5 Places to See Butterflies in Georgia


Photo courtesy wallpaperswide.com

1.) Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens – No day at Callaway Gardens is complete without a visit to the multi-story, LEED-certified building, which features 1,000+ butterflies flying freely around visitors’ heads. Admission to the building is included with your admission to the gardens.

2.) Flying Colors Butterfly Festival – Taking place at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, this annual festival puts butterflies front and center, providing families educational experiences during a whole day of fun. This year’s festival is set for June 6 and 7.

Butterfly Festival 2014

Photo courtesy Dunwoody Nature Center

3.) Butterfly Festival at the Dunwoody Nature Center – Each autumn the Dunwoody Nature Center hosts a day of butterfly-centric, family-friendly fun. This year’s festival is set for August 15, and it is recommended that you purchase tickets ahead of time.

4.) Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center – While the central attraction to the Museum and Nature Center is the Savannah River’s rich boating industry, visitors have the opportunity to explore the grounds, including a butterfly garden that was restored in 2007.

5.) Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden – Located in the heart of Atlanta, the garden is managed by its surrounding community. With plenty of space to run and play within its 210 acres, the site is also close to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum.

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 Georgia Air Shows and Balloon Festivals

The Great Georgia Air Show

Photo courtesy of The Great Georgia Air Show

Let your spirit soar with these high-flying festivals happening in Georgia this summer and fall!

1.)  Good Neighbor Day Open House Air Show – On Saturday, May 30, guests from across the Southeastern United States are invited to gather at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport’s annual Good Neighbor Day and Open House. The event is free to attend, though there is a $10 parking fee.

2.)  Helen-Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race – Look to the skies as the United States’ only long distance hot air balloon race rises over the Alpine Village of Helen starting June 4. While the competition to the Atlantic continues throughout the weekend, other balloonists will compete in events in Helen with balloon flights each day.

3.)  Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival – Go up, up, and away on Labor Day weekend at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain.  In addition to the regular Callaway Gardens lineup of fun, the festival offers days filled with entertainment, family activities, exhibits, demonstrations, music and more between balloon launches.

4.)  Tunes and Balloons – On September 12, Middle Georgia State College lights up the night with a family-friendly festival. By moving from its usual springtime date, the festival hopes to offer guests a larger, more festive event.

Tunes & Balloons

Photo by Heidi Haun, courtesy of the International Cherry Blossom Festival

5.)  Harvest Balloon Festival – The shores of Looper Lake in Hall County are home to this event which will feature festival fun, pumpkin carving, concerts, food, live entertainment, and more all to benefit local charities.

6.)  Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival – Running October 23-24, the annual Kennesaw event will feature a whole stadium filled with family-friendly fun. Balloon glows, trick-or-treating, tethered balloon rides, Oktoberfest beer garden, live music, vendor marketplace, sports bars, artist market, food trucks, roving entertainment, interactive kids area, live concert, and more!

7.)  Wings Over Georgia Air Show – The first weekend in October, parachute teams and stunt planes will perform for crowds at Richard Regional Airport in Rome. In addition to the high-flying fun, there will be camping, a Saturday night concert featuring The Charlie Daniels Band, barbecue competition, and a fireworks show.

8.)  Boshears Skyfest & Fly-In – This annual Augusta event has been moved to mid-October, but the same type of fun as in years past will continue. In addition to the usual air show fun, there will be an appearance by the Discovery Channel’s Airplane Repo cast and a classic car show.

9.)  The Great Georgia Air Show – Halloween weekend the fun of air flight comes to Peachtree City for the annual air show. But, it’s not just about airplanes. Helicopters, and monster trucks will be available to ride while Blue Angel and stunt plane performances are the highlights of the show.

10.)  Harmony Jubilee – Spend the first weekend in November flying high above Fitzgerald, or don’t, it’s your choice. Either way, there will be something fun to enjoy at this annual hot air balloon themed festival.

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.

12 Summer Arts Festivals in Georgia


Photo courtesy of Alpharetta Art in the Park

1.)  Decatur Arts Festival (Decatur, GA) – When you plan your Memorial Day weekend, plan on making a stop in Decatur, Georgia for the annual Decatur Arts Festival. On Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, an artist market, live musical performances, improvisational and stand-up comedy, a children’s festival and parade, literary events, dance performances and more will take over the downtown area.

2.)  Spring Arts in the Park (Blue Ridge, GA) – On May 23 and 24, 2015, this twice-annual celebration of the arts comes to Downtown City Park in Blue Ridge, Georgia. In addition to the festival fun, the community invites visitors to enjoy the Blue Ridge Community Theater, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Swan Drive-In Theater, and surrounding forested hiking opportunities.

3.)  Blairsville Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival (Blairsville, GA) – Gospel music is presented alongside arts and crafts by regional vendors during the Memorial Day weekend festival. While you’re there, be sure to make time to explore nearby Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain peak in Georgia and Vogel State Park  which is a the base of Blood Mountain where a loop trail takes you to Trahlyta Falls.

4.)  Alpharetta Art in the Park (Alpharetta, GA) – This monthly festival features local artists and artisans on the last full weekend of each month, May through September. The first event of 2015 will be in downtown Alpharetta May 30 & 31. When you’re done shopping the festival goods, be sure to stop by downtown’s quaint businesses to shop for clothing and gifts.

5.)  Flower & Liturgical Arts Festival (Clayton, GA)  – St. James Episcopal Church in Clayton will serve as the home for this unique festival on June 12 & 13, 2015, which celebrates the scenery and surroundings of the North Georgia town along with religious artwork.

6.)  Roswell Lavender Festival (Roswell, GA) – On June 13, 2015, the grounds of Barrington Hall will again transform into Roswell Lavender Festival. The family-friendly event will feature children’s activities, The Zen Zone, live music, food, arts and crafts for sale, a beer and wine garden, and more. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the historic home that was once owned by the co-founder of the City of Roswell.

Photo courtesy of  Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival

7.)  Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival (Atlanta, GA) – June 27 & 28, 2015, Atlanta’s beautiful Historic Fourth Ward Park will come alive with the sights and sounds of this festival that features all things local. The event, which runs along the Atlanta BeltLine, will feature fine arts and crafts, a children’s play area, local food and beverage concessions, live acoustic entertainment in the amphitheater, plus a new “Emerging Artists” pavilion for new artists and artisans.

8.)  AthFest Music & Arts Festival (Athens, GA) – Music, art, kid-centric fun, and film all come together for AthFest happening June 24-28, 2015 in downtown Athens.  Three stages dot the festival landscape along with an artist market, club crawl, and a KidsFest celebration across the city at more than 10 venues. All proceeds directly benefit AthFest Educates.

9.)  Sunshine Festival Arts & Crafts Show (St. Simons Island, GA) – Taking over Postell Park Pier Village on Mallory Street the Show brings St. Simon’s Island guests and residents to the water’s edge to enjoy. Over 80 vendors will set up shop July 3-5, 2015 selling goods including jewelry, pottery, photography, vintage clothing, children’s books, birdhouses, prepared dips, snacks and spices.

10.)  Homespun Festival (Rockmart, GA) – This annual festival serves as an emerging artists showcase for locals and brings in regional artists and artisans to round out the bill each year. This year’s event takes place on July 17-18, and in addition to arts and crafts will feature live music, a parade with classic cars, 5K run on the Silver Comet Trail, and fireworks display.

Photo courtesy of Piedmont Park Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of Piedmont Park Arts Festival

11.)  Piedmont Park Arts Festival (Atlanta, GA) – August 14-17, one of Atlanta’s biggest arts festivals takes center stage at the city’s Piedmont Park. The event promises to feature up to 250 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metalwork, glass blowers, jewelers, crafters, artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, an Emerging Artists Pavilion, children’s play area, festival food and beverages, and more.

12.)  National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, GA) – On various dates throughout the summer, year, the Atlanta Black Arts Festival celebrates artists of African descent by showcasing performing arts, literature and visual arts. 2015’s events kick off with the annual gala in July.


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 Uniquely Named Georgia Summer Festivals 


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.

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



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.