Tag Archives: summer festivals

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.


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.”