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!
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.
Ellijay Apple Festival Info
ADDRESS: Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, 1729 S Main St, Ellijay GA, 30540
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
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM ELLIJAY GA
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.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM BLUE RIDGE GA
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.
Fun Things to Do at the Georgia Apple Festival
1. Buy Apples (and Tasty Apple Treats)
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!
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!
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!
4. Ride the Children’s Train
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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