There’s really no better way to get to know a new state than to attend a variety of festivals that take place in its cities and towns. The themed festivals in Georgia celebrate the fall season, southern food, live music, local beer and wine, and its cherry blossom season. So, as you start planning your trip to Georgia, check your calendar to see if you can check out one of these fun festivals during your stay!
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Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival, Tifton
This festival takes place in the Georgia town of Tifton during the first weekend in March each year. It’s an awesome place to visit if you enjoy finger-licking-good barbecue, live music, and cold beer. Past festivals have taken place at Fulwood Park near downtown and also hosted children’s games, arts and crafts vendors, a BBQ competition, lots of food, and live entertainment. Both professional and amateur cooks can enter the BBQ competition to win cash prizes. The kids’ area typically has bounce houses, slides, a rock climbing wall, mechanical bull, and zipline. Also great for families, general admission to the festival is free, street parking is free, and you can bring your dog along on a leash.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Atlanta
This is the ultimate place to come for foodies in Georgia, and this Midtown Atlanta festival typically takes place over a few days in late May or early June. You’ll learn about southern food favorites here through tasting tent experiences, Sunday brunch, and intimate chef dinners. During past festivals, attendees have also been able to take specialized classes taught by professional chefs to learn about food preparation and craft beverages. Tickets are available for purchase before the event with varying package options. Most of the events are in walking distance of the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown, which is the event’s host hotel.
Shrimp & Grits Festival, Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island is a fun place to visit at any time of the year, but come here on the first weekend in November to taste some of the best shrimp and grits you’ll ever experience. The event is hosted by Southern Living and includes delicious food, wildlife demonstrations, craft beer, a kids’ zone, artist market, and family-friendly entertainment. Admission to the festival is free, but there are fees for parking. This festival takes place under the oak trees at the National Historic Landmark District on the island and lasts for three days – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Georgia Apple Festival, Ellijay
What’s great about the Georgia Apple Festival is that it takes place over two weekends, allowing visitors more opportunities to join in the fun. This fun Georgia festival takes place in mid-October each year and been taking place for nearly 46 years. Over 300 vendors set up here to offer food, arts and crafts, and other handmade items. There’s also an antique car show at the Civic Center and a parade in downtown Ellijay. Just head to the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds to join the crowds. But save some time to visit the various Ellijay apple orchards nearby as well, such as Hillcrest Orchards, Aaron Family Orchards, and the Red Apple Barn.
The biggest celebration of German food, beer, music, and dancing takes place in Georgia takes place in Helen for several weeks in the fall. The long-running festival typically takes place from early September through the end of October. Come here to learn waltzes, polkas, and the chicken dance with plenty of delicious German beer to give you liquid courage!
Decatur Craft Beer Festival, Decatur
Another great beer-themed event in Georgia to add your travel bucket list is the Decatur Craft Beer Festival. There are some really impressive breweries coming out of Decatur these days, and the festival offers unlimited brews from over 80 breweries. You must be 21 or over to attend the festival, and VIP tickets are available, offering access to an exclusive entrance and snacks all afternoon. To get home safetly after the festival, you can hop on a MARTA train or request an Uber ride.
International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon
Each March in Macon, there’s a cherry blossom festival that highlights the beautiful trees that grow here in the spring. Onsite you’ll find concerts, fair food vendors, amusement rides, and exhibits. In the past, the festival has taken place over about nine days, with events running from 10am to 10pm. This is a unique festival to learn about these lovely trees, watch a parade and lantern lighting, and watch beauty pageants.
Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival, Cartersville
Bluegrass music is a big part of Georgia’s history and culture, and there’s a great festival in Cartersville to listen to this unique style of music. This festival takes place in October each year and offers free admission. You’ll also get free parking, free music, and a free kids’ corner activities here! The festival is located in downtown Cartersville, so you can explore the area’s shops and restaurants when you visit. Other area attractions include the Bartow History Museum, the Booth Western Art Museum, and performances at the Grand Theater.
Watermelon Days Festival, Cordele
Would you ever have guessed that Cordele, Georgia is the watermelon capital of the world? If you visit this small town in June, you can check out the Watermelon Festival. Events normally include a watermelon horseshoe tournament, fishing rodeo, dog show, seed spitting contest, and watermelon decorating contest. The event ends with a grand finale of fireworks on the Flint River. Other stops that you may want to make on the way here include Veteran’s State Park at Lake Blackshear and the home of President Jimmy Carter.