Trip Ideas

Fairs with All the Fixins: Georgia's Tastiest Food Festivals

Eat, drink and be merry at these celebrations of Georgia foods.

  • Georgia Belle Peach Festival

If there is one universal truth about the South, it’s that we love food — really, really love food. You would be hard-pressed to find any time of year without a flavor-focused festival. Here are just a few festivals that showcase Georgia's local specialties. If you leave hungry, you have only yourself to blame.

  • Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee (Brunswick, January)

    Take in the seaport town of Brunswick and its charming waterfront park as it hosts a music-infused jubilee and cook-off honoring the classic stew that shares its name. At the Brunswick Rockin' Stewbilee, sample renditions of the Southern staple known for its tomato base and hearty mix of beans, corn, okra, and meats.

  • Athens Wine Weekend (Athens, February)

    Whether you’re a master quaffer or casual sipper, you’re invited to drink in three days of programming devoted to wines from around the world, including those from Georgia vines. During Athens Wine Weekend, toast your fellow imbibers over an amuse-bouche on opening night, then compare notes on sparkling wines at Sunday’s farewell brunch.
  • Chocolate Walk (Braselton, February)

    If you want to talk the chocolate talk, you’ve got to walk the Chocolate Walk in downtown Braselton. Merchants, artisans, and salons welcome visitors with take-away confections and other treats. Local restaurants cater to the crowds, too. Godiva chocolate martinis, anyone?

  • Peanut Proud Festival (Blakely, March)

    Party with peanut farmers and the South Georgia folks who support them at the Peanut Proud Festival in March. Come early for the parade, stay late for performances by country music headliners such as Tracy Lawrence. Besides jars of peanut butter, souvenir must-haves include a Peanut Proud T-shirt. 

  • Southeastern Chuck Wagon Cook-Off (Cartersville, March)

    As part of the Southeastern Cowboy Gathering at the Booth Western Art Museum, cooking teams prepare five dishes (meat, potatoes, beans, bread, and dessert) just as they did on the cattle drives of the 1800s. Lunch is served at high noon, pardner.
  • Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival (Tifton, March)

    Live bands, ice-cold brews, chili cheese fries, and heaping rib plates. We call that fall-off-the-bone fun. Sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association, Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival brings together festivalgoers and professional and backyard competitors for a smoky assembly of brotherly love in Fulwood Park.

  • Vidalia Onion Festival (Vidalia, April)

    "Yumion," the festival mascot dressed in overalls, recently appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Granted, it was via the tweet hashtag #MyHometownIsWeird, but even the late-night host chimed in, "It’s a good onion." Celebrate it at the Vidalia Onion Festival by sampling onion recipes of all kinds.

  • Georgia Strawberry Festival (Reynolds, April)

    You’ll find a hull (wink, wink) lotta family fun and community spirit at the Georgia Strawberry Festival: 5K run, parades, gospel concert, and picnic-friendly fare, including barbecue chicken, burgers, and dogs. Strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, and strawberry salsa are the stars of the show, but be sure to make time for the weenie dog race.

  • Morven Peach Festival (Morven, May)

    You'll find baskets of fresh peaches and some 80 vendors sitting pretty beneath the tall pines at Ernest Lawson Park for the Morven Peach Festival. Enter the peach bake-off, roam the arts and crafts tents, or just eat your way from booth to booth. Where else can you follow alligator kebabs with peach ice cream?

  • Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Music Festival (Evans, May)

    No regular Joe, Joe Pond was a beloved, bigger-than-life character in the Augusta area, devoted to his family, community, barbecue, and bluegrass. Now the community celebrates his legacy with Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que Music Festival, a top-rate extravaganza over Memorial Day Weekend in the suburb of Evans. Wear your favorite Western button-down shirt in his honor. Camping is an option.

  • Winefest at Habersham Vineyards & Winery (Helen, May)

    Wineries from around the state and nearby regions converge at Habersham Vineyards & Winery with their best offerings for an afternoon of entertainment, food, and plenty of tasting for oenophiles. Sip and swirl while listening to rock, folk, alternative, country and other musical genres. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door.

  • Roman Roast on the River (Rome, May)

    Cooking teams hunker down at Ridge Ferry Park to battle for championship titles in the Roman Roast on the River sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Fill up on smoky wings along the banks of the Oostanaula River before checking out the awards winners for King of the Wings and the Pit Masters competition for kids.

  • Georgia Blueberry Festival (Alma, June)

    Georgia leads the country in blueberry production, with Bacon County smack-dab in the center of the action. The patriotic-themed Georgia Blueberry Festival in Alma presents a blue streak of activities: parade, cooking contests, music, kiddie rides and games, plus vendors from near and far. 

  • Georgia Peach Festival (Peach County, June)

    The Georgia Peach Festival splits events between two weekends and two cities in Peach County: Byron and Fort Valley. Take a selfie with Miss Georgia Peach, and then take a colossal bite out of the World’s Largest Peach Cobbler.

  • Georgia Wine Country Festival (Dahlonega, June)

    Every Saturday and Sunday in June, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery invites winemakers and wine lovers to sip and stroll in the garden, take in artwork and live music, and sample barbecue and even Georgia microbrews. Raise a glass to magnificent vistas, too.
  • Watermelon Days Festival (Cordele, June)

    Welcome to Cordele, the Watermelon Capital of the World! Are you ready for the watermelon horseshoe tournament? Seed-spitting competition? Watermelon-decorating contest? Any way you slice it, there is plenty of mouth-watering summer fun to go around. 

  • Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival (Atlanta, July)

    The Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival gets more popular every year, with a raucous bunch of foodies winding their way through the gourmet samplings in Westside Provisions District. Keep your companion and a cool drink close as you enjoy bands on stage and tasty bites and beverages from the city’s high-profile chefs and mixologists.

  • Brooklet Peanut Festival (Brooklet, August)

    Just east of Statesboro, the small town of Brooklet goes nutty every year honoring the area's powerhouse crop. Festivities start early with a peanut run and parade, then it's time for food booths, cook-offs, tractor races and live entertainment. 
  • Classic City BBQ Festival (Athens, August)

    Follow the smell of smoke to this festival in Athens sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society — a really big deal on the competitive barbecue circuit. Grab some barbecue and craft beer, and watch amateurs and professionals battle it out for top honors. 

  • Annual Tomato Festival at Crane Creek Vineyards (Young Harris, August)

    Come to Crane Creek Vineyards to celebrate another fruit of the vine — the tomato. Admission includes food, wine and a plethora of tomato-centric creations. Enjoy music and hayrides, or join the kids at the art tent or fishing rodeo.
  • Georgia Belle Peach Festival (Alto, August)

    A bushel or a peck, you can never have too many peaches in these parts. The bucolic setting at Jaemor Farms is a lovely spot to while away an afternoon and partake of sweet creations made from the harvest. Sweet dairy cream and hayrides are peachy perks, too.

  • Plains Peanut Festival (Plains, September)

    Plains is famously home to Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and humble peanut farmer. Visitors descend on the town annually to celebrate its high-profile crop and glimpse its most notable citizen.
  • Blues, Brews & BBQ (Hinesville, September)

    This swirl of smoke, fire, and friendly competition offers ample barbecue for pigging out, plus chilled beer and frozen drinks to wash it all down. Performances from blues musicians go down smooth, too, at the 15th Annual Blues, Brews & BBQ. While grown folks play, kids kick it at the giant slide and games area.

  • Southern Grown Festival (Sea Island, September)

    Exquisite Sea Island is the refined setting for a celebration of all things Southern. The multi-day program includes celebrity chefs and mixologists, culinary instructional sessions, and musical entertainment to round out a weekend of barbecue, bourbon, seafood, and revelry. 

  • Haralson County’s Fried Pie Festival (Buchanan, September)

    Who can resist fried pies? No one filling this event, that’s for sure. Crowds pack the Haralson County Fried Pie Festival cook-off site to sample sweet and savory pies like apple, chocolate cream, pecan and Cajun meat. There’s plenty to take home, too. And that buzzing you hear? That’s the call to go see the chainsaw carving demo.
  • Tennille BBQ Blast (Tennille, September)

    Barbecue teams from around Georgia gather in this town about an hour east of Macon to compete for cash prizes at the Tennille BBQ Blast. Ease into the small-town vibe at the Friday night street dance. On Saturday, enjoy ’cue favorites (ribs, wings, sausage), music, merchants, and the sight of kiddie abandon on bouncy playthings.

  • Oktoberfest (Helen, September & October)

    Show off your mastery of the chicken dance then bite into a bratwurst and sip some beer at the 47th Annual Oktoberfest, an annual fall shindig in Alpine Helen. Lederhosen is optional. 

  • Annual Rock Shrimp Festival (St. Marys, October)

    The local specialty may be known for its hard shell, but festival mascot "Rocky" is a soft touch, greeting visitors who come to St. Marys for the parade, artisan vendors, entertainment and sweet-tasting rock shrimp. Pre-purchase Rock Shrimp Dinner tickets at the welcome center.
  • Brooks County Skillet Festival (Quitman, October)

    The question isn't "Who wants to see how far they can toss a cast-iron skillet?" It's "Who doesn't?" Besides the skillet-throwing contest at the Brooks County Skillet Festival, there's a cast iron chef competition and loads of other heavy-bottomed amusements in Quitman.
  • Georgia Apple Festival (Ellijay, October)

    Here in the Appalachian foothills, farmers swear the cool mountain nights make for the best-tasting, crispest apples. Fill your bags with Winesap and other beauties to take home. At the fairgrounds in Ellijay, fill up on apple treats, handmade crafts, cloggers and country music.

  • Georgia Peanut Festival (Sylvester, October)

    Fact: Every jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter is made in Sylvester, Georgia. Come revel with local farmers and savor their “peanuts worth digging.” Besides endless PB&Js and festival fare, you’ll find a winning brass band, arts and crafts, and a Kidz Korner. 
  • Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival (Richmond Hill, October)

    You thought Forrest Gump's friend Bubba could talk about ways to cook shrimp. The Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival serves up a variety of coastal seafood prepared in every conceivable way. Boy Scouts will get you fixed up, too, with kettle corn and peach cobbler. Another lure: big-name music headliners each year. 

  • Hahira Honeybee Festival (Hahira, October)

    The Georgia Department of Agriculture reports nearly one-third of our food is the direct result of pollination, so honeybees are vital to this region. At the Hahira Honeybee Festival, meet beekeepers, peek at hives, watch honey being spun, and get a taste of honey varietals like Cotton and Gallberry.
  • Sweet Potato Festival (Ocilla, October)

    Since 1960, locals have promoted the region's sweet potato farmers with the Sweet Potato Festival, a daylong celebration in Ocilla. Pre-parade, march over to the sweet potato cooking contest. You’ll find entries for everything from pies and cakes to soufflés and ice cream. 
  • The Real Squeal BBQ & Music Festival (Lyons, October)

    Beer, barbecue, beauty queens, booming fireworks — that's what we like about the South. The two-day event in Lyons features three barbecue contests (backyard, professional, and sauce), plus bands, a 5K and Hog Jog, classic cars and chainsaw carving. Local students even compete in the Pig Tales writing competition.

  • Black Pot Cookin’ (Jefferson, October)

    Help stoke the wood fires and experience farm life along with hearty fare (chicken and dumplings, cobbler and more) at Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm, which dates back to 1799. Work it off touring the grist-mill, cotton gin and blacksmith shop.
  • Kingsland Catfish Festival (Kingsland, November)

    Crispy Southern-fried catfish and all the fixings — grits, hush puppies, coleslaw, and plenty of sweet tea — that's reason enough to pack up and go to Kingsland for the Catfish Festival. The parades, specialty crafts and musical performances? That’s just gravy.
  • Big Pig Jig (Vienna, November)

    Nope, it’s not a dance, but a chance to watch barbecue champions compete in Vienna. Share a funnel cake and bet who wins the trophy for most succulent pig. It's been recognized many times over as one of America’s best festivals. 

  • Chicken Livers and Gizzards Festival (Broxton, November)

    This festival is "big doins" in Broxton, home to poultry farmers and seasoned country cooks in the Magnolia Midlands region. Which competitor will strut their poultry pride enough to win best chicken livers or gizzards recipe? Find out, and enjoy good eats, music, arts and crafts, and small-town Southern fun.

  • Peach State Chili Cookoff (Suwanee, November)

    This is the place for chili fanatics to fill up on samples from more than 50 competitors. The kid-friendly Peach State Chili Cookoff, held in Town Center Park, helps support The Gift of Adoption Fund and is the International Chili Society Georgia State Championship.

  • Sugar Cane Festival (Twin City, November)

    With its beautiful cypress trees, George L. Smith State Park is a tranquil spot to learn about the area’s sugar cane history and syrup production. A hot biscuit drizzled with the stuff is pretty sweet, too. Artists, crafters, musicians, and food vendors are also on hand.

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