Barbecue ribs

Sample some of the best barbecue in the Southeast at the Big Pig Jig in November.

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.

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 the Fire Ant 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. Learn about reptiles, watch BMX stunts and join the dancing at night. There is a vintage car cruise in, bands, kids section and even fireworks!

Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival. Photo by @atlantagrilledcheese

Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival

Join fellow cheese lovers at the Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival in September and indulge in an afternoon of melty, cheesy goodness served by restaurants from all over the city. While tasting samples, listen to live music, play games, and relax with a beer or cocktail in the Bloody Mary Garden. Vote for your favorite grilled cheese creation, and see who will be crowned "Best Grilled Cheese" in Atlanta!

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, held this year in September along with Sunday in the Park, always features a roster of impressive Georgia- and Southern-based musicians.

Mountain Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, Georgia

Mountain Moonshine Festival, Dawsonville

Be sure to visit Dawsonville the weekend before Halloween for the Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, featuring a parade of authentic moonshine-hauling cars and revenue cars, a swap meet, entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and tours of the Dawsonville Distillery. Meet legendary race car drivers, see vintage race cars and more authentic moonshine-hauling cars than you’ll ever see gathered in one place anywhere in the country.

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.

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 to the Possum Drop for a full day of activities, including a Possum Day Parade, Kids Zone, live bands, concessions and even a Possum King and Queen!

Published: July 2021
Written by: Sue Rodman