Pet-friendly Festivals Near Atlanta

Many city ordinances demand that dogs stay away from festival grounds. However, these pet-friendly Georgia festivals are especially for pups and their proud owners.

DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, Atlanta (Sept. 10, 2016)

DogFest-WalknRoll

Photo from Canine Companions for Independence

The Atlanta Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence will host the annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll in a new location this year: Atlantic Station. Attendees are invited to enjoy live musical entertainment, food, games, canine demonstrations, and a costume contest.

Woofstock, Smyrna (Oct. 1, 2016)

Billed as “Atlanta’s Largest Pet Party in the Park,” Woofstock is complete with canine contests, food vendors, live entertainment, and a fair amount of festival food. Dogs, cats and pets of all kinds are welcome, but all animals MUST be on a leash.

Howl-O-Weenie, Jonesboro (Oct. 1, 2016)

HowlOWeenie-DREAM-Dachshund-Rescue

Photo from DREAM Daschund Rescue, Facebook.

Each year, right before Halloween, the DREAM Dachshund Rescue hosts their annual Howl-O-Weenie benefit complete with dachshund-centric festivities such as races and contests. There are also microchip opportunities, food trucks, beer sales and abundant photo opportunities.

Boxerstock, Marietta (Oct. 23, 2016)

Boxerstock

Photo from Boxerstock, Facebook.

Four-legged family members are welcome to attend the all-day Boxerstock music festival, held each year at Jim Miller Park. Humans are, of course, welcome to attend, as well. This pet-friendly and family-friendly festival truly has something for everyone to enjoy!

Run for the Rescues 5K and Festival, Suwanee (March 25, 2017)

RunfortheRescues

Photo from Georgia SPCA Run for the Rescues 5K, Facebook.

Is your dog your running partner? Enter this pet-friendly race! Dogs are welcome to run, walk and sniff their way through the annual Run for the Rescues 5K and Festival benefiting the Georgia SPCA.

Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn (April 15 – June 4, 2017)

garenfest-dynamo-dogs-web

Photo from the Georgia Renaissance Festival

Alongside the meat on a stick and grog is a man’s best friend during the annual pet-friendly weekend at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Animals must be registered and have proof of shots to attend.

Tails on Trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs

Tails on Trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs

Can’t make it to a festival with your pup? Enjoy a hike on one of Georgia’s pet-friendly trails at state parks. Georgia State Parks offers a Tails on Trails Club, which allows members to earn a t-shirt for a human and bandana for a dog by hiking trails at seven parks around the state.

Find more pet-friendly trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org, and share photos with us using #exploregeorgiapup!

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.

5 Fun Fall Small-Town Festivals

Not all the great festivals happen in Georgia’s big cities. Smaller, quieter towns throughout the state of Georgia offer festivals that are great fun for the whole family.

Dahlonega Trail Fest, Dahlonega (Sept. 9-11, 2016)

Appalachian Trail Marker on Springer Mountain via Shutterstock

Appalachian Trail Marker on Springer Mountain via Shutterstock

Explore the gateway to the Southern start of the Appalachian Trail with a weekend full of festivities for your whole family at Dahlonega Trail Fest. Based in the easily explored North Georgia town of Dahlonega, the festival features a schedule filled with music, films, presentations and (of course) hiking opportunities. There will also be a wine and beer garden, walking tours of the town, 5K and 10K runs, canoe and kayak trips, and chances to take a shuttle to Springer Mountain.

Sum Nelly Arts & Crafts Festival, Summerville (Oct. 1, 2016)

Festivals center around the historic Summerville Depot each weekend in October through mid-November.

Festivals center around the historic Summerville Depot each weekend in October through mid-November.

Since 1972, crowds have been gathering in Summerville for the annual Sum Nelly Arts & Crafts Festival. This year, the event will feature more than 120 arts, crafts and food vendors selling alongside live entertainment throughout Dowdy Park.

Georgia Marble Festival, Jasper (First full weekend in October)

Marble-Festival

Historic Tate Marble Quarry plays home to the annual Georgia Marble Festival, which will entertain guests with plenty of activities, including a road race, parade, fine arts exhibit, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, an area especially for children and tours of the quarry.

Kolomoki Festival, Blakely (Oct. 8, 2016)

Explore the Indian Mounds at Kolomoki Mounds State Park

Explore the Indian Mounds at Kolomoki Mounds State Park

Just outside of downtown Blakely is Kolomoki Mounds State Park, which hosts an annual Kolomoki Festival showcasing the history of Georgia. The 2016 festival will be filled with delicious festival food, shopping, boat tours, Native American cultural demonstrations, live musical performances, an antique tractor parade, and children’s area complete with arts, crafts and an inflatable slide.

Hogansville Hummingbird Festival, Hogansville (Oct. 15-16, 2016)

Peachtree City artist Laura Gfelner painted the signature artwork for this fall’s Hummingbird Festival.

Peachtree City, Ga., artist Laura Gfelner painted the signature artwork for this fall’s Hummingbird Festival. See more of her work at the festival Oct. 15-16. Photo from Facebook.

During two days in October, historic downtown Hogansville comes alive with an old-fashioned Hogansville Hummingbird Festival, featuring food, crafts, antiques, live music, local artists selling artisan crafts, open stores, rides, and a section just for children. All proceeds benefit the Hogansville Charitable Trust, an organization created to help restore and preserve historic and municipal properties.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorerand the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

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.

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.

10 Georgia Festivals You’ll Want To Go To This August

When you’re making your plans for August, be sure to add these Georgia festivals and parades to your itinerary.

Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival

Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival

Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival, Dillard (August 5-6, 2016) – Each year, the town of Dillard serves up two full days of fun that’s finger lickin’ good. Over 50 different teams will compete in the Georgia State Championship Cook-off, which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. There will also be a number of bluegrass music performers. Ticket required for entry.

Old Soldiers Day Parade, Alpharetta (August 8, 2016) – It may not be a full blown festival, but the annual Old Soldiers Day parade is a lot of fun for children and adults of all ages. Plus, it’s a great excuse to explore the fresh face of downtown Alpharetta. Free to attend.

Old Soldiers Day Parade in Alpharetta

Old Soldiers Day Parade in Alpharetta

Butterfly Festival, Dunwoody (August 20, 2016)Dunwoody Nature Center hosts this annual festival, which is a family-friendly favorite among DeKalb County residents and visitors. In addition to two large butterfly tents filled with hundreds of live butterflies, attendees can enjoy a Birds of Prey show, live animal encounters, games, educational booths, crafts, music, food and drinks. Ticket required for entry.

Dunwoody Nature Center's Butterfly Festival

Dunwoody Nature Center’s Butterfly Festival

Brooklet Peanut Festival, Brooklet (August 20, 2016) – This annual festival features arts and crafts, food, live entertainment, a Peanut Run, parade, and street dance. Free to attend.

German Bierfest, Atlanta (August 20, 2016) – From 2-7 p.m. adults are invited to partake in samples of over 35 authentic German beers in a prelude to Oktoberfest. Atlanta area German restaurants will be serving authentic German food including bratwurst, käsepätzle, pretzels, sauerkraut, and schnitzel. There will also be live music and a number of outdoor activities. Ticket required for entry.

Do the chicken dance at German Bierfest Atlanta. Photo from Facebook

Do the chicken dance at German Bierfest Atlanta. Photo from Facebook

Tomato Festival, Young Harris (August 20, 2016) – Enjoy a day filled with day of wine, food, and live music suitable for the entire family. Add to your fun by enjoying a hay ride, a fishing derby especially for kids, and wine tasting especially for adults. Ticket required for entry.

Imagine Music Festival, Hampton (August 26-28, 2016) – Voted a Top 300 festival in the world by Fest300, and Top Ten Emerging Music Festivals by USA Today, Imagine Music Festival sets up at Atlanta Motor Speedway for three days of EDM performances alongside cirque style acts. Camping is welcome. Ticket required for entry.

Imagine Music Festival. Photo Credit DV Photography

Imagine Music Festival. Photo Credit DV Photography

Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival, Kennesaw (August 26-27, 2016) – Competition is the name of the game at this festival, which features a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned competition, Anything Butt and Peach Dessert Contests, and a a Kids’ Que cook-off. There will also be over 200 vendors in addition to kid-friendly fun. Free to attend.

Fort Frederica National Monument NPS Centennial Living History Festival, St. Simons Island (August 27, 2016) – Fort Frederica not only served a critical role in making the United States the shape it is today, it’s also the site of a fun family-friendly festival that will explore its role in that history. Free to attend.

Meet historical characters at Fort Frederica on St. Simons during the Living History Festival Aug. 27, 2016.

Meet historical characters at Fort Frederica on St. Simons during the Living History Festival Aug. 27, 2016.

Festival Peachtree Latino, Atlanta (August 28, 2016) – Georgia’s Latino community is invited to spend a day at Piedmont Park enjoying the largest family and multicultural event in the Southeastern United States. Free to attend.

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.