Evening in the Garden
2011 Dates: Aug. 4 & 25
If you enjoy crafts with the family or by yourself, don’t miss the workshops offered at Ellijay’s Mountain Ridge Garden Shop. Each event starts at 6 p.m. and lasts for two hours. Finger foods, punch and music surround each artist as they create a one-of-a-kind memory. Located in the historic red mill on River Street, the first workshop will be “Building a Living Wall Art”. Small shadow boxes filled with assorted flowers, hens and chicks. The top and the bottom of the boxes will be lined with chicken wire and moss to hang on the wall. Cost is $25. The second class is “Make Your Own Yard Art”. Using tea cups, saucers, old vases and candy dishes, each person creates a unique conversation piece for their garden. Cost is $20. For more information, call Mountain Ridge at (706) 698-2815.
Mountain Marketplace Heritage Festival
2011 Dates: Sept. 3 & 4
Enjoy a weekend celebrating the best of Appalachia! Arts and crafts are on display to educate and sell. Handmade brooms, pottery, soap, candles, honey and wood carvings are just a few of the items to be found at this festival in Blairsville, Ga. Activities for the whole family include gospel music, gold panning, craft demonstrations and more. Held in the Mountain Life Museum just a block away from the square, this festival is one not to be missed for anyone interested in mountain heritage. Admission is free. For more information visit www.UnionCountyHistory.org.
2011 Dates: Sept. 22-Oct. 30
Oktoberfest! It’s the German word for fun! Well, that may not be the actual translation, but to the folks attending Helen’s annual Oktoberfest every year it may as well be. This celebration lasts two months. Deep azure skies and color splashed mountains surround a picturesque “alpine” village, making the days as inviting as the nights. During the day, you may decide to browse the shops, relax in a biergarten, or simply enjoy Helen’s perfect weather and beautiful scenery. At night, however, all paths lead to Helen’s massive Festhalle for authentic German bands, food, beer and fun. Prosit! For more information, visit www.helenchamber.com.
Mountain Music and Arts and Crafts Festival
2011 Date: Sept. 10
Located at Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Ga., this event celebrates traditional mountain music—bluegrass, gospel and Appalachia tunes. There are arts and crafts in booths to sell what demonstrators around the area are creating. Demonstrations include blacksmithing, spinning, wood carving and more. For more information, call (706) 745-2628.
Fall Arts in the Park
2011 Dates: Oct. 8 & 9
There’s nothing like the fall season in the mountains. Leaves begin changing, the air starts cooling, and the Downtown City Park of Blue Ridge, Georgia comes alive for artists of all mediums. For 35 years, the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association has provided a unique art experience through its festivals. Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, these events draw in excess of 15,000 attendees. With over 175 fine arts, crafts and food booths, this fall’s festival has something for everyone. There are always activities for the children, along with special events for the big kids.
. You can also visit their website at www.blueridgearts.net.
Rose Lawn Arts Festival
2011 Dates: Sept. 17 & 18
The 36th Arts Festival at Rose Lawn offers quality arts and crafts and two days of great entertainment in a historic city setting. This annual event is held on the spacious lawn of the historical mansion of renowned Methodist Evangelist Samuel Porter Jones in the heart of downtown Cartersville, Georgia. Throughout the weekend, regional artists will exhibit everything from paintings and jewelry to basketry, quilting, weaving, pottery, photography and wood. Visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of food including barbecue and ice cream. Guests may also tour Rev. Jones’ eighteen-room Victorian house museum, carriage house and one-room schoolhouse. Admission is free. For more information, call 800-733-2280.
3rd Annual Scarecrow Invasion
2011 Dates: Sept. 17-30
It’s fall ya’ll and nothing brings in the season more than making your very own scarecrow. For the past two years Mountain Ridge Garden Shop and Ellijay locals decorate Ellijay for the fall season with homemade scarecrows. Last year downtown Ellijay was alive with scarecrows on every corner. Scarecrow electricians, injured scarecrows on crutches or scarecrows drinking coffee line the streets. Imagination is the limit.
It’s an easy way to clean out that garage or closet and steal Dad’s overalls. Bring them in and build your own scarecrow. Mountain Ridge Garden shop will have all the hay for stuffing, wood frames for the body and a place to make a mess! A scarecrow workshop is set up daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mountain Ridge Garden Shop located at 746 River Street in Ellijay. The cost per scarecrow is $5.00 and you supply the clothes. Workshop is open to all ages. Everyone is welcome to display their scarecrow in downtown Ellijay upon filling out an application. All scarecrows will be on display until October 31.
This year Ellijay will be hosting its very first scarecrow display which will be held on Saturday October 1 at 4:00 in downtown Ellijay. So dress up like a scarecrow, pull one in a wagon or dress up your kids and dogs and come to Ellijay this fall and help celebrate. For more information or to sign up, contact Mountain Ridge Garden Shop at 706-698-2815 or Cartecay River Trading Company at 706-635-2782.
Tea in the Mountains
2011 Date: Sept. 18
The North Georgia Folk Festival
2011 Date: Sept. 24
Come to Athens, Ga. where the culture of folk music is alive and well! Located in Sandy Creek Park, there are art vendors, craft demonstrations and an all day acoustic band that anyone can join! Educational workshops include the banjo, Irish fiddle and old time singing. For more information, visit www.athensfolk.org.
Outdoor Adventure Day at Unicoi
2011 Date: Sept. 24
There is something here to please everyone at Unicoi State Park outside Helen, Ga. Visitors can learn how to paddle canoes, shoot, fish, archery basics and more. There are demonstrations with various types of outdoor sports, weapons and hunting dogs. Take a hayride to view the park or visit the wildlife shows with snakes and hawks. For more information, call 800-573-9659.
Riverfest in Canton
2011 Date: Sept. 24 & 25
Each year in Canton’s Boling Park, the town comes together to raise money for local children’s charities. Sponsored by the Service League of Cherokee County, it’s a large festival that is the league’s main fund-raiser throughout the year. Exhibitors display unique arts and crafts in the park, while visitors can munch on fresh food and enjoy the atmosphere. Don’t miss this large and popular festival in Canton! For more information, visit www.riverfest.org.
Autumn Leaf Festival
2011 Dates: Sept. 30-Oct.2
Just a short trip from Athens, Ga. and one of the largest festivals in the state, this one draws thousands of people to Maysville each year. Started in 1966, exhibitors throughout the southeast show their arts and crafts as local talent performs for visitors. A variety of food and drinks are available. Admission is free. For more information, call 706-708-6409.
Indian Summer Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 1 & 2
In the North Georgia Mountains, it’s hard to find more picturesque beauty than Suches, Ga. In the 34th Indian Summer Festival, there are arts, crafts and all day entertainment at the Woody Gap School. Events include clogging, a turkey shoot, archery demo, auction and fantastic food. Admission is free to $4 (all proceeds go to Woody Gap School). For more information, visit www.suches.com or call (706) 747-2401.
The Georgia Marble Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 1 & 2
The crisp fall air beckons visitors to Jasper, Ga., the “Gateway to the Mountains,” for the annual Marble Festival. A 5K road race and parade kick off the festivities. Home to the world’s largest open pit marble quarry, tours are given only during this one time of year. Artists abound at this festival with everything imaginable represented here. Marble sculptors, wood workers and more exhibit their talent during live exhibitions at the Lee Newton Park. Thousands of visitors take home free pieces of their own marble slabs as keepsakes of their time here. A wide variety of regional and local talent entertains while visitors munch on everything from crispy fried seafood to fresh made jams and jellies. A children’s area with rock climbing, obstacle course, car racing and free arts and crafts make your children wish they could come back each day. Admission is free to $5. For more information, visit www.pickenschamber.com.
Big Red Apple Festival
2011 Date: Oct. 1
Starting at 10 a.m., Cornelia, Ga. hosts a fun, family-oriented fall festival complete with crafts, food and entertainment. You can see the big, red apple monument in the railway station area during your stroll. Children can play in the designated children’s area full of games and fun. With 6 parks and 3 museums, there’s no shortage of education. For more information, call 706-778-8585.
Cherry Log Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 1 & 2 and 8 & 9
The annual Cherry Log Fall Festival, a Georgia mountains tradition since 1971, will have its booths filled this October with handmade crafts of many types, and of course, food. A country style breakfast is served at 7:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 until 2:30. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and boiled peanuts will also be available. Visitors can shop for homemade desserts, canned goods, arts and crafts. So, eat a bowl of Brunswick stew and stroll around listening to the bluegrass music. This year there will also be a log sawing competition. Free entertainment will be provided in the afternoons. The festival is located across from the Cherry Log Post Office just off Highway 515 between exits 18 and 19 at 341Cherry Log Street (Old Highway 5). For more information, call (706) 276-3217.
2011 Dates: Oct. 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 29 & 30
Mountain Ridge Garden shop located at 746 River Street in Ellijay is celebrating fall by hosting our first jubilee. Everything you need for fall decorating like local grown pumpkins and gourds, corn stalks, garden mums and colorful pansies. Every weekend has apple bobbing, fresh cider and apple treats for the season. There is also a large pumpkin patch where kids can paint their pumpkin or gourd for Halloween for a small fee.
On October 13 from 6-8p.m. there will be an evening workshop on how to make your own Thanksgiving wreath. On October 20 from 6-8p.m. learn to make your own pumpkin centerpiece. For more information call Mountain Ridge Garden Shop at 706-698-2815.
Cumming Country Fair & Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 6-16
This special event combines something for everyone at the Cumming fairgrounds. Educational history exhibits feature reproductions of a 1900’s rural town with everything from a doctor’s office to churches and Indian villages. There are carnival rides, a petting zoo and foods for the kids with specials happening each day. Admission is free to $7. For more information, call 770-781-3491 or visit www.cummingfair.net.
The Georgia Mountains Fall Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 7-15
Set in a rustic setting, the fairgrounds in Hiawassee, Ga. provide some of the best music, entertainment and crafts to be found. For a full week, visitors can watch country music shows or be entertained by the annual fiddlers’ convention, where the Georgia State Champion will be announced for a variety of events—buck dancing, harmonica, dobro, banjo and of course, the fiddle. To check out the schedule of events, visit: www.georgiamountainfairgrounds.com
2011 Date: Oct. 8
Beginning at noon, the Smithgall Woods Conservation area hosts a full day of mountain music, pioneer skill exhibits, hayrides, food and crafts. Just a small trip from Georgia’s Alpine Village of Helen, the Fall Celebration is an educational day trip from Helen’s Oktoberfest. For more information, call 706-878-3087.
The Georgia Apple Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 8 & 9 and Oct. 15 & 16
Don’t miss one of the largest festivals in north Georgia! The Georgia Apple Festival has been presented in Gilmer County for 40 years. Located on the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Ellijay, Ga., vendors sell crafts and folk arts—everything from jewelry to rock fountains to wood bowls can be found. Pottery, one-of-a-kind art, furniture, glassware and more line the rows of booths. Browse through hundreds of crafters while you listen to music. Try one of the many samples of local foods. From Cajun low-country boil to hand churned ice cream, there are hundreds of choices to please any palate. Go to the main building for some of the best country cooking around. A few area apple houses are represented by having large stands to sell apple cider, pies, apples and more. Children can ride the toy train, climb a rock wall or visit some of the wildlife exhibits. The festival benefits many local charities and is always well represented by the friendly community residents.
Once you have enjoyed the Apple Festival at the Fairgrounds, please take time to visit the Ellijay square, where the antique merchants and small shops have a variety of goods to share. Sample homemade fudge while you walk around the specialty shops and antique stores. It’s an unbelievably good time! For more information, visit www.georgiaapplefestival.org.
Georgia Sorghum Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 8 & 9, Oct. 15 & 16
Held in a fort in Blairsville, Ga., the Sorghum Festival is a celebration of one of the oldest sweeteners. You can smell the sorghum cooking from the parking area. While you walk around with a sorghum butter biscuit, you can check out the crafts in the fort, listen to the music and entertainment or head up the stairs for more arts and crafts. For more information, visit www.sorghum.blairsville.com.
2011 Date: Oct. 14 & 15
Are you a Barbeque Chef looking for a new competition venue? Or an amateur cooker with a favorite recipe to test in the ‘Back Yard Burner’ arena? You’re invited to a Pignic. Sit in the Lick You Lips people’s choice tent for delicious barbecue sampling. Mix a full serving of beautiful northwest Georgia in full fall color with a plentiful amount of Southern Hospitality — and fresh off the grill is Cherokee Pignic! It’s a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned cook-off. With over 6,000 members world-wide, KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. Both professional cooking teams, traveling from all over the US, and local barbeque enthusiasts will be competing.
Certified KCBS Judges enjoy the tasty treats prepared by the professionals, while everyone samples what the locals cook up! There will also be a variety of food options, including barbecue, for purchase on site. There’ll be good food, music, dancing, craft demonstrations, an antique tractor display and of course the wonderful Barbeque Cook Off! For more information, visit www.cherokeepignic.com.
2011 Date: Oct. 15
Grab a bowl of chili and spend the crisp autumn day at Vogel State Park just outside Blairsville, Ga. as they host a celebration of the season complete with hayrides and cakewalks. Walk around while you sample chili and drinks. End the day with a campfire and storyteller. Perfect for the whole family! For more information, call 706-745-2628.
Gold Rush Days
2011 Dates: Oct. 15-16
Ahh…the lure of gold. Another major festival in the North Georgia area, the Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega, Ga. celebrate the 1828 gold discovery in the town…the largest in the South. Pan for gold, visit over 300 vendors selling arts, crafts and food or take a tour of the historical courthouse or college. Watch the fashion show, try gold panning and eat some of the best food the South has to offer! The square in Dahlonega is also the location of many interesting arts and outdoors shops. Voted one of the Top 20 Events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, the Gold Rush is a great festival for visitors of all ages. For more information, call 706-864-7247 or visit www.dahlonegajaycees.com.
Heritage Days at Talking Rock
2011 Dates: Oct. 15 & 16
Come to Talking Rock, Ga. for one of the most interesting heritage festivals. Celebrate the marble-rich history of Pickens County and browse the arts and crafts. Bluegrass and gospel music fill the air each year while visitors wander the streets looking at the recreated town and residents. The food and fellowship are not to be missed while learning the history of the area. Admission is free. For more information, visit 706-253-5515.
Mountain Harvest Sale
2011 Dates: Oct. 15 & 16 and 22 & 23
Come to the Blue Ridge Farmer’s Market this October to browse through local arts, crafts, food and fun. Sponsored by the Fannin County Homemaker’s Council, it’s a free event. For more information, visit www.blueridgemountains.com.
The Mountain Moonshine Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 21-23
You can’t get more down-home charm than the 44th Annual Moonshine Festival in Downtown Dawsonville, Ga. Celebrating the South’s history when liquor was illegal during Prohibition and running moonshine through the foothills of the mountains was a way of life. A bike tour and parade will lead the celebration. Listen to the live music, look at the antique cars (some authentic moonshine haulers) and meet legendary race car drivers. Admission is free. For more information, call 877-302-9271.
Paws in the Park
2011 Date: Oct. 22
Bring your pet to the downtown Blue Ridge Park this fall! Starting at 10 a.m. there will be a parade. Join the fun featuring a Pet Costume Contest, Blessing of the Pets, pet photographs, exhibitors, arts and crafts, food and music. All donations go the Humane Society of Blue Ridge and other participating pet rescue organizations. For additional information, visit www.humanesocietyofblueridge.org
35th Annual Harvest Festival
2011 Dates: Oct. 29 & 30
Come visit 200 vendors this fall in downtown Toccoa, Georgia. Taste homemade goods and browse through crafts while listening to two stages filled with entertainment. There will also be a classic car cruise and children’s activities. For more information visit www.mainstreettoccoa.com.
2011 Date: Oct. 31
Treats and fun for all this year in your local downtown of choice. Most of the shops in the downtown areas close the streets to traffic each Halloween and kids of all ages trick or treat from shop to shop. There is usually food and entertainment or costume contests to enter. For more information, call your downtown chamber of choice.
The Fur Ball
2011 Dates: Nov. 5
A night to remember that is full of entertainment and fun, the annual Fur Ball is an event to benefit the Pickens Animal Rescue. Held at Chattahoochee Tech in Jasper, there will be a silent auction, dancing and seated dinner—all for a good cause. For more information, visit www.pickensanimalrescue.com.
2011 Date: Nov. 24
Join family and friends at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge in Dawsonville, Ga. for a traditional Thanksgiving buffet. Try your hand at churning butter or look through the crafts. Displays and cultural demonstrations will be presented throughout the day for anyone wanting to know more about the history of the area. Or, if you prefer, take your bike (or a hike) through one of the park’s many trails. Reservations are required. Call for more information at 706-344-1505.
BRMAA Holiday Art Show & Sale
2011 Dates: Nov. 19- Jan.13
Shop for regional art and crafts at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Thanksgiving through Christmas. For more information, call (706) 632-2144.
Star Pointe Gallery Open House
2011 Dates: Dec. 9-11, Dec. 16-18
One of the most popular artists in the area opens her home each year to visitors and fans alike. Brenda Harris Tustian in Ball Ground, Georgia celebrates each Christmas by offering tours of her studio and a look at her art. From fine art prints to Christmas cards, Brenda Tustian conveys the love, magic and joy of the season. In her ever-popular Santa paintings, Brenda offers personalized art, gorgeous fine art prints and heirlooms. Brenda Harris Tustian offers a full line of landscapes, florals, pet portraits, etc. It only takes one look to fall in love with her subjects in much the same way she has. With an uncommon ability to draw the eye, the mind and the soul into each and every painting she’s creating once in a lifetime works on every single canvas. Open daily 10 am-5 pm. For more information, visit www.brendatustian.com.
Light Up Blue Ridge
2011 Date: Nov. 26
The annual “Light Up Blue Ridge” has everything a family needs to start off the holiday season. Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Visit with Santa and have photos taken in the gazebo in downtown Blue Ridge Park free of charge. While the kids are visiting with Santa, everyone can enjoy various entertainers throughout the day. Also in the downtown park there will be Santa’s workshop and a beautiful handmade Santa’s sleigh available for family photos. Live reindeer, a gingerbread house, a children’s trackless train and the lighting of the “Great Tree” are just a few of the activities scheduled. Downtown shops will be open late so bring the whole family for a holiday of fun, perfect to start the season off right. For more information visit www.lightupblueridge.com.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Christmas Express
2011 Dates: All December Weekends
Come ride the holiday train in Blue Ridge, Georgia and see Santa, Mrs. Santa and the elves. Listen to Christmas stories and sing carols. For those who have never had the opportunity to visit Blue Ridge, the railway and the depot are in the very heart of town. It is an appropriate location, for the railway is dear to the heart of the residents there. The railway operates most of the year—from April to December—bringing loads of visitors to enjoy the leisurely train ride from Blue Ridge to Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia and back. For most of the year, the train makes a stop in Copperhill and McCaysville. That is, except from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. During the holidays, the Christmas Express (that is the name of the train ride from November 25th until December 25th) skips the layover and adds in the holiday spirit.
On board you can visit with Santa, sing carols, sip hot cocoa and spend time with those you love. As they say on the BRSR, “It’s a day your kids will remember the rest of their lives!”
If you plan to ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway as part of your holiday plans, you are strongly advised to make reservations in advance. The train is very popular with visitors to Blue Ridge all year, but particularly during the Christmas season. Rides are often sold out during the holidays. You can call them at (706) 632-TRAIN (8724) or toll free at 1-877-413-TRAIN (8724) for more information. Tickets prices run from $18 (for children) to $34 (the highest price for an adult ticket).