North Georgia is celebrating Spring! For many years North Georgia has been a popular destination for Leaf Change and many Fall Festivals were organized around the increased number of tourists. In recent years, however, a number of new Spring events have “sprung” up, drawing folks to the mountains that are quickly becoming a year-round destination. The Editors of About North Georgia have chosen six events that are both wide-ranging and eclectic in nature. There’s something here for everybody.
Compete in a "mystery event" in the Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race
Only a few days after the start of spring, head up to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a true Georgia Adventure, the Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race. Beginning early in the morning on the second Saturday in April at the Shallowford Bridge of the Toccoa River, sports enthusiasts can follow their favorite team over nearly 20 miles and hours of grueling running, biking, paddling and “mystery events.” The finish line is in Blue Ridge’s City Park, across the street from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway depot in downtown. Sponsored by the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, the end of the race brings contestants to a festival held in their honor, so everybody can have a great time. Fannin County Chamber President Jan Hackett has added the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway into the plans for the race, so it should be exciting.
For traditional event fans Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square begins with a heavy dose of mountain music topped with fun. One of North Georgia’s newest events, Bear on the Square came about in 1996 after merchants discovered an errant bear cub in a tree downtown. The Forest Service returned the bear to the Chattahoochee National Forest and folks in Dahlonega decided hold an event to commemorate the day. Pickers and grinners from the area come together in a magical harmony that re-kindles thoughts of a by-gone era. The event also happens to correspond to the Gold Panning Championship. Take a pan, eight gold nuggets, some dirt and water, and put them all together and see who can get rid of everything but the pan and the nuggets in the shortest period of time. This event is held at the Consolidated Gold Mines, one of the largest mine east of the Mississippi River.
Everybody has fun when the jesters around at the Georgia Renaissance Festival
If you’re looking for bygone eras, we can take you back a few hundred years to Merry Olde England if you’re willing to travel a little south of Atlanta. Fairburn, Georgia (okay, its not the mountains but a lot of mountain folk go there) is the site of the RenFest (Georgia Renaissance Festival). People seriously into the medieval times do things like watch knights battle on horseback for the scarf of a nubile young maiden. Among our favorite acts are the Zucchini Brothers (Ripe and Green), who juggle just about everything they can lay their hands on, The Tortuga Twins, three performers who take kitsch to a whole new level, and Birds of Prey Theater. Grab one of those giant turkey legs and relax! Although this event runs through the first full weekend in June, we have found that going in April or early May greatly reduces the size of the crowds.
Lance Armstrong has brought incredible interest to the sport of bicycle racing in the United States, and he brings his unique competitive spirit to the Mountains of North Georgia in the premier North American Bicycle Racing event, the Tour de Georgia. We recommend the Dalton to Dahlonega Stage 4 of the racing event and tell the easiest way to enjoy this portion of the race in our new Tour de Georgia page.
Of course, food plays a role in many North Georgia events, but it’s the central theme in any of the many “tastes,” which features local restaurants cuisine. Our favorite has to be the Taste of Marietta because of the setting. On the last Saturday in April they close off antebellum Marietta Square and pack the streets with antique autos, games for the kids and food, food, food. Start with fresh-brewed coffee from the local coffee shop, try a taste of local cuisine from a local restaurant and top it off with scrumptious dessert. Come hungry for this one!
General William Tecumseh Sherman began The Atlanta Campaign in May, 1864, marching 100,000 men from Ringgold to Jonesboro. He was opposed by Generals Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood, clashing with their 65,000 man Confederate Army at Dalton, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, New Hope Church, Pickett’s Mill, Dallas, Ruff’s Mill, Atlanta and Jonesboro. During the Spring many of the battles are commemorated by re-enactments or encampments, living demonstrations of history. One of the largest commemorates the battle of Resaca, held the third Saturday in May. A living history enactment recreates the look and feel of a soldier’s life during the fighting known as the Marietta Operations at Kennesaw Mountain the second weekend of June.