5 Uniquely Named Georgia Summer Festivals 

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Peacock Festival – Held the second Saturday every May, residents and visitors are invited to learn how the town of Pavo (the Latin word for peacock) got its name while browsing arts and crafts vendors, grabbing a bit from food botohs, watching (or participating in) a pie eating contest, endulge in peacock calling, and more.

Bavarianfest 2014 flyer

Bavarianfest – The best of Helen comes out during this festival aimed to celebrate the roots of the town’s signature German experience. Happening May 23-25, 2015, Helen’s Festhalle will be filled with a live Oompah band, dancing, festivities, and more.

13438778Hot Corner Festival – At the intersection of Hull and Washington Streets, you’ll find a celebration of local African-American culture. The three-day festival happening June 12-14, 2015, features a full day of live music, gospel singing, BBQ cook off, kids corner, health fair, car and bike showcase, speakers, and voter registration drive.

10478146_780185442021082_6382066003093371755_nGeorgia Winery’s Luau Wine Fest – The spirit of Hawaiian fun comes to the Ringold vineyard for annual outdoor festival. This year’s festival, on June 27th, features live music by Ogya World Music Band, a Tiki Lounge with DJ Joe Nabors, food, fire dancers, a live auction, and more.

up-O1K4KHUDV68121R6Green Bean Festival – On July 25th, crowds will gather in Blairsville for the annual festival that celebrates that beloved vegetable.  The festival celebrates all things green bean with activities including green bean eating contests, a recipe contest and canning workshops.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

National Travel and Tourism Week Events in Georgia

National Travel and Tourism Week is May 2 – 10, 2015! Keep reading for a list of Georgia attractions that are offering specials in honor of the occasion.

Road to Tara Museum

Road to Tara Museum

Clayton County: May 2-9 The Road to Tara Museum is discounting tour prices for the museum and historic bus tours. Admission to the museum will be $3.20, and historic bus tour prices will be $32 per two people (or $16 for individual riders).

Coweta County: May 9 the Coweta County RVIC is hosting a walking history tour of the downtown Newnan area. Tour to include stops in some of the local restaurants.

Dahlonega: May 5, 10:30 a.m. Travel Rally Day ceremony, including a ribbon cutting for the Lumpkin County Historical Markers App created by volunteers and an announcement about being the “Wine Tasting Room Capital” of Georgia.

Dalton/Whitfield County: May 6, 10:30 a.m., Dalton Convention Center (DCC). Recap of 2014 at CVB and DCC, big check presentation, and the launch of a new brand campaign.

Douglasville: May 8, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visitors are invited to join the Douglasville Welcome Center for a Tourism Celebration Day. Enjoy light refreshments, games, giveaways and more.

Gainesville: May 6, 12 p.m. The CVB and Main Street Program present “Blue Skies and Apple Pies.” During a free concert on the square, the groups will roll out the Mobil Tourism Kiosk and give out 100 free fried apple pies from Jaemor Farms.

Helen, Georgia. Photo by Davenport346 via Flickr

Helen, Georgia. Photo by Davenport346 via Flickr

Helen: May 9, 6-9 p.m. Helen will be offering a street dance downtown on the Market Platz. Two bands, food and crafts will be available. For more information, visit helenga.org.

Kingsland: May 1, Kingsland will host the Annual Kingsland Royal Arrest at the Georgia On My Mind Day celebration at the Kingsland/St. Marys VIC.  During the Annual Kingsland Royal Arrest, local police officers pick a random car coming into the VIC, and the town rolls out the red carpet. The city mascot, Kingsley, presents a visitor with a gift basket from the area. There will also be a live radio broadcast on KBAY 106.3 radio.

Macon I-75 RVIC: May 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The I-75 RVIC will celebrate National Tourism Week with Macon on My Mind Day. In case of inclement weather the event is canceled.

Peachtree City: May 2-10, the Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to give away two-for-one coupons to the Southern Hollywood Film Tour for visitors who come by the visitor center during the week. In a May 1-8 photo contest, visitors who submit photos via the Visit Peachtree City Facebook Page, Instagram #ptcnttw2015, or email info@visitpeachtreecity.com will be entered to win GOPRO Camera, and the winning photo will be used in marketing material for Visit Peachtree City. Photos must contain a golf cart and have been taken in Peachtree City.

Rome - Rome

Rome/Floyd County:
May 2: Free Clocktower and trolley tours
May 3: Free tours continued and launch the Roman Holiday tour season
May 4-7: Recognize Superstars of Service award winners at their work places
May 6: “Adults Run the Bases” at Rome Braves Game and free museum entry at the newly revamped Rome History Museum
May 8: Rome Grown Farmers market/picnic lunch/live music at the Labrynth
May 9: Launch new gamification app “Visit Rome Georgia”

Sandy Springs: May 6, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism is celebrating National Tourism Week with an Open House at the Welcome Center, located in the Parkside Shopping Center -Suite A-118 at 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, Georgia. Directly above the Welcome Center is the Anne Frank Exhibit, which includes 600 photographs and more than 8,000 words that tell the story of young Anne Frank.

25 Words You Need to Know to Decipher the Marietta Greek Festival Menu 

Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs

The Marietta Greek Festival (May 16-18, 2015) is one of my favorite events of the year. The first year I went, I was stumped though. Everything tasted great but I didn’t know what anything was that I was eating. Here are 25 words that will help you decipher the menu at a Greek festival:

1.)  Arni – Lamb

2.)  Baklava – A rich pastry made with layers of filo filled with nuts and honey

3.)  Brizola – Steak

Greek Dolmades

Greek Dolmades

4.)  Dolmades – Ground beef and rice mixed with herbs and onions wrapped inside grape leaves

5.)  Feta – A rich cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk and cured in brine

6.)  Filo – Paper-thin sheets of unleavened flour dough

7.)  Galactoboureko – A filo pastry with a rich custard filling

8.)  Gyro –meat roasted on a vertical spit

9.)  Keftedes – Meatballs cooked with herbs and onions, sometimes served with a tomato sauce

10.)  Kotopoulo – Chicken

11.)  Koulourakia – Twisted butter cookies.

12.)  Kourabiedes – Light almond shortbread served during the holidays

13.)  Lathera – Dishes cooked in oil, often vegetarian

Loukoumades

Loukoumades

14.)  Loukoumades – Fried balls of dough drenched in honey with cinnamon

15.)  Meli – Honey

16.)  Mezedes – Small dishes, similar to the Spanish concept of tapas

17.)  Octapodi – Octopus

18.)  Pastitsio – Baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce

19.)  Pikilia – An assortment of appetizers

20.)  Rizogalo – Creamy rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon

21.)  Saganaki – Fried cheese

22.)  Souvlaki – Small pieces of meat and vegetables on a skewer

23.)  Spanakopita – Spinach and feta cheese pie served in a flaky filo crust

24.)  Tzatziki – Sauce made out of strained yogurt, cucumbers and garlic

25.)  Yiaourti – Yogurt

If you’re planning on attending the Marietta Greek Festival, be sure to make time to take a tour of their beautiful church. If you plan to enter the church, you will be expected to adhere to their traditional dress code- women wear dresses or skirts that fall below the knee, while men wear pants. Shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, low-cut or strapless dresses (unless covered by a sweater, etc.) are not permitted. Also, be sure to leave your food in the main festival area.

All photos courtesy of mygreekdish.com.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

10 Family-Friendly Things to do During the Vidalia Onion Festival

Vidalia Onion - GDECD

You want to check out the Vidalia Onion Festival but is it worth bringing your whole family? Yes! There’s plenty of fun for everyone from kids to adults. Here are my picks for amusing your whole crew: 

1.)  Children’s Parade – Kids 12 and younger are encouraged to dress up as animals you’d see if you were on a safari and strut their stuff on the streets of Vidalia. Prizes will be awarded for costumes during this April 24 event.

2.)  Street Dance with The Temptations Review with Dennis Edwards –  Music comes to the streets at entire families bring their lawn chairs and blankets to listen to the sounds of Motown in downtown Vidalia.

Photo courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Festival

Photo courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Festival

3.)  Aviation Activities – The Vidalia Regional Airport will be hosting a wide variety of aviation themed activities perfect for families throughout the festival. Whether you want to skydive, stay on the ground and peek inside a cockpit, or watch planes take off and land, there’s something for everyone.

4.)  Movie Under the Stars – Bring lounge chairs to enjoy Despicable Me 2 on the large outdoor movie screen, under the stars for free on April 24.

5.)  Vidalia Onion Chuck-Wagon Cook-Off – Kids love trying new things and testing their limits which are two reasons why a food tasting is the perfect way to spend some time exploring the Vidalia Onion Festival.

6.)  World Famous Onion Eating Contest – If your kids are feeling brave, they can enter this contest which breaks down the eaters into various age categories on April 26. Prizes will be awarded in each category.

Photo courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Festival

Photo courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Festival

7.)  The Carnival – Head to the Vidalia Regional Airport for all things carnival related. On Sunday, it’s dollar ride day and there’s free parking!

8.)  Buckhorn Creek Ranch – Visit with a herd of domestic and exotic animals via wagon tour at this 250-acre working farm and wildlife preserve. Plus with admission you’ll get access to a petting zoo where you’re invited to feed a deer or try to catch a chicken.

9.)  Vidalia Onion Factory Tours –  Try 10 flavors of frozen yogurt by their new brand Yo-So Sweet including Vidalia Onion Yogurt with 70 plus toppings to choose from as you tour this family-run business.

10.)  Montgomery County Historic Village Spring Festival – Travel back in time to 19th Century rural Georgia at this free event that promises plenty of fun and hands-on activities including churning butter, beating biscuits, making cornhusk dolls, enjoying toe-tapping old-time music, and meeting goats and mules.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Tallulah Gorge Skywalk Celebration

Tallulah Gorge Bridge PC E

The Tallulah Gorge Skywalk Celebration is going to be a celebration like nothing the State of Georgia has ever seen!  This 10 day journey begins on June 19 with concerts and rodeos and ends on the 28th with an aerial show and a national country music concert.

Nik Wallenda will not be walking the gorge but he WILL be here in Rabun County to help us start the celebration with an appearance that is open to the public on Friday, June 19th and then he will be signing his book ‘Balance’ at the Rabun County Public Library on Saturday morning, June 20th.  It is going to be quite a kick off and a great 10 days.

Grammy award winning T. Graham Brown is featured in concert in Dillard on the north end of our beautiful county in the picturesque meadow behind Dillard House Stables. Just south of Clayton, Friday and Saturday nights, Rabun Arena hosts a rodeo while cowboys and cowgirls compete for money and prizes, complete with a concert before the rodeo.  Meanwhile, there will be very cool art and wine tours thru Rabun, Habersham, White and Towns counties, as well as daily tours through Rabun County’s three State Parks; Tallulah Gorge State Park, Black Rock Mountain State Park, and Moccasin Creek State Park. We have something for everyone and kids of all ages when you attend ‘Ride The Wire’, a Wild West Cowboy Gathering and Chuck Wagon Cook off in the meadow at The Dillard House.  You will be able to eat chuck wagon cooking while enjoying Native American dancers, reenactors of the Shoot-out at the OK Corral, Buffalo Bill with his rope and whip tricks, cowboy music and poetry, awesome kid’s activities and so much more.

Tallulah Gorge Boaters e

On the first Saturday night of the 10 day celebration come on out to Clayton’s City Hall for a John Michael Montgomery concert.  In the theme of Karl Wallenda’s legacy there are several opportunities to attend Cirque events.  Rabun Gap Nacoochee School will offer two performances of their acclaimed student ensemble showcase of Cirque.  We also will have a professional troupe of cirque performers who will offer their interpretation of an industrial circus at the Rabun County Business Park.   There are Farm to Table dinners with several of our Best Chefs America Chefs who make their magic at local restaurants here in Rabun County. Appalachian story telling with Lee Knight at Betty’s Creek Barn.  Lee Knight has performed at Carnegie Hall and now will be here with us in the North Georgia Mountains.   The North Georgia Community Players will perform the loved Foxfire play and the nationally known Foxfire Boys will perform a concert before each play.   A 50’s dance party and Classic Car show with double feature movies will be at our very own Tiger Drive-In.  There is also a Buck dance party at the Rabun Civic Center and a FREE Block party in downtown Clayton.

The final day ends up at Heaven’s Landing with a breath taking aerial show that will be followed by the grand finale of The Time Jumpers in concert featuring Vince Gill.

Come join us for this wonderful celebration of Karl Wallenda’s 45th anniversary of his walk across Tallulah Gorge!  Check out the full schedule of events taking place during the 10 days.  Go to www.explorerabun.com and click on #TallulahGorgeSkywalkCelebration logo to register!

Pam Thompson has been the owner/operator of Dillard House Stables since 1989. She is a member of Rabun County’s Tourism  Development Authority and the Dillard Tourism Association.