When the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to transform into gorgeous shades of red, orange, and yellow, you know it’s fall in the North Georgia mountains.
And when this magical time of year comes around, towns all across Georgia get ready to celebrate the season with an array of fall fairs and festivals.
Bringing together food, games, music, and activities, many of these events become family traditions and are something you can look forward to each year.
From the iconic two-month-long Oktoberfest celebration in Helen GA to the endlessly entertaining North Georgia State Fair, each event offers a unique autumnal experience you won’t want to miss.
Read on to see our staff picks for the 20 Best Fall Fairs & Festivals in Georgia, arranged in chronological order, with information about what makes each one worth visiting.
Fall Fairs and Festivals in Georgia Guide
- Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival (Blue Ridge)
- Oktoberfest (Helen)
- Chattahoochee Mountain Fair (Clarkesville)
- Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival (Stone Mountain)
- North Georgia State Fair (Marietta)
- Dancing Goats Folk Fest (Ellijay)
- Big Red Apple Festival (Cornelia)
- Lula Fall Festival (Lula)
- Foxfire Mountaineer Festival (Clayton)
- Indian Summer Festival (Suches)
- Cumming Country Fair & Festival (Cumming)
- Georgia Mountain Fall Festival (Hiawassee)
- Grape Stomp Festival (Blairsville)
- Georgia Apple Festival (Ellijay)
- Blairsville Sorghum Festival (Blairsville)
- Gold Rush Days (Dahlonega)
- Heritage Days Festival (Talking Rock)
- Booth Western Art Museum Cowboy Festival (Cartersville)
- Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show (Dawsonville)
- Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival (Hiawassee)
(NOTE: The Delta variant is currently surging in Georgia. We urge anyone planning on attending these events to get vaccinated and/or wear masks accordingly.)
(Downtown Blue Ridge GA, September 9-16)
If you want to start your fall season off a little early, make your way to Downtown Blue Ridge for the 10th annual Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival.
As you walk through the historic downtown area, the mouth-watering smell of BBQ from more than 10 different local and regional vendors will fill the air and the sound of toe-tapping tunes will fill your ears.
In 2021, the awesome musical lineup includes the Breaking Point Band, The Shufflejunkies Band Page, The Crossroads Band, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, and the Georgia Blues Brothers.
The festival charges $10 admission, but kids 12 and under can enjoy all the fun for free.
If you’re still in the area on September 18th, there will also be a Blue Ridge Blues Crawl downtown, starting at 7 PM. You can explore some of the best restaurants in Blue Ridge GA, enjoy live music, and celebrate the timeless sound of the blues!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA
(Helen GA, September 9 – November 7)
Now celebrating its 50th year, Oktoberfest is the longest-running celebration of the festival in the US. It’s also one of the most popular cultural festivals in the country.
Running in 2021 from September 9 through November 7, the Helen Chamber of Commerce-hosted event puts a spotlight on the town’s Alpine inspiration.
Rows of long tables are set up so visitors can eat bratwurst, drink beer, and enjoy German-style polka bands that have come from all over the country.
While every day of Oktoberfest brings all kinds of joy and celebration, the immensely popular Oktoberfest Parade will be taking place on September 11th. This is a day you won’t want to miss!
Admission Monday through Friday is $8, rising to $10 on Saturday, and Sundays are free. Kids ages 5 and under enter free every day, while kids ages 6 to 12 are half-price.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Helen GA
(Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville GA, September 10-18)
The Chattahoochee Mountain Fair has been an annual tradition since 1975, providing entertainment for families to enjoy while soaking in the splendor of the autumn season.
The Fair offers live entertainment, thrilling carnival rides, mouth-watering food, craft vendors, face painting, and even a petting zoo, as well as plenty of awesome photo opportunities.
There are a variety of contests you can enter (or just watch), including baking, photography, adult/youth crafts, livestock shows, and the Miss Chattahoochee Pageant.
Other fun features include a rodeo on September 17th and 18th and a Kids Farm & Fun Day, where kids can learn about farm animals and watch demonstrations of cow milking and more.
(Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain GA, September 18-October 31)
Ranking alongside Stone Mountain Christmas among the park’s most popular events, the Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival is one of the most beloved festivals in GA.
Whether you’re enjoying a journey around the mountain aboard a locomotive, entering the pie-eating contest, or enjoying a new show starring award-winning magician Aaron Radatz, there’s plenty of fun to be had for all ages.
When the sun goes down, the festivities continue as Stone Mountain Park lights up with the new Glow By Night Event.
This family-friendly outdoor adventure takes visitors through classic storybook tales that come to life after dark.
There are over 10 themed areas to enjoy, with over 40 scenes filled with thousands of twinkling lights, huge carved pumpkins, and plenty of not-so-spooky fun!
(Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta GA, September 23-October 3)
The ever-popular North Georgia State Fair returns for its 89th year, bringing all the rides, games, shows, and excitement from years past (and some new attractions to boot).
Attracting around 300,000 people each year, the Fair has entertained visitors for generations, yet still manages to take it up a notch each year.
The 2021 event will feature more than 40 amusement rides and carnival-style games courtesy of the Great James H. Drew Exposition.
There will also be yummy food vendors and live musical performances from stars like Gabby Barrett, John Langston, Chase Rice, and Mark Willis. You can also enjoy a variety of new shows, like Jurassic Kingdom, Kachunga & the Alligator, and the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show.
Other attractions include watching life-size Transformer-style robot vehicles and cheering on your favorite pig as they race and swim during the Robinsons Racing Pigs & Paddling Porkers event.
(Ellijay GA, September 25-26)
Ellijay GA may be best known for its apple picking, but it also has an excellent location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Dancing Goats Folk Fest is a folk art festival in that seeks to preserve and celebrate Southern Appalachian Culture and History.
The annual event features lots of traditional foods, arts and crafts, and music ranging from bluegrass and country to folksy mountain ballads.
Storytelling is also featured at the festival, continuing the timeless Southern tradition of telling the history of the land through word-of-mouth.
Perhaps the most unique offering at the Dancing Goats Folk Fest is the Goat Pageant. Happening on Saturday and Sunday, it features pampered goats strutting their stuff in hopes of winning the crown!
(Downtown Cornelia GA, September 25)
Nestled in the mountains of Northeast Georgia about 8 miles from the Schoolbus Graveyard, Cornelia is a picturesque town known as “The Home of the Big Red Apple.”
Every year, Cornelia hosts the Big Red Apple Festival to celebrate the town and the apples grown there, as well as the impending arrival of fall colors in North Georgia.
Now in its 33rd year, the festival will offer hayrides, carriage rides, historic tours, and live entertainment. There will also be arts and crafts, food vendors, a cornhole tournament, kids zone, and car show.
While you’re there, be sure to get a selfie next to the Big Red Apple. Located at the railway depot in downtown Cornelia, the replica measures 7 feet high, 22 feet around, and weighs 5,200 pounds!
(Train Depot in Lula GA, October 1-2)
Located in both Hall and Banks counties, Lula is a tiny North Georgia town that hosts the charming Lula Fall Festival in early October every year.
Featuring folk art and pottery, the event celebrates the culture of Northeast Georgia by inviting potters, folk artists, and community crafters from all over the area to display their works for visitors to enjoy.
While at the festival, you can browse a broad array of art mediums and styles, as well as enjoy a variety of children’s activities, delicious food, and live entertainment.
The event is located at the Lula Train Depot Railroad Yard, and admission is totally free.
(Rabun County Civic Center in Clayton GA, October 2)
On the first Saturday of October, the annual Foxfire Mountaineer Festival in Clayton puts a spotlight on Appalachian culture for a day packed full of all kinds of traditional art and music.
A wide variety of Appalachian art will be on display here. The artists themselves will provide demonstrations of historic crafts such as woodworking, blacksmithing, soap making, and more.
Visitors of all ages can also play a ton of traditional games and puzzles, including sack races and cross-cut sawing competitions, while enjoying live music from regional performers.
Admission is $5 per person (children 5 and under are free), with all proceeds going to support the Foxfire Museum’s mission of preserving Southern Appalachian culture.
(Woody Gap School in Suches GA, October 2-3)
Held in Suches GA– the town widely known as “The Valley Above the Clouds”– the Indian Summer Festival is a two-day event featuring music, dancing, arts, crafts, and more.
Indian summer, for those who don’t know, has nothing to do with the Cherokee or other native tribes. It’s the period of unseasonably warm, dry weather in temperate regions that can last from September into mid-November.
There will be food vendors selling festival classics ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to funnel cakes and cotton candy, as well as arts and crafts booths stationed throughout.
The elementary students of Woody Gap School (on whose grounds the event is held) will be there to entertain guests with their performances.
There will also be a Mountain Ranger hand-to-hand combat demonstration, archery demonstration, mountain music, and a Country Square Dance featuring a live band!
(Cumming Fairgrounds in Cumming GA, October 7-17)
Drawing in 225,000+ people from all across Georgia, the Cumming Country Fair & Festival is celebrating its 27th year as the largest event held at the Cumming Fairgrounds.
The festival features fun for the whole family, with many amusement rides and attractions to enjoy. New for 2021 is the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Kachunga & The Alligator Show, and Magic Man TJ Hill.
There will also be incredible live performances from The Alter Eagles (an Eagles tribute band), Yellow Brick Road (an Elton John tribute act), and multi-platinum country/gospel star Josh Turner.
Of course, there’s also plenty of mouth-watering fair food, from classics like hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and corn dogs to treats like funnel cake, fried Oreos, cotton candy, caramel apples, and more.
(Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA, October 8-16)
Held annually at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, this 9-day Georgia festival features arts & crafts vendors, educational demonstrations, food vendors, and live musical performances.
Well-known musicians who will be performing in 2021 include the Bellamy Brothers, Tracy Lawrence, The Lost Saints, Lee Greenwood, Lindsay Beth Harper, Neal McCoy, Mark Willis, Ronnie Milsap, and the Georgia Mountain Fair House Band.
The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival is also home to the 11th annual Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds Holiday Favorites Cooking Contest.
This year it takes place on October 9th starting at 11 AM, with competitors bringing their best dish to compete for up to $100.
Admission to this family-friendly event is $12 per person, with children 12 and under able to enjoy the festival for free. On Military Appreciation Day, October 12th, all active duty and veterans get in free!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Blue Ridge GA
(Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa in Blairsville GA, October 9)
The Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa in Blairsville GA is bringing back all of the oenophile fun in 2021 for their 8th annual Grape Stomp Fest.
Live music will be played all day by the award-winning Rhonda Funk and the Garrett Wheeler Band. You can enjoy the tunes while browsing craft booths and enjoying delicious BBQ from food trucks.
The grape stomping takes place at 2 and 4 PM, and you won’t want to miss the I Love Lucy look-alike contest, with locally-grown wines as the prizes.
Admission is $25 and includes a souvenir wine glass. Admission for those ages 21 and under is $15.
(Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds in Ellijay GA, October 9-10 & 16-17)
Although the 2020 festival had to be canceled due to COVID concerns, this year the Georgia Apple Festival returns to Ellijay with even more fun to celebrate its 50th year!
Offering two weekends of autumnal celebration, the festival will feature over 300 vendors with food, hand-crafted items, and on-site demonstrations of how different crafts are made.
There will also be the ever-popular parade and antique show. Admission is $5, and children ages 10 and under can enter for free.
Parking at the Lions Club Fairgrounds is limited, but there’s a free shuttle service. The various shuttle bus routes and parking areas are marked on a map on the Georgia Apple Festival website.
READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia
(Meeks Park in Blairsville GA, October 9-10 & 16-17)
Part of Blairsville’s heritage for over 50 years now, the Blairsville Sorghum Festival returns in 2021.
Hosted by Blairsville Sorghum Syrup Makers and Enotah CASA Inc., the main event is focused on watching demonstrations and learning how the delicious syrup is made.
But there are also a ton of other activities for visitors to enjoy, including log sawing, pole climbing, rock- and hatchet-throwing, square dancing, and a parade through town.
Handmade arts and crafts vendors will be selling all kinds of soaps, lotions, jewelry, clothing, and wood and metal works. There will also be live demonstrations where you can see how certain crafts are made, and even try making some yourself.
Admission is just $5, and kids ages 12 and under are free.
(Dahlonega GA, October 16-17)
Voted one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, the festival attracts thousands of visitors to Dahlonega’s Town Square and Historic District every year.
The festivities include family-friendly games, wheelbarrow racing, face painting, live music, and a gold panning contest. There’s also a huge parade with jubilant marching bands and a coronation of the Gold Rush Days King and Queen.
There will also be more than 200 arts and crafts exhibitors scattered throughout the area, as well as a broad variety of food vendors.
(Talking Rock GA, October 16-17)
The tiny town of Talking Rock GA comes alive every October when they host the Heritage Days Festival.
Now in its 27th year, the festival is filled with all sorts of fun and small-town charm, including yummy Southern food as well as bluegrass and gospel music.
Vendors from all across Georgia join with local shop owners for the festival, with booths featuring all sorts of arts, crafts, and antiques lining the street.
Visitors to the festival can meet the Town Crier, and there will even be some surprise demonstrations that are sure to entertain all ages.
The best part? Admission and parking are free!
(The Booth Museum in Cartersville GA, October 22-23)
Located in Cartersville GA, the Booth Western Art Museum is home to the largest permanent exhibition space in the USA for Western American artwork.
The museum hosts a number of annual events throughout the year, but their Cowboy Festival and Symposium is arguably the most popular. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the fun by wearing their Western best.
The festival aspect takes place on Saturday, October 23 from 9:30 AM to 5 PM. It features Native American dancing, roping demonstrations, a reenactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and more.
On Friday, October 22 from 10:30 AM to 4 PM, the annual art history symposium takes place in the Museum’s Bergman Theatre.
The theme this year is the story of how artists help create and protect our US National Parks. It will feature talks like “The Undiscovered Waterfalls of Yellowstone” with artist M.C. Poulsen, and “Forever Glacier” with artist Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey.
There will also be exhibits at the museum exploring these themes.
(Dawsonville GA, October 22-24)
Dawsonville is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and Amicalola Falls State Park. But it is perhaps most famous among NASCAR fans as the home of racing legend Bill Elliott.
Taking place at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Dawsonville City Hall’s Main Street Park, the 54th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show is a must-see for fans of classic cars.
The festivities begin on Friday, October 22 at 8 AM, with a car show and swap meet.
At 9:30 AM, the Moonshine Run will depart from Bearden’s, showcasing all kinds of vintage vehicles as they drive throughout North Georgia’s Moonshine Country.
On Saturday, the festival and car show continues with a parade that marches through town at 9 AM. The festivities conclude after the final day of fun on Sunday.
(Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA, October 23)
Featuring craft beers from GA breweries, NC Breweries, South Carolina, and Alabama, the Appalachian Brew, Stew & Cue Festival is a must-visit for anyone who loves beer.
There will be over 40 breweries offering unlimited tastings, including Akademia Brewing, Copperhill Brewing, and Sycamore Brewing. Just remember to drink responsibly.
Along with the drinks, there will be delicious food available from local restaurants and regional arts and crafts showcased throughout the event.
You can also enjoy traditional Appalachian and Americana music, with live performances by Granny’s Mason Jar, Cody Marlowe & Austin Coleman, Elliott Sperin, Wyatt Espalin & Friends, and Shanon LaBrie.
You’l leave the festival with a free souvenir glass and a ride on their shuttle service back to the GMF campground or local hotel if needed! –by Christina Maggitas; lead photo via Canva