Colorful autumn hues decorate the Appalachian Mountains as the Ellijay Apple Festival gets ready to wrap up apple season — with a parade, car show, 5K, apple foods, arts and crafts, and live music in North Georgia. This annual fall festival (going on 52 years) is a good time for families and friends to visit the small towns of Ellijay and Blue Ridge, take in the gorgeous mountain scenery with captivating fall colors in Georgia, and experience local apple culture.
Producing approximately 600,000 bushels of apples each year, Ellijay — affectionately known as the Apple Capital of Georgia — is the perfect place to host this apple-tastic event! Upwards of 300+ vendors help make this family-friendly fall festival a success every year. Held over 2 weekends in October, the Ellijay Apple Festival is a great opportunity for a memorable fall weekend getaway north of Atlanta!
Drum roll for the official kick-off parade at the Georgia Apple Festival! Line the main strip in downtown Ellijay and get ready to cheer and wave as floats glide past, the Ellijay Apple Queen blows kisses to the crowd, dancers twirl, and bands play. The Apple Festival Parade starts at 6:00 p.m. — so get there early!
Antique Car Show
Any gearheads coming on your Blue Ridge fall vacation? They’ll surely appreciate the Apple Classic Auto Show held at the Ronnie Thompson Ford dealership in Ellijay. Beginning on October 8 at 8:00 a.m. until noon, this fall car show features beautiful hot rods and an awards ceremony (at 4:00 p.m.) for prized rides.
Apple Festival 5K
Runners will love the Apple Festival 5K Road Race, and families can participate in the 1-mile Fun Run/Walk & Tot Trot. It’s $30-35 to enter (free for Tot Trot) and get a T-shirt (while supplies last), and all proceeds benefit the Gilmer Cross Country Program. Both events start and end at the Ellijay Elementary School on October 8, with the 5K at 8:00 a.m. and the Fun Run / Tot Trot at 8:45 a.m. Awards are given to top performers, and all participants in the Tot Trot will receive a ribbon!
Bite into sweet, crisp, aromatic apples at the Georgia Apple Festival! You can take a peck of red, golden, or many other varieties of apples back to your cabin rental to enjoy as snacks, bake in homemade pies, or gift as yummy souvenirs. There are also plenty of apple treats to enjoy at the food festival, like apple fritters, apple pies, apple jellies, and apple ciders! It’ll feel like you’re at a bustling farmers market.
North Georgia Orchard Participants
Will there be apple picking?
Since the apple festival celebrates the end of apple season, most U-pick farms are picked clean by the event. If you’d like to pick your own apples at an apple orchard, we suggest visiting the Blue Ridge and Ellijay areas around September. However, as mentioned, you can buy North Georgia mountain apples at the event!
Arts & Crafts
Visit the arts and crafts tents to peruse and purchase handmade goods from local craftsmen. These Appalachian creations come in all shapes and sizes, and no two handcrafted items are alike! Live on-site demonstrations of classic mountain trades — including woodwork, blacksmith, and glass-blowing exhibits — add to the fun at the Ellijay Apple Festival.
What YOU Might Find
- Handmade clothes
- Wood carvings
Apple Arts on the Square
Considered an extension of the Georgia Apple Festival, Apple Arts on the Square adds more arts and crafts to the main event each weekend. Sprinkled around downtown Ellijay, this FREE art exhibit showcases local talents and sells beautiful artworks and crafty bits by local artisans.
There are also more food vendors, and the local shops will be open for hours of fun in the heart of Ellijay. Simply take the complimentary shuttle service to and from the fairgrounds as you wish. Note: While pets are not allowed at the festival, they are allowed downtown!
Looking for more Blue Ridge Mountain art? Check out nearby Blue Ridge art galleries.
Play Area for Kids
Camel rides, games, rock climbing, and face painting are just a few possibilities at the play area for kids at the Georgia Apple Festival. It’s a great (and convenient) place to take the little ones to get out their wiggles, explore, play, and make friends! And when you’re not hanging out at the festival, there are plenty of other kid-friendly activities in Ellijay.
What’s a North Georgia fall festival without live entertainment? Sway and bop to country and bluegrass beats as you stroll around the fairgrounds, eat sinful (but delicious) fair food, and make memories with family and friends at the Ellijay Apple Festival.
2023 Georgia Apple Festival Details
The Ellijay Apple Fest is hosted by the Ellijay Lions Club, the cities of Ellijay and East Ellijay, Gilmer County, and the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce.
Dates & Times
October 14-15 & 21-22, 2023
Saturdays — 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sundays — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds
1729 South Main Street
Ellijay, GA 30540
Note: The fairgrounds are not pet friendly (only service animals are welcome) and do not allow firearms on the grounds.
Adults — $10
Kids (12 & under) — FREE
Parking & Shuttle Service
Handicap parking is limited (first come, first served) at the main entrance. Donations for local civic and school groups may be requested when parking — bring cash. As parking is limited at the fairgrounds, a FREE shuttle service is provided!
Shuttle Operation Times
Saturdays — 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sundays — 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Shuttle Service Locations
- Gilmer High School
- Gilmer Middle School
- Ellijay Elementary School
- Ellijay Primary School
- Mountview Elementary School
Cozy Ellijay Cabin Rentals
Continue your North Georgia autumn experience with stunning mountain views or river scenes at your inviting cabin rental in Ellijay, GA. Featuring amenities to entertain and relax — such as hot tubs, game rooms, fireplaces, wet bars, big screen TVs, and king suites — Georgia Cabins for YOU has you covered…and then some! Homey conveniences are provided as well and include high speed Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, keyless entry for self check-in, and washer/dryers.
After spending time at a fall festival all day, you’ll appreciate a quiet, peaceful place to rest for the night and recharge your batteries the next day. We also have Blue Ridge, GA, cabins that aren’t too far from town, giving you easy access to downtown shops, eateries, and attractions — like the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, the Chattahoochee National Forest, and Zipline Tours.
Book YOUR memorable cabin stay and play at the Ellijay Apple Festival this fall!