Georgia’s Fall Beer Festivals

The Decatur Craft Beer Festival will be Oct. 15, 2016. Photo from Facebook.

The Decatur Craft Beer Festival will be Oct. 15, 2016. Tickets go on sale in September. Photo from Facebook.

August

Augusta Beerfest (August 20, 2016) – Southeastern American craft beer will be celebrated during one session of festival fun from 3-6 p.m at James Brown Arena. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door.

German Bierfest (August 20, 2016) – Ja! It’s a beer party! Head to Woodruff Park for the best German beer tasting event Atlanta offers. Be sure to leave room for food: half and full pound pretzels, sauerkraut, schnitzel, brats and more! Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. Designated driver tickets are available.

Macon Beer Festival (August 20, 2016) – The event, which usually sells out, is a Pints for Prostates event, meaning the money raised benefits the International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network and the Prostate Conditions Education Council. General admission tickets are $35 per person in advance and $40 at the door.

Dawsonville Music & Beer Festival (August 21-22, 2016) – This festival usually hosts two nights of fun in downtown Dawsonville, a town primarily known for its moonshine roots. Each evening features performances from multiple bands and brews.

Helen2 - Sussman Imaging - Copy

Helen celebrates Oktoberfest for two months each fall!

September

Savannah Craft Brew Fest (September 3, 2016) – This may be Georgia’s most beer fanatic-friendly festival. The event features unlimited sampling of craft beers from around the world, food, seminars about beer, a mixology garden and a cider garden, a VIP experience, music and a cornhole tournament. General admission tickets are $46.95 each, including processing fees.

Oktoberfest in Helen (September 8 – October 30, 2016) – The Alpine village tucked away in the North Georgia mountains goes big each year for their own version of Oktoberfest. You’ll find beer on tap, polka on the dance floor and plenty of bratwurst. Admission is $8 Monday-Friday, $10 on Saturday, free on Sundays.

Music, Beach, & Brew Fest (September 10, 2016) – Lanier Islands hosts this beer-centric, family-friendly festival where restaurants and vendors will be showcased alongside games of volleyball, activities, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and a section just for the kids. Tickets are $20 per person, and there is a $15 vehicle entry fee at the gate.

Rome Beer Festival (September 24, 2016) – Crowds will gather at Heritage Park to raise funds for the Rome Area Council for the Arts and enjoy tastes of nationally produced and local brew. This event also has a home brew competition. General admission tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

Hop Harvest Festival (September 24, 2016) – Celebrate all things hoppy in Athens at Terrapin Beer Company during its annual Hop Harvest Festival. Guest speakers, live music and the release of the 2016’s So Fresh and So Green Green will make this family-friendly festival fun. The cost of a drink voucher and souvenir glass is $20.

Blues, Brews & BBQ (September 24, 2016) – Hinesville is home to this annual festival celebrating the best in music, beer and food. The 13th annual event will feature live entertainment throughout the day and night.

Jekyll Brewing Co. beers at the 2015 Rome Beer Festival. Photo from Facebook.

Jekyll Brewing Co. beers at the 2015 Rome Beer Festival. Photo from Facebook.

October

Oktoberfest (October 7-9, 2016) – Savannah’s River Street plays home to all things brew-tiful during the annual riverfront celebration. The event promises “wiener dog racing, bratwurst tasting, oompah dancing” and Friday night fireworks. This event is free to attend.

Great Atlanta Beer Fest (October 8, 2016) – Usually known as the home of the Atlanta Braves, Turner Field hosts the Great Atlanta Beer Fest each autumn. With more than 100 beers on tap, live music and college football games broadcast on screens, this festival offers hours of entertainment. Tickets are $40 advance, $45 after September 29 and $55 on the day of event. The first 500 tickets are just $30.

Oktoberfest Boutique Beer Tasting (October 14, 2015) – Sip and stroll through the shops in downtown Newnan during this unique annual event. Local, regional and national brews will be on tap. Tickets are $20 per person in advance and $25 per person at the event.

Decatur Craft Beer Festival (October 15, 2016) – Think of this as an adults-only afternoon of tasting set in downtown Decatur, featuring 80 craft beers, food for sale, live music and more. Tickets go on sale in September.

Grayson Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival (October 22, 2016) – Music and a hop-ping good time come together at Grayson’s annual music and beer festival this October in Grayson Community Park. Tickets go on sale in September.

Appalachian Craft Brew, Stew & Que Festival (October 22, 2016) – This first-year festival will be held at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee and will be a celebration of beer, food, art and music. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

Boos & Brews (October 29, 2016) – The sixth incarnation of this Halloween-themed festival will take place at a still-to-be-determined location. Uniquely, this festival runs at night, until 2 a.m. Tickets start at just $10 per person and usually sell out, so be sure to get yours well in advance.

The Grayson Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival, Oct. 22, will feature Georgia music and beers.

The Grayson Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival, Oct. 22, will feature Georgia music and beers.

November

Hopped Up on Georgia Brews (November 5, 2016) – More than 20 Georgia-based breweries will take part in this third annual event on Savannah’s Riverfront Plaza. Ticket information is TBA.

Acworth Craft Beer Festival (November 12, 2016) – Downtown Acworth gets the full festival treatment when this adults-only festival brings more than 100 beers and live music to town. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 after November 3, and $50 on the day of the event. The first 500 tickets will be sold at $25 when they go on sale in September.

Before you go to one of Georgia’s beer festivals this autumn, make sure you figure out how you’re leaving the festival. Assign a designated driver, walk or plan to take Uber or a taxi.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull 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.

The Return of Athens PopFest … and Bulldog Students

Georgia_Theatre_Photo_Elliott_Anderson

The Georgia Theatre is one of three venues hosting PopFest performances Aug. 10-13, 2016

Athens’ dual roots as a music and a college town have always been intertwined. These two cultures will converge even more than usual on Wednesday, Aug. 10 when Athens PopFest returns to town, mere hours before University of Georgia students resume classes for the fall.

“It’s their first weekend back, so the kids all want to go out, and townies can have a last bit of fun downtown before it’s full-on students and football,” jokes festival organizer Mike Turner. Launched in 2004, PopFest established itself as a highlight of Athens’ summer calendar before going on hiatus in 2012. According to Turner, one of three promoters behind the earlier run, both fans and bands worldwide continually asked when the party would resume, and this year he finally felt sufficiently recharged to give it another go.

His Name Is Alive

His Name Is Alive

PopFest has always championed the outsiders and up-and-comers, with a heavy dose of local flavor. This year is no exception. Headliners include legendary Austin eccentric Daniel Johnston and long-running Athens favorites Elf Power. My personal picks include the newly reformed Love Tractor — who deserve to be uttered in the same sentence as R.E.M., the B-52’s and Pylon as the apex of 1980s Athens — and genre-smashing Detroit iconoclasts His Name Is Alive, who are equally likely to dispense cosmic jazz as swirling dream pop. Meanwhile, the roster of Georgia bands stands at 18.

One of the changes from past years is a smaller number of shows, but at larger venues with more extensive lineups. “None of the performances overlap this year, which was a really big thing for me,” explains Turner. “I hated that the festival had grown to a point where you had to make choices between which bands to see.” The nighttime bills at the iconic Georgia Theatre run into the wee hours, while Little Kings Shuffle Club is hosting afternoon throwdowns and World Famous (recently named one of the 100 Best Bars in the South by Southern Living) a pair of early evening interludes on Friday and Saturday.

Dudley Park railroad trestle in Athens

Featured on the back cover of R.E.M.’s 1983 debut album, the Dudley Park railroad trestle is one of the stops on the Athens Music Walking Tour.

There’s enough music to keep you busy from Wednesday through Saturday (assuming you sleep in, or spend the morning scrambling for textbooks), but Turner also recommends spending any spare time at the following:

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.

4 Ways to Get Outdoors in Dunwoody

Dunwoody Nature Center's Butterfly Festival

Dunwoody Nature Center’s Butterfly Festival

If you are looking for ways to get outside with your family, then head to Dunwoody for these awesome adventures. From playgrounds to zip lines to a FREE nature center, there is a weekend of excitement waiting for you!

Soar through the trees at Treetop Quest Dunwoody

Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Little ones as young as 4 years old can enjoy the Kiddie Quest ropes experience at Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Kids 7 years and older can play Tarzan on three courses, including a 300-foot zip line, and those over 12 years old have an extra challenge on the fourth course. Bring the whole family for an adventure in the trees! You can read more about our family’s antics here.

Climb and jump at Brook Run Park

Treetop Quest is just at the entrance of Brook Run Park, so don’t be scared to venture in a little farther once you finish your treetop excursion. Brook Run offers an incredible playground with shade awnings, an off-leash dog park, and a skate park arena. Read about Brook Run and other playgrounds we love in Atlanta.

Savor custard on the patio of Village Burger

Village Burger in Dunwoody

Village Burger in Dunwoody

Nothing will help you beat the heat like a frozen custard treat from Village Burger. You can enjoy it on the patio (shade umbrellas included), or take a breather at a table inside. We also LOVE the burgers and onion rings!

Explore Dunwoody Nature Center

Explore the teepee just inside the entrance to the nature center. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Explore the teepee just inside the entrance to the nature center. Photo by Lesli Peterson

You can spend hours and hours at the FREE Dunwoody Nature Center and still not experience all they have to offer. Play in the creek, walk the trails, climb the new playground structures, listen for frogs on the boardwalk….the possibilities are endless. Don’t miss the Dunwoody Butterfly Festival Aug. 20, and see our post on 22 great ways to get more out of the nature center.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Why is Georgia Known for Moonshine?

The Early Days of Moonshine in Georgia

Scotch-Irish immigrants began to settle in Georgia in the 1780s, bringing with them the knowledge of how to distill fruits into alcoholic beverages. With that settlement, moonshine production began. Whether it was apples, corn or peaches, Georgians made the most of their crops, including the production of whiskey or brandy.

Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery

Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery

During the Civil War, the United States government formed the Internal Revenue Service to collect taxes on “luxuries,” including alcohol and tobacco. Many moonshiners refused to pay the tax and continued operating their stills. In the 1870s, federal agencies started going after the moonshiners in North Georgia, and in 1920 Prohibition was enacted, which meant consuming alcohol was illegal.

The infamous cat-and-mouse moonshiner versus revenuer car chases through the North Georgia mountains reached is peak in the 1930s and ’40s, giving birth to a new type of industry, stock car racing, which would lead to the formation of NASCAR.

Modern ‘Shine in Georgia

Illicit still production of moonshine has died off in the last half-century, and in the last decade, liquor companies have been producing the spirit legally throughout Georgia, with the beverage enjoying a renewed popularity.

Grandaddy Mimm's in Blairsville. Photo from Facebook.

Grandaddy Mimm’s in Blairsville. Photo from Facebook.

Georgia is now home to 16 distilleries, including:

Moonshine Festivals in Georgia

Remaining popular are festivals that celebrate the moonshine heritage of Georgia. Check out these upcoming events in the Northeast Georgia mountains to learn more about the spirit and Appalachian culture:

Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In, Hiawassee (July 29-30, 2016) – This event includes the usual festival-type fun plus live mountain music, parade, classic cars, a pioneer village, and crafts representing the region’s heritage.

49th Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival, Dawsonville (October 21 – 23, 2016) – Festivities kick off on Saturday morning with a parade of cars. There will be live entertainment, numerous vendors and festival fare. Also, festival-goers can enjoy a car show, cruise-in, and swap meet at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull 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.

Worth Bragging About: 80 Bands, 20 Stages in Macon

Macon has been on a recent roll, musically speaking. Its legendary Capricorn Music studios are the centerpiece of a downtown redevelopment effort, the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House remains a major draw, and a weekend celebration of what would have been Otis Redding’s 75th birthday is just around the corner in September.

Saturday, July 30 brings one of the city’s flagship musical events, when Bragg Jam will take over the town with a 12-hour “concert crawl” featuring wall-to-wall bands playing numerous venues — most within a two-block radius.

Floco Torres Big Band. Photo credit Love Dot Photography.

Floco Torres Big Band. Photo credit Love Dot Photography.

Roughly 50 of the more than 80 bands on this year’s bill hail from Georgia and run the stylistic gamut, including local sensation the Floco Torres Big Band and wildly eclectic Atlanta sisters Larkin Poe. Headliners Shakey Graves hail from Austin, Texas, and the lineup also has a distinctly Nashville vein running through it, but my personal pick is NYC indie popster Frankie Cosmos, who happens to be the daughter of ’80s heartthrobs Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates.

2016 marks the 14th edition of Bragg Jam, which began as a low-key memorial following the death of beloved local musician brothers on a 1999 road trip. Building a lasting legacy from that tragic situation, the event remains all-volunteer and channels its surplus to area causes dear to the Bragg brothers, such as the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and Amerson River Park.

The Crazy Bull in Macon. Photo credit: Page Walker, Network Frequency.

The Crazy Bull in Macon. Photo credit: Page Walker, Network Frequency.

An all-access ticket includes shuttle bus service between the many venues, spanning the Cox Capitol Theater, which made our recent list of iconic Georgia music venues, and the Hummingbird Stage & Taproom, which narrowly missed our list of Georgia music venues worth the drive. Most sites are all-ages, though some of the clubs are 18-and-over.

Bragg Jam’s free Arts & Kids festival will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, leading into the concert crawl’s 2 p.m. start. Food trucks will be parked near the Cherry Street Plaza site, but for those interested in sitting down for a meal, organizers also suggest the Taste and See Coffee Shop, the Bearfoot Tavern and Just Tap’d, all of which double as music stages for the day.

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.