Mark your calendar for these unique events taking place across North Georgia this season
Cooler weather and changing leaves bring numerous opportunities for fall fun—football, bonfires, pumpkin carving, and, of course, festivals. Maybe you are thinking of apple festivals and Halloween festivals, but what about festivals that include bonsai, bacon, British cars, mushrooms, and granite? Read on for some of the more unique north Georgia festivals to keep you busy this season.
The Georgia Mushroom Festival – Cave Spring
Over 8,000 people are expected for the sixth annual Georgia Mushroom Festival being held September 29 through October 1 in Cave Spring. Mushroom experts, called mycologists, and mushroom enthusiasts will gather to network, learn, and celebrate everything about America’s favorite fungi.
In Rolater Park in the center of Cave Spring, the Georgia Mushroom Festival’s Mushroom Village will host a variety of events. Over 150 vendors will sell photographs, glasswork, mushroom art, mushroom jewelry, crocheted products, metal art, tie-dye clothing, and other unique items. Mushroom growers and foragers will be offering their seasonal and dried mushrooms, grow bags, inoculated logs and other mushroom growing supplies. The usual festival food such as pork skins, ice cream, nut butters, and honey will be available along with mushroom coffees, salt mixes, botanical elixirs, and special dishes made with mushrooms.
Throughout the weekend, experts including authors, researchers, biologists and professors from all over the United States will lead demonstrations and seminars. Topics will include cultivating mushrooms, foraging for mushrooms, the relationship of trees and mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms, dyeing with mushrooms, the use of mushrooms in the treatment of mental health issues, and others.
Expert guides will be on hand for hands-on mushroom foraging walks Friday and Saturday. In the evenings, mycologist Alan Rockefeller will show participants how to use UV flashlights to find fluorescent mushrooms.
If vendors, seminars, and demonstrations aren’t enough, just up the road at the Big Cedar Festival Grounds, even more festival activities will take place. This 14-acre field has plenty of space for camping and The Magic Mushroom Music Jam. Both Friday and Saturday, more than 16 bands will perform a variety of music including bluegrass, folk and southern rock. This location will also host healing arts professionals specializing in yoga, reiki, chiropractic care and massage. For more information go to georgiamushroomfestival.com
Atlanta British Car Fayre – Norcross
Where in the southeast can you see more than 300 British automobiles and motorcycles? The answer is the 22nd annual Atlanta British Car Fayre held in Norcross on September 9. In addition to this year’s featured manufacturer, the MG, many other car brands will be on display including Mini, Austin Healey, Jaguar, Morgan, Morris, McLaren, and Land Rover.
This year’s fair also features a boot sale. No, they won’t be selling shoes. This “boot” is the British word for the back or trunk of a car. A boot sale is the British version of a yard sale except people sell all varieties of items out of the backs of their cars.
The Car Fayre takes place at One Heart Church and Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church and benefits the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries, an organization providing emergency assistance to area families. For more information, visit atlantabritishcarfayre.com
Japanfest – Duluth
What about a fall festival where you can immerse yourself in the culture of another country? The Japanfest, being held September 16 – 17 in Duluth, offers that opportunity.
Japanfest will include exhibitions, demonstrations, and many hands-on experiences. At the JBIG exhibition, approximately 550 Japanese businesses based in Georgia will display and demonstrate their products. The Matsuriza Drum Group, which mixes traditional Japanese folk music with modern jazz and classical music, will perform twice each day. Hands-on experiences will include bonsai, Ikebana, Amezaiku, classical Japanese dance, the Shamisen, tea ceremonies, and Zazen. Athletes will demonstrate traditional Japanese sports including Taido, Sumo, Kendo, Karate, Shinkendo and Ninjutsu. To complete the festival experience, food vendors will sell Japanese street food such as Yakisoba, Ramen, and Takoyaki as well as desserts such as Matha Swiss Rolls and Hokkaido Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes. For more information, visit japanfest.org
Ellijay Bacon Fest – Ellijay
There’s nothing like the smell of bacon on a cool fall morning! On September 24, Ellijay, will celebrate bacon with the slogan “I dig the pig!” This 2nd annual fall festival benefits the Gilmer Community Food Pantry and includes live music, an arts and crafts fair, games and food vendors with bacon-themed dishes. For more information, visit facebook.com/ellijaybaconfestival
Georgia Marble Festival – Jasper
The 41annual Georgia Marble Festival will take place October 7 – 8 at Lee Newton Park in Jasper. A parade, 5k road race, arts and crafts vendors, and music are all a part of this celebration. Live demonstrations will include granite sculpting, pottery making and chainsaw carving.
On Saturday, tours will be conducted of several historical sites and the world’s largest open pit marble quarry. Quarry tour tickets can be purchased in advance on the festival’s website. For more information, visit pickenschamber.com/marble-festival
Euharlee Covered Bridge Festival – Euharlee (near Cartersville)
The Euharlee Covered Bridge, built in 1886, is one of the oldest remaining covered bridges in Georgia. On October 14, this community will celebrate the bridge and the farming roots that remain strong today in the churches and organizations that have been active in this area since the 1800s. Arts and crafts and food vendors will be on hand. Face painting, hair braiding, yard games, hayrides, a haunted house, and an entertainment stage are also a part of this festival that has been taking place for almost 20 years. For more information, visit facebook.com/EuharleeCoveredBridgeFallFestival
Blairsville Sorghum Festival – Blairsville
Sorghum, or broomcorn, was brought to America in the 1850s and was cultivated to create syrup, flour, and a type of popcorn. In the 1850s, it was critical to the survival of many farms in north Georgia. Today, the 54th Annual Sorghum Festival keeps alive the history and traditions of Sorghum farming.
This year’s festival, October 14 – 15 and 21 – 22, will include demonstrations of Sorghum syrup making and a variety of vendors offering arts, crafts and food. Games such as log sawing, pole climbing, rock throwing, biscuit-eating, and hatchet throwing will also be featured. For more information, visit blairsvillesorghumfestival.com
Chiaha Harvest Fair – Rome
The Chiaha Harvest Fair was started almost 60 years ago to recognize the skills of local craftsmen. Funds raised from this fair, held October 28 – 29, will be used for scholarships and community art projects.
At the fair’s location at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, you will find a variety of vendors, many of whom will be competing for awards for excellence in arts and crafts work. Southern home cooking, fried peach and apple pies, ribbon fries, lace cakes, Cajun dishes, fudge, homemade cookies, fried pickles, caramel apples are just a few of the many food items that will also be offered. For more information, visit chiaha.org
Just outside of Alpharetta sits the town of Milton and the host for the annual Crabapple Festival. On October 7, you and your leashed four-legged friends are invited to shop with more than 100 antique and art vendors selling their one-of-a-kind items. Food vendors will also be available, and football will be shown on the big screen. For more information, visit miltonga.gov/residents/annual-city-events/crabapple-fest
Mountain Music Day Festival – Blairsville
Vogel State Park will be hosting its annual Mountain Music Day Festival on September 16. Musicians will perform from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Pavilion overlooking Lake Trahlyta. A porch pickin’ jam will take place near the many arts and crafts vendors. A wide variety of food trucks will be on hand for lunch and dinner and volunteers will be selling desserts. The CCC Museum will also be open all day for touring. For more information, visit gastateparks.org/Vogel.
Sidebar: Farther-out Fall Festivals
Ready for a road trip? Mark your calendar for these unique experiences across the state.
Inman Farm Heritage Days – September 15 – 17, Fayetteville
A display of hundreds of antique tractors, trucks, and cars along with demonstrations of threshing, sawmilling, syrup making, moonshining, blacksmithing, broom making, and gunsmithing. mintersfarm.com/
Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration – September 16 – 17, Macon
Native American arts and crafts vendors, demonstrations of music and dance, mound tours, and food vendors. ocmulgeemounds.org/ocmulgee-indigenous-celebration
Barnesville Buggy Days – September 16 – 17, Barnesville
Arts and crafts and food vendors and unique events such as wagon pulling, hog calling, and a fiddle contest. facebook.com/buggydaysfestival
Buckhead Fine Arts Festival – September 16 – 17, Atlanta
Over 100 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork and glass artists, and jewelers. buckheadartsfestival.com
Atlanta Greek Festival – September 22 – 24, Atlanta
Authentic Greek food and beverages, dance demonstrations, and cathedral tours and lectures. atlantagreekfestival.org
Oliver Hardy Festival – October 7, Harlem
A celebration of the comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy, in the birthplace of Oliver Hardy.
The Great Ogeecee Seafood Festival – October 20 – 22, Richmond Hill
The largest seafood festival in the southeast with fresh seafood, live music, local dancers, arts and crafts vendors, and amusement rides. goseafoodfestival.com