A Weekend Guide to Perspectives, Georgia’s Premier Pottery Event

Georgia’s largest pottery showcase and sale is on the horizon! PERSPECTIVES: Georgia Pottery Invitational is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event hosted by the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF). The 20-day event in Watkinsville features pottery exhibits, demonstrations and studio tours. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 14, 2016, artists and art lovers will experience a showcase of 6,000 handmade, functional pieces by 50 Georgia potters. Here’s a weekend guide to Georgia’s premier pottery event of the year.

Where to Stay

Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department.

Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department.

Just a short walk from OCAF is the Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast. Listed as one of the top inns to stay in Georgia, the bed and breakfast provides an inviting and relaxing environment with a pool and beautiful garden. The Victorian-style manor also features themed rooms raved about by national and international guests.

For a traditional lodging experience, the award-winning Springhill Suites by Marriott Athens is located just a few short miles from OCAF with on-site and off-site gym and pool access. Book your room soon; the popular hotel fills fast!

What to Do

Friday

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

On Friday, arrive at your hotel to view the three-part pottery exhibit and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. Items will include mugs, cooking dishes, tea pots, large pots and much more. The Opening Gala will take place on Aug. 26 at Rocket Hall. Enjoy refreshments and live jazz music performed by local band Period Six. The opening reception is an exclusive opportunity to view and purchase pottery before the exhibits are open to the public.

Saturday

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational. Photo courtesy of Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

After a full breakfast complimentary of your stay, head over to the Rocket Hall Courtyard, where potters will perform pottery demonstrations focused on wheel throwing and hand building techniques. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28, renowned artist Kevin Snipes will lead a hands-on pottery workshop on pottery form and surface.

Chops & Hops in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department

Chops & Hops in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Tourism Department

In your free time, enjoy shopping in Historic Downtown Watkinsville with unique shops that feature art galleries, clothes and accessories, home and garden décor, antiques and more. You can also explore popular lunch options in the area like unique burgers at The Traveling Hobo Café, ribs at JB’s Smokin’ Barbeque and a classic BBQ sandwich at Hot Thomas BBQ. End the night with dinner at Chops & Hops, an unforgettable fine dining experience. For more dining options, visit visitoconee.com/dining.

Sunday

Wake up to Sunday brunch at Girasoles with Mexican-Mediterranean fused dishes crafted by Chef Zambrano. On Sept. 3 and Sept. 10, well-known Georgia potter Michael Pitts will host Gallery Talks with discussions on pottery styles, clays, glazes, and firing techniques.

Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in Georgia.

Built in 1897, Elder Mill Covered Bridge in Watkinsville is one of only 13 functional covered bridges left in Georgia.

Finally, a serene view and a classic photo at the Elder Mill Covered Bridge is the perfect way to end your trip before traveling home.

For more information on PERSPECTIVES, visit visitoconee.com/perspectives.

raquel-cobb-crop2Raquel Cobb is the marketing coordinator for the Oconee County Welcome Center. Graduating from Clemson University in 2015 with a degree in communication studies, Raquel is the voice behind Oconee’s social media channels and travel blog. Growing up a few miles outside of Oconee County, Raquel enjoys the small town charm Watkinsville and her hometown offers.

Guide to Holiday Shopping Events in Georgia

Downtown Thomasville decorated for the holidays

Shop downtown Thomasville during two festive events: Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 and the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11.

Find unique gifts for everyone on your list at these special holiday shopping events throughout Georgia. Stroll through historic downtowns filled with boutiques, specialty stores and galleries while the sounds of the season fill the air. Shop for handmade crafts and gifts you can’t find anywhere else, and treat yourself to a bite in a local café. Make holiday shopping a merry event this year in Georgia!

Nov. 24: Candlelight Shopping on the Square, Historic Downtown Washington

Nov. 26: Christmas in Possum Snout, Tallapoosa

Nov. 28: Christmas at the Art Center, Blue Ridge

Nov. 28: Small Business Saturday in Downtown Thomasville

Nov. 28-29: Mistletoe Market & Sugar Plum Tea Room, North Georgia Technical College Campus, Blairsville

Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (weekends): Dublin Christkindlmarket (Traditional German Christmas Market), Dublin Carnegie

Nov. 30-Dec. 15: Christmas at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta

Dec. 1-4: Holiday Book Sale, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens

Dec. 3-4: Christmas Extravaganza, Downtown McRae

Dec. 4: First Fridays in Historic Downtown Brunswick

Dec. 4: First Friday, Downtown Valdosta

Dec. 4: Friday Night Live: Christmas in Downtown Woodstock

Historic Olde Town Conyers business district

Find special sales and promotions in the historic Olde Town Conyers business district during the Dec. 4 Christmas Party.

Dec. 4: Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party

Dec. 4: Downtown in December, Jefferson

Dec. 4-5: Christmas on the River, Savannah

Dec. 4-6: Art Dublin Holiday Gala & Show, Dublin-Laurens Museum & Cultural Center, Dublin

Dec. 5: Christmas in the Mountains, Downtown Cleveland

Dec. 5: Holiday Open House and Christmas Parade, Valdosta

Dec. 5: Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell

Dec. 5-6: Home for the Holiday Expo, Gwinnett Center, Duluth

Dec. 5-6: Victorian Christmas Open House, National Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus

Dec. 5-13 (weekends): 8th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Helen

Dec. 5-19 (Saturdays): Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House, Ringgold

Dec. 10: 13th Annual Hometown Christmas, Downtown Warrenton

Dec. 10: Girls’ Night Out, Valdosta

Children visit with Santa in Thomasville

Take the kids to visit with Santa in Thomasville during the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11, 2015.

Dec. 10-11: Victorian Christmas Festival, Thomasville

Dec. 11-23 (select dates): Dinner & Shopping in Truett’s Barn, The Rock Ranch

Dec. 12: Nacoochee Village Christmas, Helen

Dec. 12: Christmas Cookie Walk, Good Samaritan Catholic Church, Ellijay

Dec. 17: Christmas in Royston

Through Dec. 22: Mistletoe Market, Arts Clayton Gallery, Jonesboro

Through Jan. 9: Holiday Show and Sale, The Art Center, Blue Ridge

Looking for more unique shopping destinations in Georgia? Read Shopping for Kids this Holiday Season, visit the ExploreGeorgia.org Shopping Trip Ideas page, and find many more holiday events on the ExploreGeorgia.org Events page. Subscribe to the Explore Georgia email newsletter to receive the latest events and deals directly in your inbox!

Top 5 Holiday Activities in Georgia’s Lake Country

christmas photos - elves

Georgia’s Lake Country is wrapped with traditional and delightful holiday events. From concerts and caroling to ice skating and Santa sightings, Greensboro, Madison, Eatonton and Milledgeville have you covered this holiday season.

1.) Sing Christmas carols, or….
Let others sing them! On December 2, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will host the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a holiday concert.

Then on December 4, Georgia College’s Music Department presents a Holiday Concert at Russell Auditorium in #Milledgeville.

Ritz-Carlton Ice Skating

Go ice skating at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016.

2.) Go ice skating — the perfect way to get holiday spirit!
The Ritz-Carlton in #Greensboro will host its annual outdoor ice skating rink at the Pavilion. The rink opens November 25 and lasts until January 3. All the fun is topped off with hot cocoa! It’s an event that’s a blast for the whole family!

Madison Holiday Tour of Homes

Tour historic homes dressed up for the holidays in Madison Dec. 3-5, 3015.

3.) Take a tour of historic homes and sites.
December 3-5, step into #Madison’s Town & Country Holiday Tour of Homes. This event is one that you do not want to miss.

The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville will be open November 21-25 and then December 1-23. The mansion will be transformed into a winter wonderland!

Stepback, Georgia, in #Eatonton is a recreation of a 1900s community. Join the Pierce family on December 12 to “step back” into how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago!

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Milledgeville's Christmas Parade

See Milledgeville’s Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 2015

4.) Of course, See Santa!
Milledgeville welcomes #Santa with a parade down Main Street. This year’s parade is on December 5, and the theme is Sounds of the Season. Enjoy bands, festive floats and Santa!

On December 13, Crooked Pines Farm is bringing back “Santa & Sweets.” This event will wow your kids! Children will decorate cookies and have a one-on-one with Santa himself! Parents will receive a thumb drive with all of the photos of your children.

5.) Shop til you drop!
Eatonton hosts Christmas in the Briar Patch on December 5 from 3-6 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors will line the courthouse lawn. This is the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done! Stick around for “Light up the Night Christmas Parade” starting at 6 p.m. where Eatonton will welcome Santa to the square for free pictures with Santa!

For more information on these events, contact Maddie Atkinson with Georgia’s Lake Country.

Maddie AtkinsonMaddie Atkinson is a 2014 graduate from Georgia College in Milledgeville. After falling in love with Middle Georgia, Maddie decided to find a job there. After landing the tourism, marketing & special events position with the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, she began working actively on Georgia’s Lake Country marketing committee. She has since bought a house in Lake Country with her husband and two children.

Passion Soars at the Great Georgia Air Show

Jack Link's Screamin' Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows

Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows and Jack Link’s

For aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon, his nine-minute performance at the Great Georgia Air Show in Peachtree City this weekend is a small part of why he loves his job. His excitement really shines when he’s showing off the Jet Waco he flies, when he watches the audience react to the incredible spectacle before their eyes, and when he inspires the same kind of excitement in a young fan.

Meet Boerboon and several more talented aviators Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field. The Great Georgia Air Show is expected to bring 45,000 to Metro Atlanta, and while those numbers may not rival larger air shows elsewhere in the country, it allows for a more intimate and closer-to-the-action experience.

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off the Screamin' Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

What’s Special This Year?
Never before seen in Georgia, Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch takes to the sky, flown by Boerboon, who is a two-time Advanced National Champion in aerobatics. This one-of-a-kind biplane with the engine of a Lear Jet gives audiences the beauty of a 1920s aircraft with the wow factor of a modern-day machine. Boerboon can barely conceal his exhilaration when talking about what this plane can do, so you definitely do not want to miss his performance.

Mike Goulian and Sean Tucker, two living legends of flight, join Boerboon in the skies. Goulian was only 22 when he won the National Advanced Aerobatic Championship, and Tucker has been thrilling audiences since the 1970s. These veteran superstars will have your kids wanting to take to the skies themselves.

Without a doubt, the most exciting featured performance this year is that of the Blue Angels. Active members of the Navy and Marine Corps pilot these Boeing FA-18s at the highest speeds with the most impressive accuracy. This incredible performance hasn’t been seen in Metro Atlanta since 2010, so you do not want to miss it!

The U.S. Navy's demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

The U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

What to Do?
Bring the young ones! Not only will they marvel at the incredible feats of flying, but they’ll also love the family activities available throughout the weekend. They can jump on aviation-themed inflatables in the KidZone, ride on a giant monster truck or experience the show from the zipline.

Adults, you have the opportunity to check out the flight simulators or ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter!

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

A local favorite, the Great Georgia Air Show is bound to amaze and thrill airplane fans of all ages this weekend in Peachtree City. Buy tickets, and find directions and parking information on the air show website.

Your State Parks Day and Ice Cream Social at Panola Mountain

Your State Parks Day at Panola Mountain State ParkJoin over three-hundred volunteers and help improve local greenspaces during one of the largest volunteer events in Metro Atlanta. To celebrate Your State Parks Day and National Public Lands Day several impactful volunteer events have been scheduled including planting native wildflowers, cleaning up riverbanks and removing harmful invasive plants from sensitive habitat.

Volunteers can help in two beautiful locations. At Panola Mountain State Park volunteers will plant native wildflowers and help restore native habitat. Afterwards, they will be treated to a picnic lunch and commemorative tee-shirt courtesy of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. They can also enjoy yard games and ice cream. Becky Kelley, Director of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites said, “Volunteers have enormous impact on the health and well-being of parks and bring these unique places into the hearts of the community.” At Wade-Walker Park a massive cleanup will be followed by a family fun day. Both locations will work on volunteer projects from 9 AM to noon and celebrate from noon to 2 PM.

This event was created through a new coalition of nonprofits including the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Park Pride and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. However, the seeds for this volunteer bonanza were planted when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a public-private partnership aimed at recruiting one million volunteers for public lands. “Magnificent landscapes and our strong volunteer ethic are part of what make America so special and unique,” Secretary Jewell said.

Group and individual RSVPs are still being accepted and everyone is encouraged to give back during this national day of service! Register for Panola Mountain State Park here or Wade-Walker Park here.

Follow the event live on Facebook and Twitter with hashtags #Yvolunteer and #MoveMountains!

If you can’t make it to Panola Mountain State Park or Wade-Walker Park, you’re sure to find a Your State Parks Day event near you!

Kimberly EstepWhen not putting her savvy communication skills to use at the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Kimberly Estep can most often be found wandering over hiking trails with her two dogs.  Most of all, Kimberly loves sharing her knowledge of the hidden gems of Georgia with anyone who will listen.