Fall Fun at the Ellijay Apple Festival (aka Georgia Apple Festival)

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We’ve been empty nesters for a few years now. But family-friendly fairs and festivals are still one of our favorite ways to celebrate the arrival of Autumn

Our home state of Georgia can get miserably hot and humid during the dog days of summer. But Fall brings cooler temperatures, lots of fun outdoor activities, and vivid Fall foliage

We love exploring corn mazes, going on hayrides, and roasting marshmallows over an open fire. But our favorite Fall activity is apple picking in Ellijay GA, which is less than 45 minutes from our house!

There are a whopping 9 apple orchards in Ellijay (plus one in the neighboring small town of Jasper GA), which is widely known as “the Apple Capital of Georgia.” 

Ellijay is also home to the largest apple harvest festival in Georgia. The Ellijay Apple Festival (officially known as the Georgia Apple Festival) is a huge 4-day event that is attended by more than 50,000 people each year. 

Now in its 51st year, the 2023 Ellijay apple festival will be held at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Ellijay on two weekends, Oct 14-15 and Oct 21-22. 

Read on for our in-depth guide to this beloved apple festival in Ellijay GA, including info on ticket prices, parking, driving directions, and the best things to do at the festival. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Ellijay GA & Gilmer County

Fresh-picked Apples at the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Fresh-picked Apples at the Georgia Apple Festival

Ellijay Apple Festival Info

ADDRESS: Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, 1729 S Main St, Ellijay GA, 30540

PHONE: 706-636-4500

2023 GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL DATES: Oct 14-15 and 21-22

HOURS: Saturdays 9AM-6PM, Sundays 9AM-5PM

PRICES: General admission $10, children ages 12 & under get in free

PARKING INFO: Limited parking at the fairgrounds, but nearby schools have lots and shuttle buses




From Downtown Ellijay, head southwest on N Dalton St to S Main St/Old Hwy 5. Follow that for 1.7 miles, and the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds will be on your left.


From Downtown Blue Ridge GA, take US-76 W for 14.3 miles, then turn right onto 1st Avenue. Go 266 feet, then turn left onto US-76 W/US-76 Truck W/Industrial Blvd.

After you pass by the Hardee’s on the left (approximately 1.2 miles), get in the left 2 lanes to turn onto S Main St/Old Hwy 5. 

Follow that for 0.7 miles and you’ll see the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds on your left.

READ MORE: The 30 Best Fall Fairs and Festivals in Georgia


Fun Things to Do at the Georgia Apple Festival 

Candied Apples at the 2022 Ellijay Apple Festival in Ellijay Georgia
Candied Apples at the 2022 Ellijay Apple Festival

1. Buy Apples (and Tasty Apple Treats)

If you don’t have time for apple picking at the various apple orchards in Ellijay, the festival is a great place to pick up a peck (or two ) of your favorite apple varieties at a great price. 

The 2022 GA Apple Festival featured an entire booth filled with peck (approximately 10 pounds) and half-peck bags of popular apples such as Fuji, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, and more. 

But the festival also features vendors selling all sorts of apple treats, from fresh-pressed apple cider and apple donuts to candied apples to caramel apples.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the chance to try some Fried Apple Pies, one of our favorite traditional Appalachian treats!

READ MORE: Apple Picking in Georgia: The 14 Best GA Apple Orchards to Visit

Camel rides at the Ellijay Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Camel rides at the Ellijay Apple Festival

2. Ride Camels and Ponies

Mary and I had an incredible experience riding camels through the Wadi Rum Desert of Jordan at sunrise back in 2012.

But if you want to try riding a camel without having to fly 6,460 miles, the apple festival in Ellijay offers visitors that opportunity!

Camel rides cost around $10, and circle an open area in a relatively quiet corner of the Ellijay fairgrounds.

They also offer pony rides, which are lots of fun for little kids who may be intimidated by the massive camels. It’s also an affordable way to introduce them to horseback riding!

READ MORE: Fall in the Mountains of North Georgia: 25 Places to See Fall Colors

3. Shop From Local Vendors

The largest apple festival in Georgia attracts more than 250 vendors each year, which makes it a great place for anyone who has the shop-til-you-drop mindset. 

You’ll find an extensive array of handmade arts and crafts, including jewelry, pottery, nature photography, woodworking, woven baskets, and eye-catching yard art. 

Some of our favorite booths offered gorgeous laser-carved foam pumpkins, homemade soaps and candles, guitars painted in vivid colors, and whimsical seasonal decor.

There are also plenty of places to get packaged food products, such as jellies, jams, roasted nuts, and more. So it’s a great chance to do some early Christmas shopping!

READ MORE: The 24 Best Pumpkin Patches in Georgia to Visit

Children's Train rides at the Georgia Apple Festival, Ellijay GA
Train Rides through the festival grounds

4. Ride the Children’s Train 

From Stone Mountain and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to the Polar Express Christmas train in Bryson City NC, we’re huge fans of riding the rails. 

Perhaps it’s because both of us have been taking train rides ever since we were little kids.

If you’ve got little Thomas the Tank Engine fans, they’ll love the children’s train at the apple festival in Ellijay. 

For a $5 ticket, the train takes visitors all around the festival grounds, including crossing a small wooden bridge over a creek and cutting right through the heart of all the action!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Train Rides in Georgia & Georgia Railways Museums

Pie Shack at the North Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Food Vendors at the largest Apple Festival in GA

5. Sample Festival Food

This is the largest apple festival in GA, so it should come as no surprise that the Georgia Apple Festival attracts more than 35 different food vendors every year. 

In fact, this ever-popular North Georgia event is arguably one of the better food festivals in Georgia!

There are myriad types of cuisines represented here, including everything from BBQ and pizza restaurants to Greek food, boiled peanuts, and roasted corn.

If you get an afternoon sugar craving, you’ll also find sweet treats ranging from fried apple pies and fried Oreos to ice cream, fudge, and candied nuts.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Fall Fairs in Georgia to Visit

Climbing Wall at the North Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Kids Conquer the Climbing Wall

6. Kids Play Area

We’ve already discussed several of the most popular things to do for kids at this North Georgia apple festival.

But there’s also an entire Kids Play Area we haven’t even touched on yet!

The most eye-catching element here is a rock climbing wall, which gives kids a chance to strap into a safety harness and attempt to scale the 30-foot-wall for a nominal fee. 

But they also have giant inflatable slides, a bouncy house, and several other fun features that will allow them to burn off some of that sugar-fueled energy. 

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

Concert Stage at the Ellijay Apple Festival in North Georgia
Concert Stage at the Ellijay Apple Festival

7. Live Music Pavilion

What is a festival without live music

Whether you prefer pop, country, rock, or bluegrass, the apple festival in Ellijay offers an array of local performers whose music is sure to please listeners of almost any taste. 

Even when there are no live performers on stage, the covered pavilion offers ample seating, a break from the brutal midday sun, and a chance to peruse additional vendors in the shade. 

The 2023 Georgia Apple Festival lineup had not been announced as of our deadline, but you can check their website or Facebook page for additional info. 

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

Selfie Station at the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay GA
Snapping selfies at the Georgia Apple Festival

8. Georgia Apple Festival Selfie Station

Souvenirs are a wonderful keepsake to help you remember your family’s fun day at this Fall festival. 

But in our experience, photos are the very best way to document those memories, and the GA Apple Festival offers a sensational selfie station for that purpose. 

There are hay bales to sit on, backed by a giant apple and flanked by pumpkins, scarecrows, and ears of Indian corn. 

And if you don’t have a selfie stick, there are almost certain to be other families waiting in line who’d be happy to help take your picture (especially if you return the favor)!  –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

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!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.