Every family has many Christmas traditions that they enjoy preserving. For this writer, one of my family’s favorite things to do is to go drive around and see all the Christmas lights! However, when you’re not from around here, you wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for lights to enjoy. Well, we tried to make it easy for you and stalked as many of our friends pages to locate all the Christmas light displays that you HAVE to go check out!
Each community offers a brief directions, but click on the town name to access a Google map to help you find your way! If you’re a local reading this and know of other places we’re missing please drop a comment or send us a Facebook or Instagram message. Merry Christmas!
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds– Mountain Country Christmas in Lights every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday from November 24-December 13rd. Come early on Saturdays for the Craft Show and stay for the lights 4pm-9pm! Open EVERY night from December 15th-23rd! (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Here you will enjoy beautiful light displays and food ops along with food, music, arts & crafts, hot chocolate, marshmallow, a petting zoo and Santa. Admission is $7 per person and children 12 and under are FREE! On the main drag – Hwy 76 in Hiawassee.
Bugscuffle Road – Through the town of Hiawassee, but before the School. See Uhaul & Parker Oil, next road on left is Bugscuffle. On Hwy 76, just west of Towns County School.
Scataway Road – About 5 minutes past the Towns County School, see sign for Mount Zion Church on left and follow the red glow. Off of Hwy 76, 5 minutes east of town. See Santa on certain nights. As seen on the Great Christmas Light Fight!
Panter House – Gumlog Rd off of Hwy 66 in Young Harris. On the Towns County side of Gumlog.
2021 is over? Already? Although the year went by quickly, we hope it was filled with as much fun, love, and joy for you as it was for us. With the world slowly going back to normal we’ve been happy to have visitors escaping to Blue Ridge once again. While 2021 was a great year, we want to make 2022 even better! Check out our 2022 Blue Ridge Bucket List and see how many of these places & activities you can cross off your list in the New Year!
Smash into the New Year
Smash into the New Year at Tank Town USA in Morganton, GA. If you have ever wanted to be an action movie hero now’s your chance! You’ll feel on top of the world as you drive a tank over cars crushing them flat, drive construction vehicles and fire off machine guns. Grab your friends and have a blast driving big vehicles and crushing everything in sight!
Mercier Orchards is famous for their amazing fried pies of every flavor! Which one will you try? After eating your tasty treats explore the market and stock up on all the goodies. Then pick some of the “in season” fruit, to make your own pies with! And even take a farm tour of the whole orchard to admire all the sights.
Find a Fairy Cross
All over Fannin County, you can find what are called staurolite crystals or what are more commonly known as Fairy Crosses. Legend has it that as the Native Americans embarked on the Trail of Tears, they shed tears of sorrow that fell to the ground and formed tiny crosses of stone. See how many you can find out in nature! And if you have trouble finding them yourself, you can always pick up a few at Pezrok downtown.
Try Something New & Adventurous
It’s a New Year so it’s time to try something new and out of your comfort zone! Live a little! Soar to new heights at Blue Ridge Adventure Park where you can zip through treetops and climb up to 50 feet in the air. Or let someone else do the flying and take a ride with Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours. You’ll get stunning scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains below and see the town from a new and different perspective. Or even hop on the Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen, the first-ever alpine coaster in Georgia! And we can’t forget about the Toccoa Swinging Bridge! Jump on the bridge and give your friends & family quite a scare. We promise it’s nice and sturdy though, and the perfect adventure spot! Seek all kinds of new thrills and have a blast doing it!
Shop & Eat Local
We may be biased but we love our local Blue Ridge shops and restaurants! With dozens of unique stores downtown we’ve got a little bit for everyone! Fashion boutiques, artisan good shops, home décor, pet toys, and so much more. And after you finish a busy day of shopping grab a bite to eat at any of our amazing local restaurants. Some of our favorites are Chesters, The Black Sheep, Rum Cake Lady, and Carroll’s Barbecue. Yum!
Bond with Nature
Become one with nature as you ride horseback through the winding trails of the Chattahoochee National Forest. You and your beautiful steed will bond as you take on a trail ride with Appalachian Trail Rides or Cowgirl Up Stables. Both stables have options for beginners and more advanced riders. Also, get a chance to feel more connected with nature by checking out one of our many local waterfalls. Some of our favorites are Long Branch Falls, Fall Branch Falls, and Amicalola Falls. You’ll feel all your daily stresses roll off your back and finally feel at peace as you listen to the water rush over the rocks. Horseback riding and waterfall chasing; perfect mountain experiences.
Push yourself to new limits as you hike to some of the tallest peaks in Georgia. Some of our favorite mountain hikes are Brasstown Bald, Fort Mountain, and Springer Mountain. The hike up will be strenuous but once you reach the top the views are all worth it. And you’ll be proud of yourself for the hard work you put in to get there. Or you can take to the water instead and try your hand at Whitewater River Rafting. Head over to the Ocoee River and make your way through waves and rapids with a team of others. It’ll be quite a workout but a fun experience you won’t soon forget!
Ride a Train
Many of our guests all time favorite things to do when they come to town is to ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! Enjoy the scenery every season of the year as the train departs from Downtown Blue Ridge and travels through the countryside to the twin cities of Copperhill, TN and McCaysville, GA. The views from the train are beautiful year round but some one of our favorite times to go is in the fall when the leaves are changing. And you can’t forget about the Holiday Express every December where kids will get the chance to meet Santa on this festive ride!
Did you know that Bigfoot wanders the forests of Blue Ridge? You can learn all about him at EXPEDITION: BIGFOOT! The Sasquatch Museum, located just east of the city. You’ll find and explore artifacts, life-sized exhibits, photos and maps of Bigfoot sightings, the Bigfoot research and Tech Vehicle, and so much more. This fun and unique museum is the perfect way to spend an afternoon!
Experience Festivals & Holidays Blue Ridge Style
There are always special and exciting events going on in and around Blue Ridge! Whether it’s for the holidays or one of our usual annual events they are always a blast! You’ll want to experience these great events at least once in your life! Some of our favorite events include:
Fire & Ice Chili Cookoff & Craft Beer Festival: February 19th, 2022
Spring Arts in the Park: May 28th-29th, 2022
Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival: June 25th-June 26th, 2022
Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks: July 4th, 2022
Georgia Wine Highway: August 1st-31st, 2022
Georgia Mountain Fair: August 19th-27th, 2022
Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival: Mid September
Fall Arts in the Park: October 8th & 9th, 2022
Georgia Apple Festival: October 8th-16th, 2022
Light Up Blue Ridge: Last weekend in November
Mountain Country Christmas in Lights: November 24th- December 23rd, 2022
No matter the season we are always ready to provide you with a home base for all your Blue Ridge adventures! Come up in the winter to experience the snow, in the spring where you’ll see nature come alive, in the summer on the waters of Lake Blue Ridge, or in the fall to watch the leaves change colors. We are happy to be your home away from home and thank you for your continued support over the years. We look forward to serving you with your very best mountain vacation in the New Year. Now let’s make 2022 the best year yet!
You never need a specific occasion to Escape to Blue Ridge, but it’s fun to plan trips around fun mountain festivals and events. With that in mind, we are here to help, with some suggestions for Blue Ridge area festivals and special events that are not to be missed this year!
The yin and yang of fire and ice is pretty compelling. Opposites attract, so they say, so this combining of hot and cold is just the thing to attract a crowd. And this festival certainly does that. Thousands are drawn to downtown Blue Ridge, regardless of the weather, to watch ice carving demonstrations and to sample chili concoctions. Some chili is hot, some is cooler, but all have tang and flavor to please a wide range of samplers. It’s a great time of year for this event, usually cool enough to bundle up, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable, but if you are cold, just find a cup of chili with some heat!
This 9th Annual music event, with a Mardi Gras Celebration, is for a good cause benefiting “Snack in a Backpack”. The event features music group the Crossroads Band, Cajun food, masks, dancing, auction, and door prizes. Tickets are $60 per person or $90 per couple for main dining and include appetizers, dinner, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks. Cash bar will be available.
Fast becoming an annual highlight in downtown Blue Ridge, you can walk in the 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade or just watch it anywhere along East or West Main St. Bring a float, be creative, dress festive and of course, the more green, the better!
The Georgia Knifemakers Guild presents a day of blade-related activities include bladesmithing, hawk forging, leather crafting and forge building. Watch, meet and talk with several talented bladesmiths. See what it takes to transform old discarded steel scrap metal into functional works of art. Fine craftsmen from several states attend, some collectors bring their collections to display, knifemaking supply vendors participate and others come just like to look and talk knives. This is a family oriented event open to all with no admission fees, so come join in the fun!
The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival showcases the art of Southern storytelling with an emphasis on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The Festival’s events include two days of outstanding storytelling performances. Workshops will be available for students and visitors to learn storytelling, speaking, and performance skills.
The irony of writing is that writers can only write on their own since collaborative writing is uncommon, but they love to socialize and share the fruit of their labor, so a reason to get together is always welcome! Writers conferences and literary events like this one allow writers to showcase their work and rub elbows with other writers, and readers, who appreciate the skill it takes to produce words on a page. Readings, book signings, seminars, and receptions are all a part of this annual event that celebrates words both written and spoken.
Gain inspiration for your dream home! Meet builders and tour homes that range from 1,600-square feet to 9,000-square feet. Purchase your ticket and take a self-guided tour through twenty stunning properties.
Trout in Georgia come in various sizes, colors and genres (native, brown, rainbow, etc). They are stocked, caught, and eaten in large numbers. And while there are several trout festivals around the state designed to help anglers learn about and appreciate one of America’s favorite fish, there is only one Official Trout Festival – and this is it. The festival includes great exhibits by outdoor organizations and businesses, education on trout fishing, entertainment, food trucks and more in downtown Blue Ridge’s City Park.
Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE admission!
An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!
Arts in the Park is a spring kickoff to the festival season in Blue Ridge and it’s a time when artists of all types fill the expansive Blue Ridge Downtown City Park with activities, performances and even some dancing. More than 200 juried arts, crafts and food booths are featured. This event is often recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society. The Festival is held rain or shine. Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.
Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!
There’s nothing quite like the sound of bagpipes on a lovely summer day – and you’ll hear and see that and more at the Blairsville Scottish Festival. Enjoy pipe and drum bands, a parade of tartans, border collie demonstrations, amateur athletics, children’s games, and more as Blairsville celebrates its Scottish heritage!
What is it about wine and jazz? You almost can’t have one without the other. Well, you can, of course. But why would you want to? Blue Ridge has made it easy to enjoy both at a festival that’s as naturally occurring as jazz and wine can be. All you have to do is show up and there’s jazz, and there’s wine, both peacefully, and perfectly coexisting in an idyllic setting in Blue Ridge.
It’s the ideal 4th of July weekend package: Independence Day in a small patriotic town and several other small, and equally patriotic towns, and a beautiful lake to provide the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Blue Ridge’s Independence Day parade shows creativity and a good sense of humor. The Fabulous Fireworks will be shot off near the Lake Blue Ridge Dam and can be viewed from there as well as Morganton Point Recreation Area, Tammen Park and Lake Blue Ridge Marina. The marina will have live music and barbecue throughout the day. And if it’s an old-fashioned 4th that appeals to you, the small town Independence Day celebration in McCaysville is just the thing, featuring an impressive fireworks display from Tater Hill in downtown McCaysville-Copperhill.
This festival is one of the finest juried arts & crafts shows in the southeast and features work from over 65 artists and craftsmen. Located along the banks of Butternut Creek in Meeks Park, you’ll find something for everyone at this great festival!
Get ready for corn dogs and funnel cakes, but that’s not all. The Georgia Mountain Fair is a North Georgia icon, complete with living exhibits, arts and crafts, a pioneer village; a parade with antique cars, carnival rides and music that ranges from country to gospel including Pam Tillis, Lee Greenwood, and more!
Celebrating the history, heritage and mountain culture of Union County, this event is a Labor Day tradition, complete with regional arts and crafts, music, arts demonstrations. Since the event is centered around the restored 1861 Payne family log home, it makes sense that focus is on the activities that took place back in those days like basket making, chair caning, tending to farm animals and even gold panning.
Be on the lookout for artists painting everything everywhere in Fannin County during this four-day international event. You may see artists in parks, in farm fields, even alongside the road – wherever the spirit has moved them to sit, or stand, and capture the beauty and uniqueness of this region on canvas. This is a judged show with various events surrounding it, including opportunities to meet the artists and purchase their work.
The Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival starts with a Blues Crawl on Friday night, followed by great blues and barbecue on Saturday, which means you get to kind of a meander through eight different restaurants, enjoying live music, food and drink, before jumping full on into the Blues Weekend on Saturday. The blues and barbecue portion of the festivities features barbecue smells and great eats from local and regional cookers. That means aromas and music will be filling the air downtown, with blues musicians performing from stages set all around Blue Ridge City Park.
These are not marbles. Those small, round things that young boys and girls used to “shoot”, kneeling on the floor, or trading them. Remember “purees”, “cat eyes” and “steelys”? No, this festival is a celebration of indigenous rocks, quarries, and local art. Tate marble is historic and world famous and marble quarry tours will be given during the festival.
You’ve got to love a fair that spans weekdays, welcoming visitors for nine straight days! That gives you a chance to enjoy this annual event during large crowd days and during quiet times. You can even plan a fair food lunch. As usual, this year’s fair will feature arts and crafts vendors, educational demonstrations, a flower show, and exciting musical performances.
A true sign of autumn, the fall version of Blue Ridge’s popular Arts in the Park, set amidst the lovely, tree-filled downtown park, with fresh food smells all around, local art, special events and musical performances.
Sorghum is one of those mystery words. Pork product? Dental affliction? Nope. It’s actually a cereal grain that grows tall, like corn, but boiled down it produces a sugary-like syrup. You’d be able to deduce that from one item on a list of events that’s part of this annual festival: a biscuit eating contest, with sorghum on top. You may know sorghum better by its full name – sorghum molasses. Whether the taste speaks to you or not, this festival also features live music, arts, crafts, and more fun contests like rock throwing and log sawing!
For 49 years, apples have brought folks together in Ellijay, East Ellijay and Gilmer County. These days, people come from all over for the apples, the parade, the antique car show, the arts and crafts, and almost everything you can imagine (or eat) made from apples!
Black Friday, the all-out dash for discounts, just got softened a bit by Blue Ridge’s very appropriate “Blue Friday”, with special emphasis on fun, a parade, community caroling, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 27-foot tall tree! Also be on the lookout for strolling characters, food vendors and entertainment in the park on Saturday, November 28th and every Saturday through December. Make your escape memorable and join us as Blue Ridge ushers in and celebrates the holiday season!
Visit the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds for a Winter Walk through thousands and thousands of lights and exhibits! Visit Poinsettia Place, Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Workshop, Toyland, Frosty’s Trail and many more light exhibits. 🎄There will be live music, arts and craft vendors, food, and most important…SANTA!!! 🎅 $5 for adults, $4 Group sales and children under 12 are FREE!!!