Trip Ideas

Georgia's Tastiest Food Festivals

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

  • Oktoberfest

    Oktoberfest, Helen's biggest celebration, kicks off in September and runs through October, featuring German music, food and drinks.

    GDECD Photography

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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. 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.