Tag Archives: family fun

Indian Summer Festival

Indian Summer Festival

During the first full weekend of October, the Indian Summer Festival takes place in Suches, North Georgia, just 30 minutes from Blairsville. The festival is held at Woody Gap School – Georgia’s smallest public school. Over the weekend, attendees can enjoy all the family fun that the festival has to offer. Events include a 10k and 5k run, car show, crafts, music and dance performances, and other family activities.

Some notable events include the Run Above the Clouds 10k and 5k run on Saturday. Racers will run a challenging, but scenic, trail through the North Georgia mountains. There’s also a 1-mile fun run over a mostly flat course. There is also a Country Square Dance with a live band on Saturday evening starting at 8pm. Tickets for the dance are $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Proceeds from the runs and dance will benefit the Woody Gap School and help provide educational resources. The elementary students also participate in the arts festival with performances.

The fun continues with the crowning of the King and Queen, clogging performances, an auction, and performances of North Georgia mountain music. Also, Mountain Rangers will give a thrilling demonstration of hand-to-hand combat, as well an an archery demonstration. In between performances, be sure to take time to browse the wonderful vendor booths set up on the grounds. There you can view and purchase handcrafted pottery, leather crafts, folk art, jewelry and more. Admission for the Indian Summer Festival is $4 for adults, $2 for students, and free for kids under six. Parking is free.

Don’t miss this weekend of family fun in Suches!

Location & Contact:
Woody Gap School
3736 GA Hwy 60
Suches, GA 30572
706-747-2401

sorghum2

Fall, Festivals, and Fun!

The Autumnal Equinox, signifying the first day of fall, is this month on September 22 to be exact. The summer has just flown by and now Blairsville-Union County is gearing up for fresh autumn days, falling leaves, and FESTIVALS!

Here’s a quick rundown of upcoming events: The Mountain Regional Arts & Crafts Guild will host their annual  on Saturday & Sunday, September 17th & 18th from 9am-5pm on Saturday and 1pm-4pm on Sunday at North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville Campus. The Indian Summer Festival brings The Valley Above the Clouds alive in Suches. Arts, crafts, music and more await you on the first weekend in October, Saturday & Sunday, October 1st & 2nd from 9am-5pm. Georgia’s most beloved state park, Vogel State Park, will host the Fall Hoedown on October 15th from 12pm-7pm.

The 47th annual Sorghum Festival will be held in Blairsville at Meeks Park for two continuous weekends: October 8-9 and October 15-16 from 9am-5pm. Experience one of the most unique traditions in North Georgia – cookin’ sorghum syrup. Live demonstrations on how sorghum syrup was made years ago is the highlight of the festival, but you can also see how an old still makes White Lightening (moonshine). This popular festival will also showcase local arts and crafts, delicious treats and other assorted food vendors, a kids’ area, live music, and of course sorghum syrup.  All weekend you can enter a Biskit’ Eating contest and sop up as many sorghum drenched biscuits as possible. You can also participate in Pole Climbin’, Rock Throwin’, Horseshoe Pitchin’, and Log Sawin’.

Your family can’t ask for a more economical, fun weekend event. Sorghum Festival admission is $4 per person and kids under 12 are FREE. Free parking and shuttles will be available both weekends. Saturday, October 8th the Sorghum Festival Parade will roll through town at 11am with this year’s theme as “Bring Out the Kids…”. You may also choose to finish up your Saturday evenings (Oct. 8th & 15th) with traditional square dancing, an Appalachian tradition, at 8pm in the old middle school gym. Don’t worry, we’ll give you directions! Finally, for all you car lovers the Good Neighbors Car Show will be held on Saturday, October 15th from 8am¬4pm at United Community Bank. Enjoy more than 200 collector and antique cars.

For more information on all these great events, future upcoming events, dining, shopping, and lodging call the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com, or go online to www.VisitBlairsvilleGA.com.

Family on Boat

Let’s go to the Park!

Summer is the perfect time for family fun! If you are looking for things to do with your crew, we’ve got plenty of options for getting outside and enjoying the fresh air! Blairsville has many parks in the area that are perfect for outdoor fun. From hiking trails and lakes, to picnic areas and campgrounds, these Blairsville-area parks are perfect for your family’s next outdoor adventure.

Vogel State Park
Spend a day exploring all that Vogel State Park has to offer, or stay overnight at a camp site. There are activities for all ages. Seventeen miles of trails of varying difficulty are available for hiking, including the Appalachian Trail. Lake Trahlyta is at the center of the park and is formed from Wolf Creek. Surrounding the lake is an easy 1 mile trail, providing access to fishing docks and the boathouse. A side trail will take hikers to Trahlyta Falls, also known as Spillway Falls, a beautiful tiered waterfall. Reservations are recommended for camping. The park is at an elevation of 2,500 feet, making it a perfect place to cool off during the hot summer days.

Poteete Creek Park and Campground
Another option for camping and outdoor fun is Poteete Creek Park and Campground. This park has 59 campground sites and is just 13 miles north of Blairsville. The park is situated right next to Lake Nottely, providing a beautiful backdrop to your outdoor adventures. Campgrounds vary in size, and both camper and tent sites are available. Fire rings, dump stations, power and water are available at most sites. The recreation area has a boat ramp, picnic tables, swimming beach, pavilion, fishing. Reservations are recommended for both camping and beach pavilion rental.

Meeks Park
Described often as one of the most beautiful parks in North Georgia, Meeks Park is the perfect place for some family fun. The park features open meadows, shady areas, and playing fields for sporting activities. The athletic facilities include seven ball fields, four batting cages, a basketball court, tennis courts, swimming pool, disc golf course, and much more. Be sure to spend some time walking along the nature trails that lead to a tree-lined walkway near the banks of the Nottely River. Along these trails are sculptures by local artist and resident Al Garnto. Though not allowed in Meeks Park, dog are welcome to enjoy The Dog Park across the street from Meeks Park.

geocaching

Geocaching, a Treasure Hunt in your own Backyard

Looking for an outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy? Geocaching is a great family fun excursion that is inexpensive and gets you outside. The North Georgia mountains are meant to be explored, so plug in those coordinates and go hunting for treasure!

The creation of geocaching came shortly after the improvements were made to GPS accuracy by the U.S. government in 2000.  GPS enthusiast Dave Ulmer wanted to test the new system, and so he hid a container in the woods and noted the GPS coordinates. He called it the “Great American GPS Stash Hunt” and encouraged others online to participate and posted his stash coordinates so others could look for it. This was the first instance of what we now call Geocaching.

What do you need?
For this high tech hiking trip, all you need to participate is your own GPS device – a smartphone with a GPS app will work as well. At the Geocaching website you can find geocaches (“caches” for short) all over the world to hunt. The Blairsville list even includes a cache that takes you in and around the Union County Public Library. The container may be hard to find, but keep following the coordinates and clues. The cache may include a log book to write your name in, and some “treasures” to take as a prize. Remember to bring your own small item to leave behind!

Where to go?
You can find geocaches all over the world! But you don’t have to travel far to find adventure. Geocaching is a great way to explore North Georgia, including the areas you might have overlooked. There are trails all over Georgia, including Blairsville’s own Vogel State Park. For an outdoor activity with lots of family fun, geocaching can’t be beat.

Jerae's Unity Alpacas

Fun Family Activities in Blairsville

When you hear the phrase “family fun”, what comes to mind may be the stress, long days, and lots of money. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Blairsville has activities for all ages that are free and don’t require detailed scheduling. We’ve compiled five free activities so you can spend less time thinking about time and money, and more time enjoying the beautiful North Georgia mountains with your family!

Outside adventure: Picnic and a hike
When planning a trip to North Georgia, take some time to enjoy all the picturesque nature sites. There are so many free activities waiting for you just outside your door. Helton Creek Falls is south of Blairsville off of Hwy 19/129. This hike is only 0.6 miles long, perfect for kids of any age. Be sure to pack a lunch because the falls offer a great site for a picnic. See more options at our spring hikes guide [insert link to spring hikes guide blog when available].

Learn something new: Alpaca Farms
Spend an afternoon getting to know an animal not common to North Georgia, Alpacas. At the Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm or Jerae’s Unity Alpacas you can do just that. Be sure to stop by the gift stores for a selection of handcrafted jewelry and products made from Alpaca fiber. Entrance is free to both farms, but donations are welcomed. For both locations, please call or email ahead to make an appointment.

Treasure hunt: Geocaching
Geocaching has become an international pastime for family fun. Using a GPS device, enter in coordinates and follow the clues to a hidden cache. This is a fun way to get to know a new area, or appreciate all that your own neighborhood has to offer. There are plenty of Geocaches to discover in Blairsville, including one that takes you in and around the Union County Public Library.

Relax on the water: Lake trip
Lake Nottely offers a breathtaking alpine experience for residents and visitors just northwest of Blairsville. Or stay on shore and have a picnic at one of the parks surrounding the lake. Another option is Lake Winfield Scott which offers hiking, swimming, boating, and camping year round.

Fun times at the festival
In a tight community like Blairsville, there are festivals all year round where you can enjoy local crafters, fair food, and activities for the whole family (though not everything at these festivals is free). Check out our Festivals page for more information on upcoming festivals.

 

Lake Nottely

Blairsville-Union County Lakes

Escape the heat this summer by exploring these lakes and parks in Blairsville. While it is very beautiful, the south in the summertime can be hot, hot, hot. What better way is there to cool off than by boating, swimming, fishing, or enjoying a picnic by the water? So, pack up a picnic and the family, and head out to one of these great lake destinations!

Lake Nottely
Located just north of Blairsville is the shimmering blue waters of Lake Nottely. Surrounding the water are the mountains and valleys of the Chattahoochee National Forest, making it one of the more scenic areas of Blairsville. The water is teeming with wildlife, including the largemouth and striped bass, catfish, and crappie. There are plenty of picnic areas along the lake’s shore, perfect for a family fun outing on the weekend. Utilize one of the many boat ramps available to launch your boat. Looking for an extended summer lake vacation? There are camping areas and an RV park available. Three marinas are available: Nottely MarinaNottely Boat Club & Marina, and North Georgia WaterSports.

Lake Winfield Scott
Ten miles south of Blairsville is Lake Winfield Scott. The lake was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Situated in a beautiful mountain valley, the scenery cannot be beat! This 18-acre lake offers a variety of year round activities that the whole family can enjoy. There are areas to camp, picnic, and of course boat or swim. Surrounding the lake are hiking trails that take you through the recreation area.

Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is one of Georgia’s oldest state parks. The park is located at the Blood Mountain base in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Perfect for a day of family fun, Vogel State Park features Lake Trahlyta where you can fish or swim. Surrounding this lake are 17 miles of trails, including the Appalachian Trail. On the water you can enjoy lake activities perfect for summertime, like kayaking and paddleboarding.  

Blairsville Scottish Festival

Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games

For 13 years, the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games has drawn tourists from all over to Meeks Park in Union County. Lynn Varian, the publicity director, spoke about the festival’s history and success. The event began in 2003 at the suggestion of Jim McAfee, a local realtor. McAfee was a Chamber of Commerce Board member and given the task of finding a way to bring tourism into Blairsville and Union County. Experienced with other Scottish Festivals, McAfee proposed that Blairsville hold a festival of its own. Since then, the festival has been a success and listed as a Southeastern Top Twenty Event for 10 years in a row. 

It is said that Early Scots were attracted to the area because of the similarities in the landscape to their homeland.  Rolling hills, soaring mountains, four temperate seasons, and wide open spaces brought them to North Georgia. The festival recreates the experience of Scottish immigrants with sheep herding collies and other animals. You can also test your strength at wielding traditional weaponry by heaving stones, hammers, and cabers in friendly amateur and record setting SSAAA Highland Games competitions. 

Last year 10,000 people attended the Georgia festival. During the three day event in the scenic North Georgia Mountains, visitors can watch live reenactments and listen to music featuring bagpipes and drums. Celtic singers, dancers, pipers, athletes, clans, and societies come out to provide guests with a memorable experience. Vendors with a scottish theme can participate in the festival and have the opportunity to gain exposure and sell products. There are plenty of activities for kids as well as workshops and demos for all ages.

“A large committee of local volunteers, along with assistance from the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, cooperation from the city and county make this one of the most amazing festivals in Georgia and the surrounding five state area,” said Varian. On average the festival costs $55,000 to run, and any profits made go to local charities.

The festival brings tourists to the North Georgia Mountains from the US, Canada and Europe.  “We fill the hotels, cabins, rentals and restaurants, in the 5 counties surrounding us and our local economy experiences quite a boom,” said Varian. “From gas to groceries, everything benefits.”