Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Ellijay is the heart of Gilmer County and is fondly known as ‘The Apple Capital’ of Georgia. Living up to its name, the county’s several orchards produce all kinds of apples, from the standard red and golden delicious to the lesser-known varieties.
When the boll weevil attacked and destroyed most of Georgia’s cotton crops in the 1920s, the county’s economy was reinforced by the apple harvests. Since then, a new festival celebrating the apples of Gilmer County, The Georgia Apple Festival, has been held each year (except for 2020).
The 50th Annual Ellijay Apple Festival
After the unexpected pandemic last year caused the 2020 festival to be canceled, The Ellijay Apple Festival in Ellijay, GA is back in full swing. 2021 marks the 50th year of celebration for this annual fest with tons of stalls showcasing handmade crafts, live music, parades, an antique car show, and of course, red, ripe, and juicy apples!
Each year in October, for two whole weekends, over 300 vendors and exhibitions are set up presenting new varieties of apples harvested from the best local orchards, some of which are- R&A Orchards, Panorama Farm Market, Mercier Orchards, and Hillcrest Orchards. The festival gives visitors a unique opportunity to try out different apples grown in the county and perhaps discover a new favorite for the season.
Besides the apple stands, the star of the show, some local apple houses put up stalls offering visitors finger-licking snacks and drinks featuring the red fruit, like fried pies, fritters, and cider. Other booths focus on a wide range of items such as candles, homemade hats, woodwork, crafts, food, and glass blowing exhibits. The numerous stalls feature the works of skilled craftsmen and artisans from all over the Southeastern United States.
The 2021 Georgia Apple Festival weekends will be held on October 9th and 10th and then again on October 16th and 17th. The stalls and shows start at 9 AM and begin to wind down towards 5 to 6 in the evening. The venue is the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds, with a nominal entry fee. The festival is hosted by the Ellijay Lions Club, the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Ellijay and East Ellijay, and Gilmer County.
Where to Stay in North Georgia?
Being one of the biggest events of the year, the annual Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay attracts a good amount of people in search of their favorite fruit each year. This will be true more so in 2021, due to the coronavirus cancellation of last year.
The Ellijay River House Bed and Breakfast in North Georgia is the perfect way to enjoy the festivities along with the quintessentially charming city of Ellijay. The 1915 Craftsman luxurious home stands next to a captivating riverside setting right in downtown Ellijay. Along with the beautiful setting, the B&B offers secure COVID-19 cleaning protocols prioritizing the safety and health of their visitors.
The charming North Georgia inn makes for a great place to stay while enjoying the annual Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay. People can also explore the heritage apple orchards, hiking trails, lake, and the outdoor lover’s wonderland that is the city of Ellijay.