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Your complete guide to fall festivals in and around Atlanta and North Georgia

It’s Fall Festival season here, and really, what could be better?

Many of the events -- and trust us, there are many of them --  take place in the Great Outdoors, against a backdrop of powder-blue skies and autumnally-hued leaves.

Breathing in all that healthy fresh air is a great cover for the real reason for being there: Eating more  not-quite-as-healthy food than you can shake a deep fried pie or turkey leg at.

We kid ... slightly. There’s much more to these events, which bring together communities to celebrate heritage, art, music and the spirit of friendly competition to be dubbed the best chili maker or jam preserver in town.

We’ve rounded up dozens of not-to-be-missed festivals taking place in and around metro Atlanta this fall, as well as some worth a slightly longer drive to North Georgia.

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Happy deep fried eating!

SEPTEMBER

Yellow Daisy Festival 

Along with over 500 skilled artisans, there’s live music and, of course, the gorgeous flower show inside Memorial Hall featuring the festival’s namesake blossom. 

Sept. 6-Sept. 9. 10 a.m. - 6p.m. Thursday, Friday; 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m - 5 p.m. Sunday; early bird hours 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. daily. $20 per vehicle (early bird tickets: $5 daily or $10 for entire festival). www.stonemountainpark.com 

 

Crowds flocked to the 2016 Annual Yellow Daisy Festival. The annual festival is celebrated in September during the blooming of a special Yellow Daisy which only grows within 60 miles of Stone Mountain.JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM (JOHN SPINK / AJC)

Chattahoochee Mountain Fair

One of the most eagerly awaited annual events in North Georgia, this has it all: Live entertainment; talent show and tractor display; contests for crafts, canning, livestock and of course, food booths and carnival rides galore. Sept. 7-15, ticket booths open at 5 p.m. weekdays and at 1 p.m. on weekends.  $5 admission; ages 5-12, $3; free for ages 4 and younger. Habersham County Fairgrounds, 4235 Toccoa Highway, Clarkesville. www.chattahoocheemountainfair.org

Gold Rush Festival 

 Marking its 40th year celebrating the location of Georgia’s first gold rush, the festival kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m., features food, crafts and other fun and culminates with music starting at 4 p.m. Headliners: The Velcro Pygmies. 

10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 8. Free. Downtown Villa Rica; music at The Mill, 106 Temple St., Villa Rica. www.downtownvillarica.com  

6 Music Midtown acts to catch this year Kacey Musgraves will perform at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. Janelle Monae will hit the stage Sunday, Sept. 16, at 4:45 p.m. Post Malone will perform during the 9:45 p.m. show Saturday, Sept. 15. Catch Foster the People at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. Newcomer Khalid will perform at 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. Kendrick Lamar will finish out Music Midtown at 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.

Frog Toss Festival 

 Not to worry, no frogs will be harmed during the making of this family friendly event! It features a disc golf tournament, a corn hole tournament, a chili “throwdown,” live music and more. All profits benefit Sweetwater Mission, which battles poverty by providing food, clothing, school supplies and other essential services. 

9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sept. 15. Free, but see web site for entry fees for the tournaments and chili contest. Louise Suggs Memorial Park, 6040 Spring St., Austell. www.sweetwatermission.org

Music Midtown draws huge, appreciative audiences to Piedmont Park, including this one last year for a performance by Future. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC (Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Music Scene with Melissa Ruggieri)

Music Midtown 

Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgrave, Gucci Mane, Post Malone and nearly 30 other top acts will be there during this two-day festival that sprawls across four stages. Will you? And if that’s not enough, the AJC’s Melissa Ruggieri recently reported that Butch Walker will add a special “Music Midtown After Hours” concert to his regular festival gig.

 Sept. 15-16 (doors open at noon both days). $155-$1,250 for two-day tickets. Piedmont Park, Atlanta. www.musicmidtown.com 

Roswell Arts Festival 

Now over 50 years old, this popular two-day event features arts and crafts for sale, sand art, balloon animals, local musicians and dancers and food trucks. 

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sept. 15-16. Free. Historic Town Square, Roswell. www.roswellartsfestival.com 

 

 Suwanee Fest 

 Saturday’s parade kicks off two days of celebration in Town Center Park. Fifteen entertainment acts, from majorettes and Irish Dancers to a Tom Petty tribute band, plus nearly 200 vendors and exhibitors and a feast of food options. 

 9 a.m. (parade starts) -7 p.m. Sept. 15; Noon-5 p.m. Sept. 16. Free. 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee. No parking allowed at park, see web site for location of parking and free shuttle. www.suwaneefest.com 

Drumming is just one of the cultural experiences highlighting this year’s Japan Fest. Taiko Drums(c) Eli Silva Photography

Japan Fest 

 The largest Japanese cultural festival in the Southeast returns with over 120 vendors, performers including Nomura Kyogen Group and Samurai Sword Soul, street food, an anime village and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 15 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 16. $10 advance, $12 at door, free for ages 6 and younger. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth. www.japanfest.org

41st Annual Shakerag Arts & Crafts Festival

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 15 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 16. Free. McIntosh Trail Recreation Complex, 191 McIntosh Trail, Peachtree City. www.peachtree-city.org

Georgia's Spirit of Appalachia Food, Wine & Art Festival

Truly a Made in Georgia festival: Enjoy tastings prepared by celebrity chefs using Georgia products, sample wines from wineries located around the state and see and buy the work of Georgia artists and craftsmen. 

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 15. Free admission, $10 parking. Hardman Farm Historic Site, 143 Ga-17, Sautee Nacoochee. www.whitecountychamber.org

At the Atlanta History Center’s Fall Folklife Festival, Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares interactive Southern folk stories. JASON HALES/ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER (Jason Hales)

Atlanta History Center Fall Folklife Festival

A fascinating annual event exploring southern history, food, crafts and folklore that includes hands-on demonstrations of basket weaving, candle dipping and other tasks in the center’s authentic working venues. Honored guests this year are members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma returning to their ancestral lands. And in keeping with the current “Barbecue Nation” exhibition, this year’s special focus is on barbecue traditions of Native Americans, African Americans and European Americans. There’ll also be live music,  food and craft beers and an artists marketplace.

 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sept. 22 Festival is included with admission: $21.50; senior citizens and students ages 13 and older, $18; ages 4-12 $9. Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. www.atlantahistorycenter.com

Sandy Springs Festival

A nonstop celebration featuring everything from a 5K/10K run and a pet parade to an artists market and a children’s play area. Throw in live musical performances, a Chalk Walk and the flat screen and taps-tricked out “Tailgate Zone,” and two days may not be enough to try everything!

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 22 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 23. Free. Heritage Green, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. www.heritagesandysprings.org

The Sandy Springs Festival brings more than 20,000 people together for live entertainment, 10K and 5K races and a pet parade. This year’s festival will be held Sept. 22-23. CONTRIBUTED (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Rock’n Ribville 

A Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned barbecue competition, vendors selling crafts and other food, and a live music lineup headlined by Little Texas and Journey tribute band Departure? All for a good cause (A portion of proceeds benefits the Lawrenceville Police Benevolent Fund)? Yes, please! 

 Noon-8 p.m. Sept. 22. Free. Lawrenceville Lawn, 210 Luckie Street, Lawrenceville. www.rocknribville.com 

 

Rock n Ribville features live music, vendors and a high-level barbecue competition, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the the Lawrenceville Police Benevolent Fund.

Alpharetta Art in the Park 

 Don’t miss your final chance this year to stroll through a diverse artists market in downtown Alpharetta. 

 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 22. Free. Corner of Main Street & Milton Avenue, Alpharetta. www.awesomealpharetta.com

Baklava sits ready to be devoured during an earlier Atlanta Greek Festival at the  Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The much anticipated annual festival features everything Greek from food (including at a drive-thru!), shopping, performances, live music and tours of the church. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL (Jonathan Phillips)

Atlanta Greek Festival

A beloved fall tradition, this four-day extravaganza offers something for everyone: Dance performances and dance lessons; choral singing and bands playing at “A Night in Athens;” tours, cooking demonstrations, crafts and kids activities. And, of course, food, food and more food from the festival whose motto is “Give us a few hours and we’ll give you a taste of Greece.” There’s even a drive-thru, opening one day before the festival itself, where you can pick up a to-go box of moussaka, souvlaki, pastries and more.

Festival runs Sept. 28-30; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Drive-thru open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 27-29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 30. $5, free for ages 12 and under (see web site for info on ticket packages). Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2500 Clairmont Road, Atlanta. www.atlantagreekfestival.org

Duluth Fall Festival 

 How big is this annual celebration? So big that a Festival Concert (Sept. 22) and Festival Carnival (Sept. 27-30) actually get a jump on the Festival Weekend itself. There’s a parade, road race, live music and dance and even puppeteers and a scarecrow mascot roaming the streets! 

 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 29 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 30 (road race begins at 8 a.m.). Free. Duluth Festival Center, 3142 Hill St., Duluth. www.duluthfallfestival.org 

 

Duluth's annual fall festival is such a big deal, it actually kicks off the weekend before with a concert, followed by a carnival and then two days of nonstop celebration. Photo courtesy of Duluth Fall Festival

Fall Fest in Candler Park 

 This cool intown neighborhood ‘s annual celebration includes a tour of homes, sprawling artists market, “Kidlandia” and live music. Plus a 5K fun run, group yoga and food trucks! 

 Sept. 29-30. Race starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, artists market opens at 11 a.m. both days.Last(first race at 9 a.m., artists market opens at 11 a.m., last music act goes on at 9 pm.) and Sept. 30( artists market opens at 11 a.m., last music act goes on at 8 p.m.). Free. Candler Park and Mclendon Ave N.E., Atlanta. fallfest.candlerpark.org

OCTOBER

Taste of Chamblee

4 p.m-8 p.m. Oct. 6. Free admission, $1 for tasting tickets. Corner of Peachtree Road and Broad St., Chamblee. www.tasteofchamblee.net

Atlanta Pride is the largest gay pride festival in the Southeast. (via Atlanta Pride/for the AJC)

Atlanta Pride Festival 

 The largest pride festival in the Southeast returns to Piedmont Park and other in-town venues for a weekend of live entertainment, exhibits and vendors, plus the Pride Marketplace. There’s a kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium  (ticket prices range from $30-$90) and the not-to-be-missed Pride Parade at noon on Sunday. 

 Oct. 12-14. Free. Piedmont Park, Atlanta. www.atlantapride.org 

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival

They had us at “fiddlers festival.” This nine day event in a gorgeous mountain setting 9-day event features a flower show, big name performers (Mickey Gilley, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin, to name a few), arts and crafts vendors, a pioneer village, the “Wolves of the World” attraction, food and drink and more. And, as host of Georgia’s Official State Fiddlers Convention, a series of competitons on Oct. 20 will lead to the crowning of 2018’s “Georgia Mountain Fiddle King."

Oct. 12-20 (see web site for daily schedule, hours). $12, free for ages 12 and younger. Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. www.georgiamountainfairgrounds.com

"The Carolina Swamp" perform at Oakhurst Porchfest 2015. (Photo courtesy of Jenn Wood)

Oakhurst Porchfest

A unique grassroots community music event where performances take place in people’s yards and -- yes -- on their porches. Over 200 acts are anticipated to perform in a similar number of neighborhood “venues,” which attendees can stroll to take in, while also enjoying similar sorts of pop-up stops selling refreshments, arts and crafts around the community.

Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 13. Free. Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood (see web site for all participating locations). www.oakhurstporchfest.org

 

Historic Dallas Fall Fest 

 Sponsored by the Paulding Fine Arts Association, it’s a chance to enjoy arts and crafts, a wide array of entertainment on two stages , food trucks, oodles of kids activities and more in a picturesque setting. 

 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 13. Free. Main St. and Courthouse Square, Dallas. www.pauldingfinearts.org

Artists work on their chalk drawings during the Chalk Art Competition at the 2017 Chalktoberfest on the Marietta Square in Marietta GA Saturday, October 14, 2017. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC (Steve Schaefer)

Chalktoberfest Chalk and Beer Festival 

 What a pairing! Sidewalk artists chalk the streets, great food and music abound and craft beer and wine are available for sampling in this benefit event for the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art that takes place in and around Marietta Square. 

 General festival: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 13 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 14. Free. Craft Beer and Wine Festival: noon-5 p.m. Oct. 13 only. $40-$45. 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. www.chalktoberfest.com

Taste of Acworth 

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 13. Main St., Acworth. Free. www.acworthtourism.org

Hot air balloons light up the sky above Kennesaw during a recent Owl-O-Ween CONTRIBUTED BY I WALLY / KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY

Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival

Enjoy this family friendly event featuring live entertainment and roving performers, tethered ballon rides, a merchant marketplace and artists alley, food trucks and a food court, a beer and wine garden, costume “showdowns,” trick-or-treating at the balloons and so much more. 

6 p.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 19 and 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 20. Discounted admission tickets sold through Oct. 12 or until they run out: $14; ages 3-12, $6; free for ages 2 and younger. Full price admission: $19; ages 3-12, $9; free for ages 2 and younger. VIP tickets also available (see web site for information and prices). Tethered balloon rides: $15. Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park, 3200 George Busbee Parkway, Kennesaw. www.owl-o-ween.com

The climbing wall at the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay. Contributed by Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce (For the AJC)

Georgia Apple Festival

Spread across two weekends in a gorgeous North Georgia setting, this year’s 47th festival features a parade, 5K run, the Apple Queen Pageant, arts and crafts displays, hundreds of vendors and more apples than you can shake a tree at! Oct. 13-14 and Oct. 20-21; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. both Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both Sundays. $5, free for ages 10 and younger. Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds. 1729 South Main Street, Ellijay. www.georgiaapplefestival.org

Brookhaven Arts Festival

Discover a world of artistry in this two-day event spotlighting over 140 artists working in painting, photography, glass, jewelry, mixed media and other specialities. There’s also a juried art show, a classic car show on Sunday, food and drink vendors, live musical performances and kids’ activities.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 20 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21. Free. 4047 Peachtree Road N.E. on Apple Valley Road behind the Brookhaven MARTA station, Atlanta (free parking in MARTA lot). Or take MARTA to the Brookhaven stop on the Gold line. www.brookhavenartsfestival.com

Taste of Atlanta

More than 90 restaurants will offer up delectables, chefs and hospitality experts will demonstrate on three separate stages and lead classes and the ongoing Barcraft Competition culminates in the naming of the winning mixologist.

Kickoff Party 6:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 19, noon-6 p.m. Oct. 20-21. Kickoff Party (ages 21 and older only) $85 plus fees; $25 and $75 (plus fees) Oct. 20 and Oct. 21. Historic Fourth Ward Park, 680 Dallas St NE, Atlanta (the park is also accessible from the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta Beltline) www.tasteofatlanta.com

Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade

Where better to celebrate this most colorful holiday than in Atlanta’s most colorful neigbhorhood? Get a jump on Halloween by watching an outrageously fun parade wind through L5P’s streets and a backdrop of food vendors, an artist market and more. 

 Noon-11 p.m., Oct. 20. Free. Little Five Points (Moreland and Euclid Avenues), Atlanta. Free. www.l5phalloween.com

Just another day in Little Five Points, where the annual Halloween Festival and Parade is set for Oct. 20. ((Hyosub Shin) / hshin@ajc.com) (Hyosub Shin)

Chastain Horse Park Fall Family Spectacular

Spend the day at the horse park in the heart of Buckhead and enjoy guided barn tours, pony rides, a horse costume parade and horseback archery demonstration and other equine activities. There’ll also be a hay bale maze, food, drink and games. 

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 20. Free. 4371 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta. www.chastainhorsepark.org

Decatur Craft Beer Festival 

 Spend the afternoon enjoying live bands and a DJ and unlimited sips from over 80 breweries. Plus, your admission ticket gets you a souvenir glass! Note: You must be 21 or older to attend. 

 Noon-5 p.m, Oct. 20. $50 (limited number of $100 VIP tickets available). Decatur Square, Decatur. www.decaturbeerfestival.com

Festival on Ponce

Set against the verdant backdrop of a Fredrick Olmsted Sr.-designed park, this festival features some 125 exhibitions of arts and crafts, folk and outsider art; a children’s area and a wide variety of food and drink offerings.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 20 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21. Free. Olmstead Linear Park, 1451 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. www.festivalonponce.com

The four-day Native American Festival and Pow Wow showcases Native American culture through dance, music, authentic craft demonstrations, storytelling and more. (Jonathan Phillips/Special/For the AJC)

NOVEMBER

Native American Festival and Pow Wow

A celebration of Native American culture through traditional, storytelling, music, dance, craft demonstrations and much more. Go inside a tipi, watch expert demonstrations of bow-making and fire starting and thrill to intertribal dance and drum competitions featuring Native Americans from all over the U.S. and Central America.

9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 1-2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 4. Admission included with All Attractions Pass, see web site for pricing. Stone Mountain Park Historic Square, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. www.stonemountainpark.com 

Jessica Sherrill (right), Kimberly Odum and Sean Martin turn in their chili entry to Chris McCain during the 12th annual Cabbagetown Chomp & Stomp in Atlanta on Saturday, November 1, 2014. The one day festival attracts tens of thousands of people to taste chili, look at art, listen to music and celebrate the historic neighborhood. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL (Jonathan Phillips)

Cabbagetown Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival 

 5K run at 8 a.m., followed by teams and restaurants competing for chili supremacy, live music and an artists market. 

 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 3. Tickets: Chili $5 cash, $6 credit; Beer $6; Liquor $8. Cabbagetown neighborhood (abuttingOakland Cemetery) in East Atlanta. www.chompandstomp.com 

 

Chastain Park Arts Festival 

 Arts and crafts, gourmet food trucks, acoustic musicians, all in a beautiful park setting. 

 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 3 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 4. Free. 4469 Stella Drive N.W. Atlanta. www.chastainparkartsfestival.com 

 

Sample more than 100 premium wines from around the world, including those from several Georgia wineries, on Nov. 7 at Suwanee Wine Fest. (Courtesy of Suwanee Wine Fest)

Suwanee Wine Festival 

 Enjoy unlimited samples of 150 different wines from around the world, live music, art vendors and more. 

 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 3 (Noon entry for VIP ticket holders). $45, $55 starting Oct. 21. VIP tickets $99. Town Center Park, 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee. www.suwaneewinefest.com

Taste of Kennesaw

More than 40 local restaurants dish out samples, there’s live music and a kids play area and a “Culinary Throwdown” between four high school teams.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 3. Free admission, $1-$4 per food sample. 2829 Cherokee Street, 

Kennesaw. www.kennesaw.com

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