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Festivals & seasonal events for Georgia families

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit JulieKraut.com for more.




Festive fun

Georgia is home to many festivals and seasonal activities. These events are wonderful opportunities to get familiar with state history, culture and art. Take a look at the activities we found below and ask at hotels, visitor’s centers and restaurants for recommendations of festivals. You never know what celebrations could be on the docket to give you a unique taste of local flare.

Georgia

APRIL/MAY: Georgia Frontier Days

Celebrate the days when Georgia was the western frontier of the United States by taking a trip back to those times. Live demonstrations of cooking, medical equipment and horseback riding harken back to the pre-Revolutionary era, pioneer times and the Civil War. You'll learn about the initial discovery of the land of Georgia, the founding of the state and the Cherokee and Creek population native to the area at this annual event. Regional music will provide the soundtrack to what is sure to be an enjoyably educational day. This event takes place at Stone Mountain Park, which is an attraction in and of itself. Don't be afraid to take a little time to explore the 5 square mile park when you need a break from frontier history.

1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. Hours: See website. Admission: $10

April-June: Georgia Renaissance Festival

Attending the Georgia Renaissance Festival means stepping back in time into 16th-century Europe. The experience is enchanting and with 10 stages of music and comedy performances, it's entertaining too! In addition to the shows, there are educational demonstrations of period crafts like weaving and glass blowing. You can eat like royalty at the festival and then walk off the calories perusing the crafts and wares on sale. The main event is the jousting tournament, but really, everything from the period cottages to the costumes of other festival goers is charming.

6905 Virlyn B Smith Rd, Fairburn, GA 30213-3929. Hours: See website. Admission: Adults: $19.95; seniors: $17.95; children age 6-12: $8.95; children 5 and under free

April-October: First Friday Art Walk

When it gets warm, Marietta likes to celebrate by showcasing local artists the first Friday of every month. Rain or shine, artisan pieces will be on display for purchase and browsing. The evening is self-guided, so you can move at your own pace through the boutiques and galleries. Consider starting at Artists' Alley, the hub of the evening, to check out the juried exhibit on display and pick up a map detailing which artists are on the Art Walk. Along the way, you'll find plenty of places to stop for a bite or a beverage as well, so come early and make an evening of it.

4 Depot St., Marietta, GA 30060. Hours: First Friday of each month April-October: 6pm-9pm. Admission: Free.

JUNE: Annual Midsummer Music Fest

The Annual Midsummer Music Fest is an event put on by the local radio station 790 the Zone. The event is free, but wristbands that allow you to drink on premises do cost $5. Held at Candler Park, past musical guests have included Rusted Root and Guster. This year the headliners are The Wailers and Better Than Ezra. Music from other bands will be blasting all day though. There is a 5K road race in the morning and 790 The Zone will be donating $5,000 to the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization.

1400 McLendon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. Hours: See website. Admission: Free

JULY: Buzz in the Blue Ridge Chainsaw Carving Extravaganza

This event is described as a combination of the speed and sound of Motor-cross with the skill and accuracy of a brain surgeon. If that pitch doesn't entice you, we don't know what will. Fifteen top chainsaw artists from Georgia and around the country put their carving prowess to the test. The winner from this regional competition will go on to compete in the nationals, so a lot is on the line for these masters of the chainsaw. This event is sure to be loud, fun and allergy triggering.

7025 South Main Street, Helen, GA 30545-3615. Hours: Check website. Admission: Adults: $2; children 12 and under free.

September: Lake Oconee BBQ and Blues Festival

This annual festival takes place on a weekend in September and showcases some of the best BBQ and blues the state of Georgia has to offer. The event is only two years old, but it attracts some of the finest cooks, crafters, musicians, and food vendors. Festival attendance will no only mean good eating and good music, it'll help a good cause too. All proceeds from the festival benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

176 Steel Bridge Point, Eatonton, GA 31024 (mailing address only). Hours: Check website. Admission: Friday: Free; Saturday: Adults $5; children 12 and under free

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