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.

Turkey Legs & Tunics Take Over Fairburn at the Georgia Renaissance Festival

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Hear ye, hear ye! 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Running April 18- June 7 this year, this Georgia festival truly has something for everyone!

Located just north of I-85’s Peachtree City exit, the event offers all the excitement of a 16th Century circus plus there’s free parking. Your ticket gets you entry to all of the festival’s entertainment shows, jousting tournaments, Children’s Play Kingdom, and the Royal Petting Farm.

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Though they have an ATM available, you’ll want to be sure to bring cash to pay for the 1 ½ lb smoked turkey legs, pork loin on a stake, giant pretzels, macaroni and cheese on a stick, and meat pies you plan to eat.  Yum… turkey legs. They also will have available a wide variety of desserts as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.

Kids (and admittedly, adults) will enjoy the themed rides and games at the festival and those cost some extra dollars too. To save time and hassle in having to say “no,” in my family we give the kids a budget and let them decide how to spend their money on the rides and games.

To save some money, plan on visiting the first weekend of the festival, April 18th and 19th, when adult admission is BOGO when you purchase your tickets online or at the gate.

Have I mentioned that costumes are encouraged? They are and it’s one of the hallmarks of an event like this. Your eyes will be busy all day looking at fair maidens, knights, peasants, and much, much more

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Photo courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Each festival date is people-friendly but there are special dates that are also pet-friendly. On April 25th and 26th, dogs or cats are admitted for $5 each with proper proof of vaccination.

Additional themed dates during this year’s festival include:

  • ·      April 25 & 26 – Roman Weekend
  • ·      May 2 & 3 – Kids Free Weekend
  • ·      May 9 & 10 – Highland Weekend and Mother’s Day
  • ·      May 16 & 17 – Time Warp Weekend
  • ·      May 25 – Deaf Awareness Day
  • ·      May 30 & 31 – Pirates Plunder Weekend

For more information about the festival and to purchase your tickets online visit garenfest.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.

Discover Dahlonega, Georgia

Downtown Dahlonega

Downtown Dahlonega

Each spring, visitors from all over Georgia gather in Dahlonega to celebrate Southern Appalachian culture at the annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival.

This year’s festival takes over downtown Dahlonega April 18th and 19th and will feature live bluegrass and heritage music performances, a juried Artists Marketplace featuring mountain crafts, free music workshops/demonstrations, storytelling; Master Classes for string musicians, Gospel Jam, an old-time mountain dance, kids activities, and more. Admission is free to all festival events, except the Master Classes.

While you’re discovering Dahlonega, be sure to save room for a nibble of fudge from The Fudge Factory and be sure to explore the Dahlonega General Store (bring a quarter for their player piano)- two of my favorite things to do with family in Dahlonega’s Downtown District.

Frogtown Cellars. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce.

Frogtown Cellars. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce.

Nestled into the foothills surrounding Dahlonega are several of North Georgia’s wineries. If you want to stay in the downtown area but still taste the local wine, visit one of the many tasting rooms. To save money, be sure to pick up your Downtown Dahlonega Wine Walk Passport at the Dahlonega Visitors Center, which, at $25 saves you $15 on four tastings per person at five local tasting rooms.

Many of the local wineries offer beautiful views of the rolling hills along with tastes of their growing offerings featuring a wide variety of whites, reds, rosés, and ice wine. Hours vary by winery so be sure to check them individually before you set off on your journey.

Consolidated Gold Mines. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce

Consolidated Gold Mines. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce

Expand your outdoor adventure learning about and seeing Dahlonega’s role in Georgia’s Gold Rush while visiting a mine,  hiking to one of the region’s many waterfalls, or getting up close to exotic animals at a wildlife preserve or petting zoo. 

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.

5 Places to Eat Seafood on Georgia’s Golden Isles

Darien, Georgia. Photo by Evangelio Gonzalez . Submitted via Flickr.

Darien, Georgia. Photo by Evangelio Gonzalez . Submitted via Flickr.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet Festival is coming up April 17-19 and one of the highlights of the multiday festival is seeing all the shrimp boats lined up along the coast. Whether you’re heading to Darien for the festival this year or just driving by and get inspired for a meal, there are five of my favorite places to grab a fresh seafood dinner.

1.)  B&J’s Steaks & Seafood – It doesn’t look like much from the street but a trip to B&J’s comes highly recommended by locals… and they would know.

2.) Mudcat Charlie’s – Sit back, relax, and enjoy a view of the river while you wait for your fresh seafood on Brunswick’s coast. Plus, their prices won’t break the bank.

Photo courtesy of The Crab Trap

Photo courtesy of The Crab Trap

3.)  The Crab Trap – Their website advertises “Tasty Food. Cold Beer.” and that tells most of the story. The St. Simons Island locally owned restaurant offers local shrimp, scallops, oysters and fish, alongside Southern favorites like battered fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, cheese grits, and crab soup. Feeling adventurous? Order the Blue Crab Cocktail.

4.)  Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill – Local fresh fish, seafood, and crab cakes are hits with locals and tourists. Plus, Golden Isles visitors will like that it’s just down the street from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.

5.) The Half Shell – Another one of my favorite places, this new-ish restaurant serves tables full of oysters and crab cakes nightly. The restaurant is located near Neptune Park and the Saint Simons Island Lighthouse Museum – two great spots to stop and stroll before your dinner or after your lunch.

Not in the mood for seafood but want reasonably priced food, a kids menu that won’t hike up your bill, live music, and a local vibe? Don’t miss Tipsy McSway’s in Brunswick.

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.

Explore Georgia’s Federalist and Colonial Era History

Fort Yargo Yurt

Discussion of Georgia’s historical past usually centers around the Civil War, Trail of Tears, and founding of coastal Georgia. Many residents and visitors forget the rich history of the state’s Federalist and Colonial Era history. This year’s 18th Century Colonial Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park March 27-29 once again celebrates that period in time.

The family-friendly atmosphere is filled with living historians demonstrating life in Georgia when the frontier was filled with new settlers mixing with Native Americans and militias worked to keep citizens safe.

This year’s festival promises to showcase 18th Century craftsmen and women demonstrating their trades, frontier camps, Native American warriors, militia drills, children’s activities, a trading post, weapons, Federalist era music performances. New this year is an 18th Century style tavern.

During your visit to the park, be sure to plan time to check out the 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians and, if the weather is warm enough, spend some time at the 260-acre lake.

If you fancy staying overnight to take advantage of all the part has to offer, I recommend staying in one of the park’s yurts or cottages, some of which are pet-friendly and all of which include access to bathrooms and showers.

Want to visit more sites featuring Georgia’s pre-1800s history? Check out:

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.