Dive into these 7 fabulous fall festivals

It’s hard to imagine while still in the dog days of summer, but fall is around the corner. And with it, the festivals and events that bring us together for food, music, and art and activities. This September and October, Georgia promises cool air, the flavors of fall, and celebrations of music, community, history and art. Be sure not to miss these seven Georgia fall festivals:

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Grape Stomp Festival

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 4, Paradise Hills Resort, 366 Paradise Rd, Blairsville, www.paradisehillsga.com.

Nestled in the cascading hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Paradise Hills Resort, a boutique farm winery. This magical venue is the perfect backdrop for the annual Grape Stomp Festival, which includes grape stomping. Other festivities include a lip-smacking good barbecue food truck, local craft vendors, and live music from Rhonda Funk and the Garrett Wheeler Band. Tickets are $25 and come with a souvenir wine glass.

Helen Oktoberfest

Various times, Sept. 9 through Nov. 7, Helen Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, www.helenchamber.com.

In its 50th year, the Helen Oktoberfest is actually the longest-running Oktoberfest in the United States. Boasting everything from beer to bratwurst, polka to Lederhosen, the Helen Oktoberfest runs from September 9 through November 7. Hosted first in the Helen Festhalle and spilling out into the entire town, Helen’s main hall is transformed each year into a thriving communal place, with rows of long tables to facilitate the sense of Gemütlichkeit (friendship).

Hotel accommodations can grow scarce during Oktoberfest, so make reservations early. And be sure to check out a few of the favorite places to eat, drink and be merry in town, including Hofer’s of Helen, Cafe International, The Troll Tavern, Muller’s Famous Fried Cheese Cafe and Hofbrauhaus. Tickets are $8 Monday-Friday, $10 Saturday and free on Sunday. Active and retired military are free with valid ID.

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival

11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 18, Downtown Blue Ridge City Park, East Main St, Blue Ridge, www.blueridgebluesandbbq.com.

Be sure to bring a lawn chair with you when you visit the Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival in downtown Blue Ridge Sep. 18. The festival boasts a line-up of funky blues artists that start at noon and play into the night, alongside decadent barbecue and beers from regional chefs and breweries. Tickets are $10, available online and at the gate.

Suwanee Fest

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 18, Noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 19, City of Suwanee, 330 Town Center Ave, Suwanee, www.suwaneefest.com.

Suwanee’s annual two-day celebration of community returns this fall with nearly 200 vendors offering handcrafted items and delicious delights. Festival-goers will also have plenty of entertainment throughout the park, complete with dance groups, solo acts, bands and other diverse exhibition groups. The best thing about Suwanee Fest is that admission is free, which allows more room for purchase from unique vendors and local shops.

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Wire & Wood Music Festival

5-11 p.m. Oct. 8-9, Downtown Alpharetta, 20 S Main St, Alpharetta, www.wireandwoodalpharetta.com.

The Wire & Wood music festival returns for its eighth year in downtown Alpharetta on October 8 and 9. More than 30 national and local singer-songwriters will perform their own original works on stages throughout downtown. In addition to music, fans can enjoy cuisine from nearby restaurants and food trucks. Ruthie Foster and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors are this year’s main headlines, with more acts to be announced soon. Admission is free.

Braselton Antique & Artisan Festival

Noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24, Downtown Braselton, 115 Harrison St, Braselton, www.vintagemarkets.net.

The weekend of October 23, over 250 local vendors and food trucks will line the streets of downtown Braselton for the Braselton Antique & Artisan Festival. It’s a picker’s delight — you never know what you might find amongst antiques, local artwork, boutiques, home decor, rustics and good old junk. Admission is free and so is the parking.

Rhythm & Brews Festival

5-10:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Sandy Creek Barn, 1580 Hatchers Run, Greensboro, www.opas.org.

Now in its fifth year, the Rhythm & Brews Festival has solidified itself as Lake Oconee’s most noteworthy music event of the fall. Previous headliners include John Popper of Blues Traveler, Collective Soul, Drivin N Cryin, and Scott Stapp of Creed. This year’s lineup includes Sister Hazel, with an additional act to be announced.

The festival, presented by the Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS) and Reynolds Lake Oconee, includes craft beer and wine tasting from more than 30 vendors alongside the evening of music. Gates open at 4:45 p.m., with tasting from 5-7 p.m. and concerts shortly afterward. General admission is $150 and includes craft beer and wine tasting, an unforgettable concert and complimentary parking.

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