September 15, 2018
Our Favorite Fall Festivals
By: Ginevra Boyes
With its changing colors and stunning mountain surroundings, Helen is a truly spectacular place to visit in the fall. As the colors begin to change, our seasonal calendars start to fill up. Helen and the surrounding area host a wide variety of fun and unique festivals throughout the season to celebrate the glory of autumn. Here are our favorite local festivals happening this fall.
48th Annual Oktoberfest
Weekends September 6th - September 30th
All week October 1st - October 28th
Oktoberfest is the grandaddy of local festivals. Now in its 48th year, it is the largest and longest running Oktoberfest in North Georgia. Starting in September and lasting until the end of October, Oktoberfest is a lively and authentic celebration of Bavarian culture and cuisine. Within Helen’s Festhalle in the Alpine Village, you’ll find German-inspired music, food, polka dancing, and of course, lots and lots of tasty beer. Don’t forget to bring your lederhosen.
Spirit of Appalachia Food, Wine, & Art Festival
September 15th 2018
Spirit of Appalachia Food, Wine, & Art Festival is held on the grounds of the beautiful and historic Hardman Farm in Sautee Nacoochee. Come for good music, local art, and delicious food and wine. Everything at the festival is made or produced by Georgia chefs, musicians, artists, and vintners. You can enjoy scrumptious meals prepared by expert local chefs and enjoy some of the finest local wines and craft beers Georgia has to offer. When you aren’t enjoying the food and wine, shop for art made by local artists or artisans and step inside Hardman House for a fascinating glimpse into North Georgia’s past.
Georgia Apple Fest
October 13th-14th and 20th-21st
Georgia’s world-famous peaches tend to get all the attention, but our apples are pretty delicious too. So delicious, in fact, that there is an entire festival dedicated to them. The Georgia Apple Fest in Ellijay is considered one of the largest festivals in North Georgia and it is dedicated entirely to apples. Come to the festival to watch the Apple Fest Parade and Beauty Pageant, run in the 5k race, browse the arts & crafts booth, or participate in the much-beloved pie baking contest. And of course, it is a great place to purchase a wide variety of Georgia apples and other apple-based products, including juices, ciders, and desserts.
Gold Rush Days
Most people associate the Gold Rush with California, but gold was also discovered in the mountains of North Georgia back in 1828. To celebrate this fascinating and little-known bit of Georgia history, the nearby town of Dahlonega hosts Gold Rush Days, a festival happening the third full weekend of October. Dahlonega’s Public Square and Historic District fill with more than 300 art and crafts exhibitions and many excellent food vendors. This fun, family-friendly festival attracts roughly 200,000 visitors per year.
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival takes place October 12th-20th at the Fairgrounds in Hiawassee. This exciting 9-day festival is jam-packed with all sorts of events, performances, and exhibitions, including live music, arts & crafts vendors, a flower show, and so much more. The crown jewel of the festival is the annual Georgia State Fiddling Convention, where musicians of all ages gather to compete in various music competitions in the hopes of being named Georgia Mountain Fiddle King. Kids can visit the Pioneer Village, complete with an authentic mercantile store, smokehouse, log home, and old one-room school, and participate in “old ways” demonstrations to learn more about daily life in Georgia’s past.
Planning a trip to Helen this fall? Book a stay at the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars, a charming bed & breakfast winery located at the base of beautiful Yonah Mountain.