The 30 Best Fall Fairs and Festivals in Georgia (2023)

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[Updated July 12, 2023] When the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to transform into gorgeous shades of red, orange, and yellow, you know it’s Georgia in the fall. 

And when this magical time of year comes around, towns all across the state get ready to celebrate the season with an array of fall fairs and festivals in Georgia.

Bringing together food, games, music, and fall activities in Georgia, 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 30  Best Fall Fairs & Festivals in Georgia, arranged in chronological order, with information about what makes each one worth visiting.

READ MORE: 25 Fun Things To Do in Georgia for Fall

Fall Fairs & Festivals in Georgia Guide

(Arranged in chronological order)

  1. Grape Stomp Festival (Blairsville, September 2)
  2. Japan Fest (Duluth, September 16-17)
  3. Oktoberfest (Helen, September 7 – October 29)
  4. Chattahoochee Mountain Fair (Clarkesville, September 8-16)
  5. Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival (Blue Ridge, September 14-16)
  6. American Made Music Fest (Hiawassee, September 14-16)
  7. Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration (Macon, September 16-17)
  8. Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival (Stone Mountain, September 16-October 29)
  9. Suwanee Fest (Suwanee, September 16-17)
  10. North Georgia State Fair (Marietta, September 21-October 1)
  11. Big Red Apple Festival (Cornelia, September 23)
  12. Finster Fest (Summerville, September 23-24)
  13. Atlanta Chili Cook Off (Atlanta, November 4)
  14. Lula Fall Festival (Lula, September 30)
  15. Indian Summer Festival (Suches, October 7-8)
  16. Foxfire Mountaineer Festival (Clayton, October 7)
  17. Wings Over North Georgia Air Show (Rome, October 7-8)
  18. Cumming Country Fair & Festival (Cumming, October 5-15)
  19. Georgia Mountain Fall Festival (Hiawassee, October 6-14)
  20. Georgia Apple Festival (Ellijay, October 8-9 & 15-16)
  21. Fall Arts in The Park (Blue Ridge, October 14-15)
  22. Blairsville Sorghum Festival (Blairsville, October 14-15 & 21-22)
  23. Stone Mountain Games and Highland Festival (Stone Mountain, October 20-22)
  24. Gold Rush Days (Dahlonega, October 21-22)
  25. Heritage Days Festival (Talking Rock, October 21-22)
  26. Booth West Fest (Cartersville, October 28)
  27. Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival (Bostwick, October 28)
  28. Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show (Dawsonville, October 27-29)
  29. Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival (Hiawassee, October 21)
  30. Dancing Goats Folk Fest (Ellijay, October 28-29)

READ MORE: The 15 Best Haunted Houses in Georgia to Visit

Grape Stomp - Fall Festivals in Georgia
Photo courtesy of Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa

1. Grape Stomp Festival

(Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa in Blairsville GA, September 2)

The Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa in Blairsville GA is bringing back all of the oenophile fun in 2023 for their 10th annual Grape Stomp Fest.

Live music will be played all day by the award-winning Jon Whitlock and Mother Legacy. You can enjoy the tunes while browsing craft booths and enjoying delicious BBQ from Blairsville 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 Georgia wines as the prizes.

Admission is $25 and includes a souvenir wine glass. Admission for those ages 21 and under is $15.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Wineries in the North Georgia Mountains

Festivals in Atlanta - Japan Fest
Photo courtesy of

2. JapanFest

(Gas South Convention Center, Duluth GA • September 16-17)

Celebrating 36 years in 2023, JapanFest is one of the largest festivals in the USA that celebrates Japanese culture.

This year’s theme is “Experience Japan,” because the event prides itself on providing an immersive experience of this Asian culture.

Festival visitors can experience music, traditional Japanese dance, martial arts demonstrations, cultural workshops, children’s games, Japanese food and beer, and more.

If tickets are bought well before the event (before July 31st), the price is $13. If the tickets are purchased between August 1st – September 15th, they cost $16. Tickets at the door cost $20; buying a two-day ticket will cost $10 per day, and kids ages six and under get in free.

JapanFest is a great way to immerse yourself in all things Japanese!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Atlanta

Helen GA Oktoberfest Parade
Oktoberfest Parade, photo courtesy Explore Georgia

3. Oktoberfest

(Helen GA Festhalle, September 7 – October 29)

Now celebrating its 53rd year, Oktoberfest is the longest-running celebration and one of the most famous festivals in the USA. It’s also one of the most popular cultural festivals in the country.

Running in 2023 from September 7 through October 29, 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 from Helen GA restaurants, 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 9th.

This is a day you won’t want to miss so book your Helen hotel or Helen cabin rental sooner than later!

Admission Monday through Thursday is $10, rising to $12 on Friday and Saturday, and Sundays are free. Kids ages 5 and under enter free every day, while kids ages 6 to 12 are half-price.

Plan on coming back in December for Christmas in Helen GA, which was recently rated the “Top Christmas Town in America” by and one of Southern Living‘s Best Christmas Towns in the USA. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Helen GA

Chattahoochee Mountain Fair - southeast festivals and events
Photo courtesy of Chattahoochee Mountain Fair

4. Chattahoochee Mountain Fair

(Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville GA, September 8-16)

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 Georgia 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 15th and 16th and a Kids Farm & Fun Day, where kids can learn about farm animals and watch demonstrations of cow milking and more. 

READ MORE: 40 Facts About the History of the Banjo (From Africa to Appalachia)

Blue Ridge Blues and Barbeque Festival - Georgia Music Festival
Photo courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

5. Blue Ridge Blues & Barbeque Festival

(Downtown Blue Ridge GA, September 14-16)

If you want to celebrate fall in Georgia a little early, make your way to Downtown Blue Ridge GA for the 12th 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 2023, the awesome musical lineup includes: Dewayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers, Ghost Town Blues Band, The Crossroads Band, Frankie’s Blues Mission, and Breaking Point Band.

The festival charges $10 admission, but kids 12 and under can enjoy all the fun for free.

On September 15th, there will also be the Blues Train, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge; the scenic train ride in Georgia is followed by a block party, which is full of music and dancing.

You can enjoy great food while supporting charity and celebrating the timeless sound of the blues!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA

Dailey & Vincent - Georgia Festivals
Dailey & Vincent, photo Courtesy of American Made Music Fest

6. American Made Music Fest

 (Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA, September 14-16)

The American Made Music Fest offers visitors the best of live Country, Gospel, and Bluegrass music.

Presented at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, the festival presents 10 musical artists over the course of 3 days, including Tracy Lawrence, The Malpass Brothers, Dailey & Vincent, and more.

For those interested in camping, there will be RV hookups and tent space available at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds campgrounds, which are right next to one of the best lakes in Georgia, Lake Chatuge.

Single-day tickets start at $75, while 3-day passes start at $180, with VIP add-ons available. Children under 2 years of age get in free if they sit on the lap of an adult.

While you’re there, stop by one of the many local food trucks to grab a snack or dinner while you’re waiting for the next show!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Hiawassee GA & Young Harris GA

Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration and Festival in Macon GA
Photo courtesy of

7. Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration

(Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, Macon GA • September 16-17)

The Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration offers visitors a chance to celebrate the cultures of the Southeastern Native Americans while exploring Indian mounds, an Earth Lodge, hiking trails, and nature.

This year’s festival takes place at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park on September 16-17, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The fantastic festival is a great place to learn about Georgia’s indigenous cultures, which played such an important role in the state’s history. 

Guests can see traditional crafts, hear stories of history and legends, watch live demonstrations, and enjoy live music and dance. Native American vendors will be selling their art, food, jewelry, and more.

Due to a recent change, the festival is FREE in 2023. 

READ MORE: 6 Incredible Indian Mounds in Georgia to Visit

Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival - Atlanta fall festivals
Photo courtesy of Stone Mountain Park

8. Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival

(Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain GA, September 16-October 29)

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 train ride around the mountain, entering the pie-eating contest, or listening to Mother Goose Storytime, 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 and nighttime parade.

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!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Hiking Trails In Atlanta GA (& Hikes Near Atlanta)

Suwanee Fest
Suwanee Fest, Photo Courtesy City of Suwanee GA 

9. Suwanee Fest

(Suwanee GA. September 16-17)

The annual Suwanee Fest is making its return on September 16 & 17 at Town Center Park in Suwanee GA. For 2023, the festival’s theme is “Wild Wild Fest.” 

The Gwinnett County festival features nearly 200 different vendors offering fine arts and crafts and delicious food, as well as a variety of entertainment, and even a parade to celebrate the Suwanee community.

Entertainment acts for the 2023 festival are scheduled to include acrobats, live music, and more.

There’s also a special Fun Zone full of rides and games for kids to enjoy, which allows mom and dad some free time for browsing the festival booths. 

Admission to the festival is free, and there are free shuttle services to Town Center Park.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Corn Mazes in Georgia (Haunted Mazes, Kids Mazes & More)

North Georgia State Fair
North Georgia State Fair

10. North Georgia State Fair

(Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta GA, September 21-October 1)

The ever-popular North Georgia State Fair returns for its 91st 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 2023 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 music. 

You can also enjoy a variety of new shows for 2023, like Rosaire’s Royal Pig Racers, The Sea Lion Splash, and the Jurassic Kingdom.

Other attractions include checking out Brian Ruth, “Master of the Chainsaw,” as he creates artistic masterpieces before your eyes, as well as marveling at America’s Got Talent’s Extreme David “The Human Cannonball” Smith, as he flies across the sky, petting exotic animals, and watching life-size Transformer-style robot vehicles.

Also note the youth policy, after 6pm NO individual under the age of 17 will be allowed admission without a parent.

Tickets are $10 for admission. Rides tickets are available for an additional fee. Check the website for discounts.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Pumpkin Patches in North Georgia to Visit

11. Big Red Apple Festival

(Downtown Cornelia GA, September 23)

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 35th 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!

READ MORE: Apple Picking in Georgia: The 15 Best North GA Apple Orchards to Visit

Howard Finster Paradise Garden Chapel
The Chapel at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

12. Finster Fest

(Paradise Garden, Summerville GA • September 23-24)

Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden in Summerville GA hosts the annual Finster Fest art and music extravaganza in late September.

This year’s festival will feature over 60 folk artists and live music from Jason Lyles, Cheyenne Medders, and Jeremy Wells.

Their food selection is vast, with lots of barbecue and traditional Southern Appalachian food.

They also have a children’s arts and crafts activity area, and the chance to tour folk art icon Finster’s famously freaky wonderland.

General admission is $10, but kids ages 12 and under are admitted for free. The event runs from 10AM to 5PM, and is an extremely family-friendly festival.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Summerville GA

2021 Chili Cook Off - festivals in Atlanta GA
2021 Atlanta Chili Cook Off Winners Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Chili Cook Off

13. Atlanta Chili Cook Off

(Atlanta GA, November 4)

Think you have the best chili recipe? Or maybe you just want to try the best recipe? Either way, this festival is for you!

Sponsored by Crown Royal, Michelob Ultra, and Ciroc Vodka Spritz, this popular Atlanta festival is held at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody.

The Cook Off is open to amateurs and pros alike, so you’ll likely see chefs many local restaurants striving to be the reigning champs of the chili world.

The annual festival is fun for all ages and features all sorts of vendors as well as a Kid Zone full of family-friendly games and activities.

Tickets are required for anyone over 10 years of age, and they start at $15/person for general admission.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Scary Escape Rooms in Georgia

2019 Lula Fall Festival
2019 Lula Fall Festival

14. Lula Fall Festival

(5831 Athens St. Lula GA, September 30)

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 Rafe Banks Park/Lula Ballpark, and admission is totally free.

READ MORE: Where are the Blue Ridge Mountains? A State-by-State Guide

Indian Summer Festival
Indian Summer Festival

15. Indian Summer Festival

(Woody Gap School in Suches GA, October 7-8)

Located 5.3 miles from Lake Winfield Scott and held in the town of Suches GA–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 Americans.

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!

READ MORE: Top 20 Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia

Foxfire Mountaineer Festival
Photo courtesy of the Foxfire Museum

16. Foxfire Mountaineer Festival

(Rabun County Civic Center in Clayton GA, October 7)

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 Mountain 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 three-legged races and cross-cut sawing competitions, while enjoying live music from regional performers.

Admission is $8 per person (children 5 and under are free), with all proceeds going to support the Foxfire Museum’s mission of preserving Scots-Irish Appalachian culture.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Clayton GA (the Gem of Northeast Georgia)

Wings over North Georgia Festival
Photo courtesy of Wings Over North Georgia

17. Wings Over North Georgia Air Show

(Richard B. Russell Regional Airport, Rome GA • October 7-8)

Now in its 11th year of high-flying action, the annual Wings Over North Georgia Air Show takes place on October 7-8 at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome GA.

Visitors will have a chance to watch some of the top military and civilian aviation performers, including the USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team, and check out merchandise from an array of vendors.

The regional airport also offers a chance to drive in for tailgating or camping, which makes this an excellent option for a fun weekend getaway for aviation buffs.

Tickets are a bit pricey at around $100, but the fantastic spectacle makes it worth every penny.

READ MORE: The Top 30 Blue Ridge Mountain Towns in GA & NC

Cumming Country Fair and Festival - Festivals in Georgia 2022
Photo courtesy of City of Cumming Fairgrounds

18. Cumming Country Fair & Festival

(Cumming Fairgrounds in Cumming GA, October 5-15)

located 6.7 miles from the Indian Seats Trail at Swanee Mountain Preserve and drawing in 225,000+ people from all across Georgia, the Cumming Country Fair & Festival is celebrating its 29th year.

The festival features fun for the whole family, with over 40 amusement rides and attractions to enjoy including Comedian and Magic Man TJ Hill, Native Indian Village, Petting Zoo, RoboCars, and House of Four Scythes, which is North Georgia‘s newest haunted attraction. 

There will also be incredible live performances from Sawyer Brown, Tyler Farr and Joe Nichols.

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.

READ MORE: 25 Fun Things To Do in Georgia for Fall

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
Photo courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

19. Georgia Mountain Fall Festival

(Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA, October 6-14)

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 2023 include Trace Adkins, Shenandoah, Jo Dee Messina, and Mark Chesnutt.

Attractions for 2023 include over a dozen rides like carousel, Ferris wheel, bumper cars and more from Midway Rides Unlimited.  

Admission to this family-friendly event is $6 for Arts & Crafts only, and $16 for Arts, Crafts & Concerts, with children 12 and under able to enjoy the festival for free.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Campgrounds in North Georgia

Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Bret Love & Mary Gabbett at the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA

20. Georgia Apple Festival

(Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds in Ellijay GA, October 14-15 & 21-22)

In 2023 the Georgia Apple Festival returns to Ellijay GA, with even more fun to celebrate its 52nd year!

Apples are so strongly associated with this Georgia mountain town that the festival is often referred to as the “Ellijay Apple Festival“.

Offering two weekends of autumnal celebration, the festival will feature over 300 vendors with food from local Ellijay restaurants, hand-crafted items, and on-site demonstrations of how different crafts are made.

There will also be the ever-popular parade and antique car show, as well as a 5K run. Admission is $10 for adults, but children ages 12 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.

It’s a busy time for this small town so making reservations at Hotel in Ellijay or a cabin rental in Ellijay sooner than later is encouraged.

READ MORE: The 16 Best Things to Do in Ellijay GA & Gilmer County

Pottery and handmade dishes
A vendor set up at Arts in The Park. Photo Courtesy of Arts in the Park on Facebook

21. Fall Arts in The Park

(Blue Ridge GA, October 14-15)

The 13th Annual Fall Arts in The Park festival will be taking place this October 14th & 15th in Blue Ridge GA.

Presented by the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, the festival features 170+ artists and local vendors, as well as different crafts, demonstrations, and food trucks to grab a bite at as well.

Not only are local artists represented here, but the festival supports the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association, a non-profit that strives to provide opportunities for artists, as well as economic development for those in the community.

Interestingly, Blue Ridge has been listed as one of the Top 5 Best Art Towns in the state of Georgia

Admission to the annual festival is just $5.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Blue Ridge Georgia Cabins to Rent

Blairsville Sorghum Festival - sorghum festival blairsville ga
Photo courtesy of the Blairsville Sorghum Festival

22. Blairsville Sorghum Festival

(Meeks Park in Blairsville GA, October 14-15 & 21-22)

Part of Blairsville GA’s heritage for over 50 years now, the Blairsville Sorghum Festival returns in 2023.

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.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blairsville GA & Union County

Tartan Forest - highland games georgia
Tartan Forest at SMHG Photo Courtesy of SMHG

23. Stone Mountain Games and Highland Festival

(Stone Mountain GA, October 20-22)

The 51st Annual Stone Mountain Games & Highland Festival brings a little bit of Scotland to Georgia, with the 2023 edition taking place October 20-22.

The festival offers an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Scottish culture by eating and drinking like a native and testing your skills in different competitions.

While you’re there, you’ll also see various Celtic performers, musicians, and bagpipe bands, and vendors will be selling imported goods from the British Isles.

Little lads and lassies will have a chance to participate in different Scottish activities (such as the Haggis Hurl and Scotch Egg Drop), make beaded jewelry and canvas crafts, and even get their face painted.

Admission to the festival starts at $22.50, and children 12 years of age and younger get in free with an adult. 

READ MORE: The 15 Coolest Covered Bridges in Georgia

Gold Rush Days Festival in Dahlonega GA
Gold Rush Days Festival in Dahlonega

24. Gold Rush Days

(Dahlonega GA, October 21-22)

The 69th annual Gold Rush Days festival returns in 2023 to celebrate Dahlonega GA’s discovery of Gold in Georgia in 1828.

Finds there and in nearby Dukes Creek actually led to the first gold rush in America!

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 by the Dahlonega Gold Museum 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 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 and Dahlonega restaurant specials. 

While you’re in town, don’t miss the 8 great wineries in Dahlonega GA.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Dahlonega GA

Heritage Days Festival in GA
Heritage Days Festival

25. Heritage Days Festival

(Talking Rock GA, October 21-22)

The tiny of Talking Rock GA comes alive every October when they host the Heritage Days Festival.

Now in its 29th 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!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Breweries in Georgia

Booth Museum cowboy festival in Georgia
Photo courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum

26. Booth Western Art Museum’s West Fest

(The Booth Museum in Cartersville GA, October 28)

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 West Fest is arguably the most popular. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the fun by wearing their Western best.

The event starts with the Passport to the West school programs on Thursday, October 26, followed by the annual Western art history symposium that takes place in the Bergman Theatre on Friday, October 27.

But the festival itself takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 10 AM to 4 PM, and features Native American dancing, living history encampments, roping demonstrations, a reenactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and more.

READ MORE: Exploring Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site & Trails in Cartersville GA

Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival in GA
Photo courtesy of Bostwick Cotton Gin Fest

27. Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival

5941 Bostwick Road, Bostwick GA • October 28

With this year’s event taking place on Saturday, October 28, the 2023 Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival will include a parade at 11 AM, a full day of cotton-ginning, and all sorts of festival fun!

There will be hayrides from the parking lot to the event, booths offering handmade arts and crafts, and tasty treats from food vendors.

The gin itself will be operating all day long, offering fun and educational tours where you can learn about the important process of separating sticky seeds from the fibers in cotton.

Runners can sign up for the Gin Run 5K, which starts at 6:30 PM. At 7:30 PM, the closing ceremony will begin by giving out the Cotton Bale Awards.

Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival has something for everyone, and it’s unique from a historical perspective.

READ MORE: North Georgia Christmas Tree Farms Where You Can Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show - moonshine festival georgia
Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show

28. Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show

(Dawsonville GA, October 27-29)

Dawsonville is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia 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 56th annual Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show is a must-see for fans of classic cars.

The festivities begin on Friday, October 27 at 8 AM, with a car show and swap meet.

At 10:00 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 continue with a parade that marches through town at 9 AM. The festivities conclude after the final day of fun on Sunday.

READ MORE: The 25 Best North Georgia Waterfalls (& How to Get to Them)

Appalachian Brew Stew and Que Festival - beer festival georgia
Photo courtesy of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

29. Appalachian Brew, Stew & Que Festival

(Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA, October 21)

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 60 breweries offering unlimited tastings, including Akademia Brewing, Golda Kombucha, 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 Scotty McCreery and many other bands and singer-songwriters.

You’ll 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!  

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Blairsville GA for Foodies

Dancing Goats Folk Fest - festivals in ellijay ga
Dancing Goats Folk Fest

30. Dancing Goats Folk Fest

(Ellijay GA, October 28-29)

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 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!

READ MORE: The Top 10 Treehouse Rentals in the Georgia Mountains

by Christina Maggitas; with additional reporting by Chloe Burgette, lead photo via Canva

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since visiting the Great Smoky Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking in North Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling, with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Christina studied Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University, and now works as the Travel Editor for US News & World Report.