After a blistering Georgia summer we’ve finally made it to the beginning of the best time of the year, when the weather starts to dip to more comfortable temperatures and we can all put our boots, hats and sweaters back on. Not only is it the kick-off to the holiday season, beginning with Halloween and going strong until New Year’s Day, it’s also the beginning of festival season. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite upcoming festivals and events around town. Our annual guide to local fall fun is jam-packed with ways to fill your calendar all season long.
By Alicia Carter
Buford Corn Maze
The Buford Corn Maze provides a labyrinth of fun for families looking to ring in the season with good old-fashioned fall-time festivities. In addition to the eponymous 5-acre maze, Buford Corn Maze also boasts hayrides, a pumpkin patch, corn box (sandboxes are a thing of the past, y’all), haunted forest, pony rides, concessions, and an animal viewing area! Mark your calendar for Labor Day weekend, when the husk-filled maze opens for the 2021 season. Sept. 4-Nov. 14, hours vary depending on day, 4470 Bennett Road, Buford. bufordcornmaze.com.
Located in Dawsonville, Uncle Shucks! is best known for its elaborate 15-acre corn maze. Spend the day exploring the farm grounds and then enjoy fun activities like pumpkin picking, jumping pad, haunted trail, tire mountain, kids maze, wagon ride and more. Sept. 11-Nov. 14. Hours vary by month. 125 Bannister Road, Dawsonville. uncleshucks.com.
Jaemor’s Harvest Celebration
Visit Jaemor Farms for some family fun this fall! Jaemor offers a whole fall farm experience that includes hayrides, farm slides, a petting zoo, farm skeeball, a pumpkin train, duck races, tricycle races, apple cannons and concessions — as well as a mini- maze for those who want a quicker visit. Sept. 11-Nov. 7. Hours vary by month. 5340 Cornelia Hwy. (Highway 365), Alto. 770-869-3999. jaemorfarms.com.
Gwinnett County Fair
The Gwinnett County Fair is back! This year the fair is packed with events for all ages, concerts, and of course, awesome carnival rides and food. The fair opens its gates to the public Sept. 16-26. Hours vary for the Exhibit Hall and Carnival. 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. gwinnettcountyfair.com.
Georgia State Fair
The Georgia State Fair returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this October with fun for all ages! There will be carnival rides, awesome foods, pony rides, a petting zoo, magic show and more! The State Fair is a must-visit this fall season. Oct. 1-10. Hours vary. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. georgiastatefair.org.
Cumming County Fair and Festival
The Cumming Fairgrounds were established in 1995 and have increasingly grown over the years. Throughout the month of October, it becomes a sought-after destination for families looking for country fair and festival fun in North Georgia. The fair now spans a total of 11 days, and features daily attractions, concerts, carnival rides and food. Check the website for a complete list of events, free admission days, and discount nights. Oct. 7-17. Hours Vary. 235 Castleberry Road, Cumming. cummingfair.squarespace.com.
Duluth Fall Festival
Voted Best of Gwinnett and Reader’s Choice many times and Best Large Festival in the Southeast, the Duluth Fall Festival is the largest festival in the Southeast with no paid staff and more than 400 volunteers. The festivities kick off on Saturday, September 25, in downtown Duluth with a huge parade at 10am, followed by more than 300 booths of arts and crafts, food, and sponsors. Be sure to visit Tailgate Central with entertainment on two stages and more! Sunday begins with a Peachtree Road Race- qualifying race at 8am, followed by Worship on the Green by Duluth First United Methodist Church. There will also be entertainment, booth shopping and food. Pro tip: Plan to ride one of the 12 free large shuttle buses from three area schools so you won’t have to worry about parking. September 25-26. Saturday: 9am-7pm; Sunday: 8am-5pm. For more information visit DuluthFallFestival.org.
Suwanee Taste of BBQ & Music Festival
Suwanee Taste of BBQ and Music Festival returns to Town Center Park for its fourth year on October 9th. The festival is a community event featuring local vendors, an artist market, live music from local, regional, and international up-and-coming artists, a Kids (and Family) Fun Zone with activities for children of all ages, and of course, the Taste of BBQ! In the Taste of BBQ area, attendees will be able to taste some delicious barbecue from festival vendors as well as purchase full plates. Taste of BBQ tickets will be sold by Project Green and will raise money for the Kids Summer Camp program. The Suwanee Taste of BBQ and Music Festival is free to attend and is a fundraiser for Project Green, a local kid’s charity that sponsors kids to annual summer camps. Saturday, October 9, 10am-6pm. For more information or to become a sponsor or vendor, email email@example.com or call 770-806-7492. The vendor lineup and a schedule of performers can be found online at AliveExpo.com/Festival.
Yellow Daisy Festival
Stone Mountain’s Yellow Daisy Festival has been voted one of the top arts and crafts shows, is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, and a winner of multiple awards by the Southeast Festival and Events Association. More than 300 artists and crafters display their works for your appreciation and purchase. Enjoy fabulous festival food and crafter demonstrations throughout the event. Sept. 9-12. 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain. stonemountainpark.com.
Sugar Rush Festival
One of its sweetest events, the City of Sugar Hill’s Sugar Rush Festival returns on October 16 and 17. This year marks the first time Sugar Rush has taken place over two days, and will feature live music, vendors, food trucks and artisan decorations. There will also be DIY crafts available for families to bring home as well as a juried art show with local, regional, and international artists. October 16-17 at the Bowl at Sugar Hill. For more information, visit CityOfSugarHill.com.
This annual two-day celebration of community returns to Town Center Park September 18-19 with a pirate theme! Nearly 200 vendors and exhibitors, 15 entertainment acts, and one amazing parade are just some of the highlights of this beloved fall tradition. Sept. 18-19, 10 a.m. Town Center Park. suwaneefest.com.
Stone Mountain Park Pumpkin Festival
Stone Mountain’s Pumpkin Festival is a family-favorite event. Enjoy special fall entertainment featuring some of your favorite classic storybook characters! Then, after the sun goes down, you’ll glow by night in a whole new light with the new Nighttime Parade and plenty of other new not-so- spooky glowing experiences! Select dates from Sept. 18-Oct. 31. 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. stonemountainpark.com.
Netherworld Haunted House
Consistently voted one of the top haunts in the nation and an annual Halloween rite of passage for those brave enough to enter. Netherworld recently announced its haunt themes for 2021: Rise of the Netherspawn and Return to Planet X in 3D. In Rise of the Netherspawn, a primordial monster known as the Ganoga will summon the twins, Fear and Terror, to lead an invasion of hideous creatures from the Netherworld. In Return to Planet X, revelers will put on special 3D glasses to help Dr. Otto Gloman defeat malevolent life forms from another dimension. Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-31, Nov. 5-7 and 12-13. Sunday-Thursday, 7:30-10:30pm; Friday-Saturday, 7pm-midnight. 1313 Netherworld Way, Stone Mountain. fearworld.com.