well as a small one very close to the overlook. I took all these pictures the last day of Rocktoberfest (last Sunday) and was too lazy to walk to the big falls again. So here is the smaller one.
Since Rock City strives to be child-friendly, there are some fun costumed characters. One of the most famous is Ik, King of the Trolls. This guy has been playing Ik at different venues for 20 years, and comes across as bigger than life. He says that he doesn’t eat children for three reasons:
- Children are not fully ripe.
- Children are not even a mouthful.
- Children are full of toxins such as sugar, GMO’s, and high-fructose corn syrup.
He will make an exception for free-range children that contain no antibiotics or growth hormones.
While at Rock City, there are plenty of souvenirs to buy. We have some very large beer mugs and steins that we take back every year, since the beer refill is only $2!
Jeff uses his special floor mat to stand on to keep his back from hurting. Come back tomorrow to find out who wins in Jeff’s battle with Rocky the Gnome for the mat. Also tomorrow I will highlight the dogs of Rocktoberfest. Well, at least all the dogs that were there last Sunday – and did’t get eaten by a bird of prey, bwahaha!