If it’s fall, there must be a festival somewhere

Whether it is celebrating the arts, food, or the season, there is a festival with your name on it
The Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay honors tree-ripened mountain apples throughout two weekends. Contributed by Georgia Apple Festival

The Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay honors tree-ripened mountain apples throughout two weekends. Contributed by Georgia Apple Festival

Pre-pandemic (isn’t everything these days “pre-pandemic”), the coming of fall meant festivals. Yes, churches, schools, artists, municipalities and foodies would gather to celebrate, delight in a cause and have fun.

“The air is brisk and it’s the season where you want to be outside,” says Randall Fox, executive director of the Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival, which is resuming after a pandemic break. “The weather is comfortable and you just want to enjoy being outside. And, I think people are excited that festivals are back, even if they may be pared back a bit.” The Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival is being “very socially conscious” and reduced the number of artist booths to around 100, down from the usual 150, and there will be fewer food trucks this year.

The King of Pops stand is always popular at the Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of Sher Pruitt.

Credit: Courtesy of Sher Pruitt

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Credit: Courtesy of Sher Pruitt

One group that is especially ecstatic for the return of festivals is artists. “All artists, but especially the local ones, were really hit hard by COVID last year,” Fox says. “The arts were shut down and we’re really happy that folks will be coming out and supporting the artists. They need it more than most groups; that’s how they make their living.”

Before going to a festival, it is advisable to ensure the festival hasn’t been cancelled at the last minute. You’ll also want to review their policy on masks and proof of vaccinations.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution compiled a list of some of the many and varied festivals happening around the metro area.

Fall Fun

The Georgia Apple Festival is back for two weekends with more than 300 vendors offering food, art, hand-crafted items, craft demonstrations, an antique auto show, and the Apple Festival parade. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 9, 16; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10, 17. $5 adults, children under 10 free. Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, 1729 South Main St., Ellijay. 706-636-4500, georgiaapplefestival.org.

October 17, 2015 Atlanta - Ryan Vila (center) marches down Moreland Ave. during the Little Five Points Halloween Parade in Atlanta on Saturday, October 17, 2015. The annual parade brought out tens of thousands of people to watch the antics. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

Credit: Jonathan Phillips

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Credit: Jonathan Phillips

The Little Five Point Halloween Festival, also known as Monster Fest, is a two-day event featuring ghoul appearances, costume contests, a Monster Ball, artist market, Cocktail Parade and Haunted Market — all with that special Little Five Points flair. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 16; Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 17. Free, except for Ghost Tours. Little Five Points Community Center on Euclid Avenue and Findley Plaza, Atlanta. l5phalloween.com.

Milton’s Crabapple Fest features more than 100 local antique and art vendors as well as a variety of food offerings. Don’t worry about missing your favorite football game; the big games will be shown on an oversized screen. Sponsored by the City of Milton and the Crabapple Community Association, it is not only family-friendly, but pets are welcomed as well.10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2. Free. Crabapple Road in downtown Milton. 678-242-2500, cityofmiltonga.us

The North Georgia Mountains provide the perfect scenic background for the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival. The nine-day event features arts and crafts, educational demonstrations, carnival rides, cooking contests, and musical performances. Among the performers are Tracy Lawrence, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Pam Tillis, Lee Greenwood, Ronnie Milsap and Mark Wills. 10 a.m. Oct. 8-16. One-day pass: $12; 3-day pass: $33; Nine-day pass: $90. 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee. 706-896-4191, georgiamountainfairgrounds.com.

The largest fall fair in the metro area, the North Georgia State Fair is a fun-packed event with attractions such as Brian Ruth: Master of the Chainsaw and the Robinsons Racing Pigs & Paddling Porkers, as well as musical performances, including those by Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Gabby Barrett and Mark Wills. A fan favorite is The beauty contests are a fan favorite, including the Beautiful Baby contest. 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 23, Sept. 27-30; 4 p.m.-midnight Sept. 24, Oct. 1; 10 a.m.-midnight Sept. 25, Oct. 2; 12:30 p.m.- 10 p.m. Oct. 3. $10. Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta. 770-528-8989, northgeorgiastatefair.com.

The Eudora Farms Petting Zoo is a favorite of young and old alike at the Georgia National Fair. Photo courtesy of the Georgia National Fair.

Credit: courtesy of the Georgia National Fair

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Credit: courtesy of the Georgia National Fair

The Georgia National Fair will feature almost everything one expects in a state fair: livestock competitions, entertainers, horse shows, home and fine arts vendors, lots of fair food (cotton candy, fried peanuts and BBQ) and musicians including Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, 98 Degrees and the Commodores. 3-10 p.m. Oct. 7; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 8-17. Day pass: $25; Season pass: $95. 401 Larry Walker Parkway, Perry. 478-987-3247, georgianationalfair.com.

Presented by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, the Fall Festival on Ponce features more than 125 displays of local and regional fine arts and crafts along with folk and outsider art. Taking place in Olmsted Linear Park, festival goers — and their dogs — will enjoy local food trucks, beverages, a children’s play area and live acoustic music. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 9; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10. Free. Olmsted Linear Park, 1451 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. festivalonponce.com


You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival. Local restaurants as well as BBQ connoisseurs will prepare brisket, beef ribs, chicken and ground beef under the direction of the Atlanta Kashruth Commission to ensure it is fully compliant with kosher food handling requirements. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 17. $20-$50; Dinner and a Movie: $17-$50. Brook Run Park, 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. 770-580-3897, theatlantakosherbbq.com.

Restaurants from all over the metro area will showcase their talents at the Slingin’ Wings Festival, including Taco Mac, the Wing Shack, HOBNOB, Soul Truckin Good, J&R BBQ and the WNB Factory. In addition to the wings, there will be frosty brews, local music and contests. A portion of proceeds will benefit Releash Atlanta, which rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in the state. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 9. $18. Heritage Sandy Springs, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. slinginwingsfestival.com.

Celebrate Nigeria’s independence at A Taste of Nigeria, which will also showcase the country’s art, drama, music, dance, comedy, fashion and crafts. Noon-7 p.m. Oct. 23. $10. 1789 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta. atasteofnigeria.com.

The nation’s biggest pizza event is heading south from Boston to Atlanta for the first time. The Atlanta Pizza Festival will bring together top pizzerias as well as performances from local musicians, live entertainment and a variety of beverages. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 2. $15, VIP: $35. Pinnacle Parking lot at Atlantic Station, 1371 Market St. NW, Atlanta. atlpizzafestival.com.

Art and Music Festivals

The Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival is back and will feature painting, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry, woodwork and handcrafted items. The festival also will offer live music in the amphitheater, local food vendors, drinks, a children’s area, art demonstrations and games. It’s also convenient to the Beltline’s Eastside Trail, and dogs are welcome. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3. Free. Historic Fourth Ward Park 592 N. Angier Ave., Atlanta. 404-873-1222, oldfourthwardparkartsfestival.com.

Music returns to Atlanta with the Shaky Knees Festival, which will feature such top acts as the Foo Fighters, St. Vincent, Alice Cooper and the Strokes. More than 60 bands will perform, and there will be lots of food options ranging from barbecue to vegetarian-friendly corn dogs. There are four stages with different time schedules, but doors open at 11:30 a.m. each day with the last band playing until 11 p.m. Oct. 22-24. $99-$7400. Central Park 400 Merritts Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-222-7275. shakykneesfestival.com.

H.E.R, Lil Wayne and the Isley Brothers are three of the entertainers performing at One Musicfest, the Southeast’s largest two-day urban progressive music festival. Not only will there be music but more than 35 food vendors and a Visual Artist Village with more than 20 artists showcasing their wares. Noon- 11 a.m. Oct. 9; noon-10 p.m. Oct. 10. $99-$540. Centennial Olympic Park, 235 Andrew Young International Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 404-443-5090, onemusicfest.com.

The Magnolia Fine Arts Festival celebrates all facets of the arts, including traditional, digital, jewelry, wood, dance, word, song or any other artistic expression. In addition to art, there will be other events, food, a kids’ corner and entertainment. The family-friendly festival benefits Fayette County school art programs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 16; Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 17. Free. Drake Field 155 Willowbend Road, Peachtree City. magnoliaartsfestival.org.

Nationally and locally recognized musicians will perform original songs and tell the stories that inspired them at the Wire & Wood Music Festival. More than 30 musicians, including Ruthie Foster, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and Emily Hackett, will perform on six stages. 5-11 p.m. Oct. 8-9. Free. Downtown Alpharetta 20 St. Main St., Alpharetta. 770-241-4566, wireandwoodalpharetta.com.

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is the nation’s largest self-producing platform for Afro-centric theatre and presents a curated selection of theater productions showcasing African descendants across the diaspora. There will be performances, panels, workshops, classes, and monologue competitions. Times and prices vary. Oct. 28-30. Hilton Atlanta Hotel, 255 Courtland St, Atlanta; Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton. atlantabtf.org.

The Johns Creek Arts Festival will feature 130 whimsical and fun artists from around the county who will display and sell pottery, metalwork, folk art, glass, jeweler and yard art. There will also be a food court, children’s art pavilion, parent’s rest tent, kids zone and music. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 16; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 17. Free. Green space across from the Atlanta Athletic Club, 1930 Bobby Jones Drive, Johns Creek. splashfestivals.com/events-festivals/johns-creek-arts-festival.

The AJC Decatur Book Festival will be both virtual and on YouTube. Photo Courtesy of the AJC Decatur Book Festival.


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The 16th annual AJC Decatur Book Festival will be both an in-person and virtual experience. The festival, whose theme is Diverse Voices Building Community, will feature five adult and young adult events onsite as well as one picture book panel, along with bookseller and food vendor pop-ups. The events will be on YouTube. 10:15 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Oct. 2. Free. First Baptist Church of Decatur 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur. 678-570-2041, decaturbookfestival.com.

International Festivals

The Serbian Festival of Atlanta will serve traditional Serbian food along with art, dancing and Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian folk dancers. In addition there will be tours of the church. Sts. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 2; noon- 6 p.m. Oct. 3. $5. 1558 Hewatt Road SW, Lilburn. serbfestatlanta.

Celebrate Hispanic heritage at the 5th annual Conyers Latin Festival with live entertainment, vendors and a kid’s zone. This celebration observes the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 3. Free. Olde Town Conyers, Historic Train Depot, 901 Railroad St., Conyers. 678-806-5677, unidoslatinoassociation.org.

Atlanta Canada Fest celebrates all things Canadian with street hockey for kids, favorite dishes and Canadian musicians including the Strictly Hip and the Mahones. A portion of the sales goes to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Noon Oct. 9. $25. Thos. O’Reilly Public House, 227 Sandy Springs Place, Sandy Springs. 770-630-0903, atlantacanadafest.com.