Travel the World in Augusta, Georgia

An array of fall festivals brings culture to life with art, music and food

Arts in the Heart Festival (Credit to RedWolf)

Only 150 miles east of Atlanta off Interstate 20, Georgia’s second oldest and largest city, Augusta, welcomes visitors to seize the season with a frenzy of fall festivals.

A late summer “must” on the September to-do list is the Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song bluegrass concert series Fridays beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the historic Imperial Theatre. Purchase tickets at the Imperial Theatre box office or through imperialtheatre.com. Featuring popular bluegrass artists — including Mountain Heart, The Grascals and Rodney Crowell — the series continues through February 2014. “Like” Southern Soul and Song on Facebook for updates.

Arts in the HeartFor the 33rd year in a row, the Greater Augusta Arts Council presents the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival Sept. 20-22. Augusta’s diverse cultural heritage comes to life as the Global Food Village and Global Stage are filled with ethnic foods and artistic demonstrations from more than 30 different countries.

Connect with the unexpected through premier artistic programming in and around downtown Augusta and North Augusta, S.C., during Westobou Festival, Oct. 2-6. Embracing every artistic endeavor, Westobou showcases the best in film, music, words, dance and visual arts. Attend events like Cathead Vodka Cocktails with Filmmaker Matthew Buzzell, spend an evening with Roy Blount, Jr. at the Imperial Theater, embark on a gallery crawl or watch a screening of the “Passion of Joan of Arc” with a live score by Body/ Head at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

JohnnySwim2Something else to fill your Fridays: On the First Friday of each month, a family-friendly celebration is held in downtown Augusta on Artists’ Row. Galleries and studios remain open to debut new works, arts and craft vendors set up to sell their wares, and music is performed in various outdoor locations.

Through the festivities, satiate hunger pangs at more than 300 restaurants serving cuisines ranging from classic Southern treats to cutting-edge, trendy fusion dishes – all with a side of hospitality, which Augusta has been extending to visitors for decades with a grace only experienced in the South. Post-indulgence, work off calories with a stroll in the pedestrian-friendly city along the Riverwalk, a six-block brick esplanade of walking paths, gardens and the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, set against the backdrop of the Savannah River. For weekend or weeklong getaways, Augusta’s affordable lodging options range from historic inns to full-service hotels, many within walking distance of downtown and with views of the Savannah River.

Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.AugustaGA.org, 706-823-6600.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.