Tybee Island Pirate Fest

Tybee Island Pirate Fest, Oct. 4-7, 2018

10 Unusual Georgia Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

The rich fabric of a community reveals itself in the festivals hosted there. Whether it’s a celebration of a unique animal from the area, or a beautiful indigenous flower, or something totally different, you can tell a lot about a community during the spring or fall festivals. Here are some unique Georgia soirees you don’t want to miss.

Big Pig Jig road sign in Vienna, Georgia

The Big Pig Jig, Vienna

The Big Pig Jig is set around the Southeast’s largest and Georgia’s oldest official barbecue cooking contest in Vienna. Held in November, the festivities begin on Friday night when cook teams start their fires. Gates open for participants to enjoy children's activities, arts and crafts, food and concerts. Saturday is the barbecue judging with winners announced that evening.

VIP Bed Race in Columbus, Georgia

VIP Bed Race, Columbus

What better way to raise money and awareness of homeless families than a bed race competition? Valley Interfaith Promise (VIP) provides temporary shelter, meals and support to homeless families in Columbus. The community comes together the last Saturday in February to support their mission by designing and building beds on wheels to race each other down a 150-yard course. You can only imagine the hilarity. Awards are given for fastest bed, best theme, team spirit and crowd's choice.

Fire Ant Festival in Ashburn, Georgia

Fire Ant Festival, Ashburn

This wacky festival held the fourth weekend in March includes your standard festival activities and treats, but you can also get lost in a giant fire ant maze or participate in the fire ant calling contest. What exactly do you think a fire ant sounds like? Find out at this festival.
Southeastern Reptile Rescue at SwampFest in Waycross, Georgia

SwampFest, Waycross

SwampFest in Waycross is one weekend party in April you don’t want to miss. There is a vintage car cruise in, bands, kids section and even fireworks! But what caught my eye was the Dilly Bar and burger eating contest, as well as the Coca-Cola chug. They should add a belching contest.

Tunes from the Tombs in Oakland Cemetery

Tunes from the Tombs, Atlanta

The site for the unusual Tunes from the Tombs music festival is a cemetery. Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Atlanta’s most notable residents, such as Maynard Jackson, Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones, but don’t wait until you’ve departed this world to visit, or you’ll miss out. Tunes from the Tombs is held in each summer in June and always features a roster of impressive Georgia- and Southern-based musicians.

Tybee Island Pirate Fest

Pirate Fest, Tybee Island

What better place to celebrate pirates than on the Georgia coast? Pirate Fest is held each October on Tybee Island. Dress the part with a visit to the Thieves and Gypsies Market, where you can transform from a mild-mannered tourist to a swashbuckling pirate. Don’t miss the Pirate Parade held on Saturday. The family-friendly street party includes lots of dancing and, of course, treasure.

Chicken Livers & Gizzards Festival in Broxton, Georgia

Chicken Livers & Gizzards Festival, Broxton

About an hour east of Tifton, Georgia, is the tiny town of Broxton, known for its sandstone formation called Broxton Rocks. Well, that and the Chicken Livers & Gizzards Festival. Held the first Saturday in November, the festival is free and a chance to enjoy small-town fun. The event kicks off with a parade followed by a good old-fashioned street festival. When planning your trip, be sure to arrange a tour of the Broxton Rocks Preserve.

Some of Georgia's most unusual festivals center around New Year's Eve and the countdown to Midnight. Here are a few festivals with unique "ball drops."

Geranium Drop in McDonough on New Year's Eve

Geranium Drop, McDonough

Celebrate the New Year in McDonough with dancing and a free family-friendly celebration on the historic downtown McDonough square. The free event ends with a giant geranium dropped. The geranium is made of lots and lots of lights. An all-new geranium debuted for the 2017 drop.

Buzzard drop in Perry, Georgia

The Buzzard Drop, Perry

Bob the Buzzard was somewhere North of the Mason-Dixon Line, freezing his “feathers” off, when he suddenly decided there had to be a better life. He settled in Perry, Georgia, and now Bob and his friends are as much a part of the landscape in Perry as the Clock Tower at the Fairgrounds. In honor of the Buzzard’s return, Perry residents gather each New Year’s Eve to celebrate their brave trek with a New Year’s Eve celebration and Buzzard drop.

Possum drop in Tallapoosa, Georgia

Possum Drop, Tallapoosa

About 45 minutes west of Atlanta on I-20, you’ll find the town of Tallapoosa, formerly known as Possum Snout. Tallapoosa rings in the New Year by dropping a stuffed possum named Spencer. Come early, there is a full day of activities, including a Possum Day Parade, Kids Zone, live bands, concessions and even a Possum King and Queen!

Published: October 2018
Written by: Sue Rodman