Festivals are a fantastic way to celebrate all things. With foodie culture on the rise, food and drink festivals are the latest trend. In the South, we really, really love food and we have our share of food festivals. You would be hard-pressed to find any time of year without a flavor-focused festival. You can’t turn around without stumbling on a food event or festival. Here are just a few of Georgia’s tastiest food festivals showcasing local specialties. Come hungry, or thirsty!
At the Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee, sample renditions of the Southern staple known for its tomato base and hearty mix of beans, corn, okra, and meats. Each year, cooking teams from near and far compete to see who has the best stew, competing for the Peoples’ Choice and Judges’ Award. The day long event begins with the 1-mile Fun Run and 5k Road Race followed by the Pet Supplies Plus Pooch Parade, Live Entertainment, The Kid’s Junior Stewbee Central Fun Zone, Classic and Antique Car Show, Arts & Crafts displays and of course, sampling of the Best Brunswick Stew in the nation.
Athens Wine Weekend provides two days of events for both the wine aficionado and those who’d like to learn more alike . This weekend features more than 100 wines from around the world, seminars by wine experts and an amazing Gourmet Dinner with wine pairings for each course. This event benefits The Classic Center Cultural Foundation, which helps provide performing and culinary arts scholarships for high school and college students and supports performing and visual arts programs for the Athens community.
Referred to as “the original food truck” by Georgia Eats, the Southeastern Chuck Wagon Invitational is the largest chuck wagon gathering east of the Mississippi River. Teams of cooks will be provided the same basic ingredients and will prepare their own versions of country fried steak, mashed potatoes, beans, cobbler and bread. As part of the Southeastern Cowboy Gathering at The Booth Museum, cooking teams prepare five dishes (meat, potatoes, beans, bread and dessert) just as they did on the cattle drives of the 1800s.
Live bands, ice-cold brews, chili cheese fries, and heaping rib plates. We call that fall-off-the-bone fun. Sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association, Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival brings together festival goers and professional and backyard competitors for a smoky assembly of brotherly love in Fulwood Park.
South Georgia Burgers & Brews, Valdosta
Celebrate spring at the Vidalia Onion Festival by sampling onion recipes of all kinds. Each year, Vidalia anticipates the harvest of Georgia’s Official State Vegetable, the internationally known Vidalia Sweet Onion. The occasion is celebrated with an array of fun-filled activities.
No regular Joe, Joe Pond was a beloved, bigger-than-life character in the Augusta area, devoted to his family, community, barbecue and bluegrass. Now the community celebrates his legacy with Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Music Festival, a top-rate extravaganza over Memorial Day weekend. Combining the things Papa Joe loved most – great music, delicious food and a fun atmosphere for the entire family, Banjo-B-Que’s inaugural festival was a great achievement and this year’s 11th annual event continues to build on that success. Wear your favorite Western button-down shirt in his honor.
Georgia leads the country in blueberry production, with Bacon County smack-dab in the center of the action. The Georgia Blueberry Festival is a locally organized festival. Its goal is to honor and recognize the importance of the blueberry crop to Alma and Bacon County and to thank those who are involved in the production of blueberries. It presents a blue streak of activities: parade, cooking contests, music, kiddie rides and games, plus vendors from near and far.
The Georgia Peach Festival splits events between two weekends and two cities in Peach County: Byron and Fort Valley. Take a selfie with Miss Georgia Peach, and then take a colossal bite out of the World’s Largest Peach Cobbler.
Are you ready for the watermelon horseshoe tournament? Seed-spitting competition? Watermelon-decorating contest? Any way you slice it, there’s plenty of mouth-watering summer fun to go around. As the “Watermelon Capital of the World,” Cordele is vibrant during the summer as the watermelon crop is harvested and shipped nationwide. The community’s annual Watermelon Festival is just one reason to visit the community.
Plains is famously home to Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and humble peanut farmer. Visitors descend on the town annually to celebrate its high-profile crop and glimpse its most notable citizen.
A coastal favorite, the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival combines the classic southern dish with family-friendly entertainment, artists market, live music, kids’ zone, food, a craft brew fest, and more. It was voted the best festival in the Southeast.
Who can resist fried pies? Crowds pack the Haralson County Fried Pie Festival cook-off site to sample sweet and savory pies like apple, chocolate cream, pecan and Cajun meat. There’s plenty to take home, too. The contest benefits will support the Haralson County Historical Society.
The Brooks County Skillet Festival is an artisan craft show, food fair and vintage market all tied up in a pretty burlap bow. We invite exceptional vendors from all over the South to share their goods with thousands of attendees from our area and far beyond. With events and activities like the Cast Iron 5K, The Patchwork Harvest Quilt Show, Live Entertainment, and local performances, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy throughout the day.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture reports nearly one-third of our food is the direct result of pollination, honey bees are vital to this region. At the Hahira Honeybee Festival, meet beekeepers, peek at hives, watch honey being spun, and get a taste of honey varietals like Cotton and Gallberry.
You can read our post on the Hahira Honeybee Festival here.
Big Pig Jig remains the southeast’s largest and Georgia’s oldest OFFICIAL barbecue cooking contest. It’s been recognized many times as one of America’s best festivals.
This festival is “big doins” in Broxton, home to poultry farmers and seasoned country cooks in the Magnolia Midlands region. Which competitor will strut their poultry pride enough to win best chicken livers or gizzards recipe? Find out, and enjoy good eats, music, arts and crafts, and small-town Southern fun.
Eat, drink and be merry at these celebrations of Georgia’s Tastiest Food Festivals.