Many people think of summer as the prime festival season. But fall in Georgia is simply spectacular, and there are lots of festivals taking place this time of year to help you get out and enjoy it. In addition to all your pumpkin patch, corn maze, and apple orchard outings, why not head to a nearby town to celebrate with food, drinks, and plenty of entertainment. Here are some of the best fall festivals worth checking out in Georgia this year.

St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival, St. Simons Island (October 4-8, 2017)

St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival, St. Simons Island (October 4-8, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

As the name suggests, this is a celebration of coastal cuisine and beverages. Taking place October 4-8 on St. Simons Island, you can enjoy lots of delicious barbecue prepared by some of the most renowned chefs and pit-masters in the South. Enjoy craft cocktails, wines, and beers as beverage pairings with your food. And don’t miss the Chef’s Showdown at Saturday’s Tasting Under the Oaks. Other events include a live auction, Flights and Bites, SPIRITual Sunday Brunch, and cooking classes. You can buy tickets to the festival online for varying prices to individual events, which often take place at Gascoigne Bluff and the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.

Tybee Pirate Fest, Tybee Island (October 5-8, 2017)

Tybee Pirate Fest, Tybee Island (October 5-8, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

Anyone who has visited Tybee Island knows that this place has a very unique personality that’s all its own. The Tybee Pirate Fest exemplifies this perhaps better than anything else! The festival began in 2005, when some local residents were searching for an annual event to establish a new tradition. This year’s festival takes place October 5-8 and offers visitors a chance to escape the ordinary. Here you can attend a pirate parade, watch pirate performers, listen to live music, and entertain the kids with lots of family-friendly entertainment. Kids love the costume contest, and it’s a fun way to celebrate Columbus Day Weekend. Festival grounds extend across the South Beach parking lot from 18th Street to Tybrisa Street. Friday tickets are $12, Saturday tickets are $15, and weekend passes are $25.

Georgia National Fair, Perry (October 5-15, 2017)

Georgia National Fair, Perry (October 5-15, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

The Georgia National Fair is an annual event that’s taking place October 5-15 this year. Here in Perry, you’ll find concerts, livestock competitions, carnival rides, Georgia living competitions, a circus, and lots of delicious food. The vendors open every day of the fair at 10am, and lots of Georgia-grown products are featured here. Make sure to check out the Georgia National Schoolhouse with your kids to see the livestock and educational displays. You can buy tickets to the fair in advance online for $9 for a one-day pass, $16 for a two-day pass, or $65 for a season pass. Concerts you don’t want to miss include Brothers Osborne, Granger Smith, Trace Adkins, and Chris Janson. Cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and llama exhibitions will all be taking place during the fair.

Annual Rock Shrimp Festival, St. Marys (October 7, 2017)

Annual Rock Shrimp Festival, St. Marys (October 7, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

This St. Marys, Georgia festival features a parade, entertainment, and delicious rock shrimp dinners. Rock shrimp is a local specialty in the Southeast. It’s taking place on Saturday, October 7 this year and includes a full day of family fun. The festival includes a 5K and 10K race, a parade at 10am with floats and fire trucks, arts and craft vendors, entertainment, and food concessionaires. The dinners are served from 11am to 4pm and are $10 in advance or $12 on festival day. There will also be a car and tractor show east of Riverview Hotel and a songwriter series with performances throughout the downtown area. St. Marys Railroad Days Express train rides depart at noon, 2pm, and 4pm. You can also tour the free railroad museum while you’re here.

Foxfire Mountaineer Festival, Clayton (October 7, 2017)

Foxfire Mountaineer Festival, Clayton (October 7, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

On this same day this October, you can alternatively head to Clayton, Georgia to join the Foxfire Mountaineer Festival. This is a celebration of the heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and it’s a wonderful place to learn about historic skills and trades. Admission is $5 per person, and kids under five are free. All of the funds support the Foxfire Fund’s educational programs at the museum and schools. Local and regional vendors will be serving food, and you can listen to bluegrass and gospel music on the stage. This festival is all about keeping history and tradition alive, so come ready to learn about things like woodworking, textiles, blacksmithing, land pottery. Wood chopping and archery contests are also fun ways to spend the day.

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival, Hiawassee (October 13-21, 2017)

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival, Hiawassee (October 13-21, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival in Hiawassee is taking place October 13-21 and celebrates the beautiful season in the North Georgia Mountains. This nine-day event features performances, arts and craft vendors, a flower show, educational demonstrations, and even the Georgia’s Official State Fiddlers’ Convention. Admission is $12 for adults, and kids 12 and under are free. You can get a three-day or nine-day pass to the festival too. Arts and crafts booths are open daily from 10am to 7pm. Parking is free, but pets are not allowed at the festival.

37th Annual Olde Town Fall Festival, Conyers (October 21, 2017)
Credit: City of Conyers

37th Annual Olde Town Fall Festival, Conyers (October 21, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

Here’s another great Georgia festival taking place this fall in Conyers. This one-day festival happens on October 21 and includes children’s activities, food, music, and crafts. What’s great about this festival is that admission and parking are free! The festivities take place between 10am and 5pm. But at 8am, there is a 5K charity race that supports violence prevention. The race starts at the Conyers First United Methodist Church, and you can register to participate online.

Gold Rush Days, Dahlonega (October 21-22, 2017)

Gold Rush Days, Dahlonega (October 21-22, 2017) (Nearby Hotels)

This festival always take place the third weekend in October and offers a wonderful opportunity for visitors to see the fall foliage and celebrate Dahlonega’s gold rush history. Over 300 art, craft, and food vendors will be here, and over 200,000 people are expected to attend! Some of the best events from last year’s event were the 5K race, magic show, fashion show, bluegrass music, cross-cut saw competition, wrist wrestling competition, and gold panning championships.

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