Do you see that slight golden glow on the tips of the mountains and hills? Do you feel that crisp coolness in the air? Fall is here, and so is apple season in the Apple Capital of Georgia. John W. Clayton is credited with introducing the first apples to Gilmer County in 1903. Over a hundred years later, Gilmer County produces over 250,000 bushels of apples annually in over 30 varieties that are harvested from late summer into early winter. For generations, farmers have cultivated the land to grow the most delicious apples around. Some are sold wholesale but most are sold direct to consumers as either fruit or in one of the many delectable treats, jams, or jellies available at one of the many apple houses dotting the countryside in Gilmer County. “Apples this year are early and big!” shares Barry Pritchett, owner of the Red Apple Barn.
One of the biggest highlights of the year is the opening of “U-Pick” season. You can bring your family to one of the orchards that offer U-Pick, and go out in the orchards and pick your apples right off the tree. B.J. Reece Orchards, Red Apple Barn, R & A Orchards, Hillcrest Orchards, and Mercier Orchards open their fields to visitors during the fall for U-Pick. Hop on the wagon and pick out your prize apples. Whether you are planning to eat them fresh, bake them, or preserve them, you will be proud to brag on these souvenirs.
There is no place that celebrates the harvest and fall like Gilmer County. Offering four festivals throughout the month of October, you can taste the most delicious foods, see the best arts & crafts, a parade, car show, enjoy a variety of activities, entertainment, and more.
The Apple Pickin’ Jubilee is a U-Pick festival held every weekend through the months of September and October on the farm at Hillcrest. Activities included in the general admission are wagon rides, cow milking, pig races, multiple playgrounds, jumping pillow, giant slide, pedal cart and trike races, moonshine museum and farmhouse museum. They have also recently added Hillcrest Hillbilly Mini Golf Course and a cow train. There is live country and bluegrass music and clogging on their stage. They have a petting zoo and pony rides. They also have a farm market.
Just between Ellijay and Blue Ridge is the small community of Cherry Log. The first 2 weekends of October, the community celebrates the harvest with the Cherry Log Festival. Serving delicious homemade breakfast and lunch, offering arts and crafts, homemade cakes, pies, and canned goods, as well as, bluegrass, gospel and country music at the Cherry Log Community Clubhouse.
The biggest event of the year is the Georgia Apple Festival Arts & Crafts Show. In its 45th year the Georgia Apple Festival has grown from humble beginnings to be one of the largest and most well-attended festivals in Georgia. The Apple Festival features handmade, handcrafted arts and crafts, live entertainment, beauty pageant, car show, parade, delicious treats from fried Oreos to gyros, and all things apple. The Apple Festival is held the 2nd and 3rd full weekends in October at the Lions Club Fairgrounds.
During the same weekends as the Apple Festival, Apple Arts on the Square in located in historic downtown Ellijay. A smaller version of the Apple Festival, this event allows you to enjoy a festival, but you can also enjoy our local shops and restaurants.
Apples, festivals, and beautiful mountain views, there is no better place in the North Georgia Mountains to spend the fall season than Gilmer County.
WHO TO CALL:
Gilmer Chamber & Welcome Center
696 First Ave, East Ellijay, GA 30540
Georgia Apple Festival
Oct 8-9 and 15-16
Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds
1729 South Main Street, Ellijay, GA 30540
Apple Arts on the Square
Cherry Log Festival
341 Cherry Log Street, Cherry Log, GA 30522
BJ Reece Orchards
9131 Hwy 52 E, Ellijay, GA 30540
9696 Hwy 52 E, Ellijay, GA 30540
5505 Hwy 52 E, Ellijay, GA 30540
Red Apple Barn
3379 Tails Creek Rd./Hwy 282, Ellijay, GA 30540
8660 Blue Ridge Dr, Blue Ridge, GA