The Blue Ridge region is located on the cusp, riding a thin line between good ol’ country fun, and fun with a touch of city sophistication. You get a bit of both at various festivals, and this area is plum slammed full of festivals commemorating, celebrating, remembering and honoring something or sometimes anything.
Sometimes all it takes is trains, or barbecue, or gold, or moonshine to get folks to experience the fun of the season! There are festivals in this area celebrating 25-year, 35-year and 50-year anniversaries. There are attendees who plan their travel around a festival just for the funnel cakes. There’s just something about gratitude for hearty harvests and ripe fruit that brings out the need to sing, dance and eat. So, take a look at the remarkable array of festival options and celebrate the fall season!
Ride the Rails Festival
Mineral Bluff Depot
You’ve seen ‘em, you just don’t know you’ve seen ‘em. They’re sometimes called Railroad Hand Cars, and sometimes you have to pump them to get around, an exercise best accomplished with two. Operating one of these is just a part of a weekend’s worth of tribute to the world of railroads – hosted, of course, in a train depot, where you can also enjoy a large “HO Scale” model railroad based on the L & N Railroad’s Old Line from Atlanta to Etowah, Tennessee.
Georgia Marble Festival
Lee Newton Park, Jasper
This festival is a celebration of indigenous rocks, quarries and local art. Tate marble is historic and world famous and marble quarry tours will be given during the festival. The family will also enjoy a great parade, a kid’s zone, demonstrations, and more!
John C. Campbell Fall Festival
John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
One of the best ways to enjoy fall is with others who enjoy it just as much as you do. You can do that at the John C. Campbell Fall festival, in the company of a couple hundred of your closest, new friends, and among nearly 300 art and crafts vendors from throughout the region. Traditional and contemporary crafts; bluegrass, gospel, folk, and Celtic music on both days. Tap your toes to clogging demonstrations or just listen to the music
Cherry Log Fall Festival
Cherry Log Community Club House
What’s even more fun than a town called Cherry Log? Why, a festival in a town called Cherry Log of course! And this one goes on for three straight weekends in October. Homemade everything (cakes, pies, canned goods, crafts, breakfast, lunch, etc.) and some good old-fashioned bluegrass, gospel and country music. Festival hours are 9-5 each weekend day.
Georgia Mountain Festival
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawassee
This is a festival that’s not to be missed for a lot of reasons: location, season, and the focus of the festival itself, celebrating what autumn means for those who live in this part of the state. It’s about harvest, home and harmony. And a little bit about Hiawassee, a pretty little town on a simply gorgeous lake. But if there’s one thing that absolutely must not be missed it’s the annual, official, Georgia State Fiddlers Convention. It’s always fun, and sometimes surprising.
Fall Arts in the Park Festival
Downtown Blue Ridge City Park
A true sign of autumn, the fall version of Blue Ridge’s popular Arts in the Park. Set amidst a lovely, tree-filled downtown park, with fresh food smells all around, local art, special events and musical performances. Along with the food, the vendors, and the music you can enjoy the changing colors, the smell of autumn in the air and the crisp late fall temperatures. It’s the best time of year for a very popular event, not to be missed!
Gibbs Gardens Fall Festival
Gibbs Gardens, Ballground
Gibbs is a great example of how you get something fabulous when you start with something fabulous. Just as Augusta National grew out of a plant nursery, Gibbs has its roots in the business of landscaping, so planting millions of daffodils makes sense, as does tending to one of the most stunning Japanese gardens in the world. In the fall, an arts and crafts festival occupies open space above the meandering trails that take you to the manor house. It’s a calm way to spend the early days of Georgia’s most colorful season.
Georgia Apple Festival
October 12-13; 19-20
Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds
For 46 years, apples have brought folks together in Ellijay, East Ellijay and Gilmer County. These days, people come from all over for the apples, the parade, the antique car show, the arts and crafts, and almost everything you can imagine (or eat) made from apples.
October 12-13; 19-20
Meeks Park, Blairsville
Sorghum is one of those mystery words. Pork product? Dental affliction? Nope. It’s actually a cereal grain that grows tall, like corn, but boiled down it produces a sugary-like syrup. You’d be able to deduce that from one item on a list of events that’s part of this annual festival: a biscuit eating contest, with sorghum on top. You may know sorghum better by its full name, sorghum molasses.
Blue Ridge Marching Band Festival
Fannin County High School Football Field
More than two dozen bands will compete, with bands ranging in size from 40 members to more than 150 members, competing for regional honors.
Gold Rush Days
All you need to know about Dahlonega is in its name: Dahlonega, in Cherokee, means gold. It was the site of the first U.S. gold rush, which is still celebrated today with gold mine tours, a gold museum in the center of town, and an enormous festival in late October. This is your big deal festival that knows what it’s all about. People dressed as miners painted gold; gold panning in the streets; beard-growing contests, and hollerin’ contests – separate, of course. It’s hard to holler through some of those bushy beards. If you like food, fun, and high energy, this is your festival.
Heritage Days Festival
This is a cute event in a charming town with everything you’d expect of North Georgia autumn beauty in small town America. Antiques, bluegrass and Southern gospel music, and plenty of food.
No doubt you’ve heard the stories of how NASCAR came to be, and why they’re constantly taking those left turns. Turns out the history and heritage of NASCAR dates to some very practical, if exciting times when it paid, even then, to drive fast. Those guys in those fast cars back in the mid-1900s were delivering “product” and trying to avoid federal revenuers. They were hauling “shine” from up in the North Georgia hills to faithful, paying customers in cities and towns all over these parts. Moonshine Fest is a typical festival in a lot of ways, but not when you consider the lively and pretty darn dangerous good ol’ days that led to today.
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