Martin Luther King Celebration, Atlanta. This event, occurring over the King holiday weekend, honors one of Atlanta's native sons in a celebration of the life and accomplishments of the civil rights leader. The program includes a "Salute to Greatness" dinner on Saturday and a commemorative at Ebenezer Baptist Church on the Monday holiday, with speeches by notables from the Reverend King's former pulpit. Contact the King Center (tel. 404/526-8900; www.thekingcenter.org) for more information. Second week in January.
Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity, Augusta. This prestigious annual event attracts cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country and the world. Held in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, this event marks the first big date on any equestrian lover's calendar. Call tel. 706/823-3417 or go to www.augustafuturity.com for more information. Mid-January.
Rattlesnake Roundup, Whigham. This event, held at 84 E. Whigham Rattlesnake Grounds, features arts, crafts, food, entertainment, and snake handling that includes a milking demonstration. Call tel. 229/762-3774 or visit www.whigham.georgia.gov for more information. Last Saturday in January.
Georgia Days Colonial Faire and Muster, Savannah. Georgians turn out to celebrate the founding of their colony in Savannah on February 12, 1733, by James Oglethorpe. Various events are staged, including costumed demonstrators depicting skills used by the early settlers. Admission is free. Call tel. 912/651-2125 or go to www.georgiahistory.com for more information. Early February.
Savannah Irish Festival, Savannah. This Irish heritage celebration promises fun for the entire family, with music, dancing, and food. There's both a children's stage and a main stage. Contact the Irish Committee of Savannah (tel. 912/232-3448; www.savannahirish.org) for more information. Mid-February.
Golden Corral 500, Hampton. This suburb outside Atlanta is the site of the Atlanta International Raceway and home to this first of two annual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Tickets to the races range from $75 to $135. For information and tickets, call tel. 770/946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Mid-March.
The Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens, Savannah. Each spring many residents open the doors to their historic homes for 4-day walking tours in which you are allowed to visit six to eight private homes and gardens every day. Luncheons and afternoon teas are also staged. Contact Tour Headquarters at 18 Abercorn St. (tel. 912/234-8054; www.savannahtourofhomes.org) for more information. Mid-March.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon. You'll find everything from hot-air ballooning to a giant parade with 100 bands. The entire city is ablaze with thousands of blooming cherry trees. For more information, contact the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival (tel. 478/751-7429; www.cbfmacon.com). Mid- to late March.
St. Patrick's Day Celebration on the River, Savannah. The river flows green and so does the beer in one of the largest celebrations held on River Street each year. Enjoy live entertainment, lots of food, and tons of fun. Contact the Savannah Waterfront Association (tel. 912/234-0295) for more information. St. Patrick's Day weekend.
Masters Golf Tournament, Augusta. The first of professional golf's four "major" tournaments, this event was conceived by golf legend Bobby Jones, an Atlantan, who mastered the links as an amateur in the 1920s. Tickets ("badges," as the Augusta National "patrons" call them) are sold out years in advance. However, those who plan well in advance are able to enter a lottery to obtain tickets to practice rounds, which allows you to walk the grounds. The deadline for lottery registration is usually the middle of July for the following year's event. Call tel. 706/667-6700 or go to www.masters.org for additional information. First weekend in April.
Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn. Of the more than 100 shows every day, see the King's Joust and the Birds of Prey Show. There are games, rides, and crafts items, not to mention stilt walkers, minstrels, jousters, and magicians in the re-creation of a 16th-century English county fair. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $8.50 for children, and free for children 5 and under. Contact the Georgia Renaissance Festival (tel. 770/964-8575; www.garenfest.com) for more information. Weekends April to June.
Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta. Georgia celebrates the coming of spring with garden and house tours, bicycle tours of exclusive Buckhead, concerts, and tons of azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom. On the final weekend, food booths, kids' activities, and concerts are among the events. Piedmont Park events are free, but admission fees apply to many other activities. Call tel. 404/817-6642 or go to www.dogwood.org for more information. Early April.
The Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta. This 7- to 10-day festival celebrates the rising independent movie scene in Atlanta. More than 80 films, videos, shorts, and documentaries are screened to the public throughout the city. Steven Spielberg credits this festival with giving his work its first big boost. Call tel. 404/352-4225 or go to www.atlantafilmfestival.com for more information. Mid-April.
Riverfest Weekend, Columbus. This family-oriented festival offers an art show and sale, a custom and classic automobile show, a 5km road race, an orchid show and sale, parades, river events, and lots of food and music. Contact Riverfest (tel. 706/322-0756) for more information. Late April.
The Cotton Pickin' Fair, Gay. Active for more than half a century, this award-winning festival is a family affair, filled with antiques, arts and crafts, food, and entertainment. You can make a day of it. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 4 to 12. For information, call tel. 706/538-6814 or go to www.cpfair.org. First weekend in May and in October semiannually.
Aiken-Augusta Spring Regatta, Augusta. The Augusta Rowing Club is perched over the waters of the Savannah River. From the boathouse, the water continues for 11 miles downstream, one of the longest stretches of rowable water in the world. This well-tended event attracts enthusiasts from all over America. For details, call tel. 706/821-2875 or go to www.augustarowingclub.org. Early May.
Atlanta Downtown Festival & Tour, Atlanta. In the historic Fairlie-Poplar district, this festival features live entertainment, an artists' market, kiddie activities, and a wide range of food and beverages for sale at stalls. The festival's aim is to showcase the fine living in the downtown district. For more information, call tel. 404/227-0061 or go to www.atlantadna.org/festival. Mid-May.
Memorial Day at Old Fort Jackson, Savannah. The day includes a flag-raising ceremony and a memorial service featuring "Taps." Contact the Coastal Heritage Society (tel. 912/651-6840; www.chsgeorgia.org) for more information. Late May.
Juneteenth, Savannah. This event highlights the contributions of more than 200,000 African Americans who fought for their freedom and that of future generations. This event is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although this promise of freedom was announced in January, it was not until the middle of June (actual date unknown) that the news reached Savannah, thus prompting the remembrance of "Juneteenth." For more information, contact the Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau (tel. 877/SAVANNAH [728-2662] or 912/644-6401; www.savannah-visit.com). Mid-June.
Fourth of July Fireworks and Laser Show, Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain makes a picturesque canvas for the artistry of the popular laser show. You need not enter the park to enjoy the show -- you can join the thousands who simply pull off to the shoulder of the road to witness the spectacle. Call tel. 770/498-5690 or go to www.stonemountainpark.com for more information. July 4 weekend.
Augusta Southern Nationals Dragboat Races, Augusta. The stretch of the Savannah River that runs along the Augusta Riverwalk makes for an ideal setting for this annual thunderous event. High speeds and danger fuel these races as boats "fly" by with engines larger than what is found in most cars. For information, call tel. 706/823-0440 or go to www.augustasouthernnationals.org for more information. Mid- to late July.
Georgia Mountain Fair, Hiawassee. Enjoy fun-filled days and nights of activities on the shores of Lake Chatuge. There is country, bluegrass, or gospel music along with clogging, a parade, a midway, and arts and crafts shows. Call tel. 706/896-4191 or visit www.georgia-mountain-fair.com for more information. Mid- to late July.
Music & More at the Orchard at Altapass, Spruce Pine. Live music and traditional mountain dancing are the highlights of this weekly event that also includes nature exhibits, crafts, and activities. Call tel. 888/765-9531 or visit www.altapassorchard.com for more information. Wednesday to Sunday in August.
Yellow Daisy Festival, Stone Mountain. Every year Georgians gather at Stone Mountain Park to celebrate the blooming of the yellow daisy. Enjoy the arts and crafts, but please don't eat the daisies -- they're rare. Call tel. 770/498-5690 or visit www.stonemountainpark.com for more information. Early September.
Savannah Jazz Festival, Savannah. This festival features national and local jazz-and-blues legends. A jazz brunch and music at different venues throughout the city are among the highlights. Call tel. 912/525-5050 or go to www.savannahjazzfestival.org for more information. Late September.
Helen's Oktoberfest, Helen. Alpine Helen celebrates the South's longest Oktoberfest (starting in Sept) with live Bavarian music, German food and beverages, and dancing. Contact the Helen Welcome Center (tel. 800/858-8027; www.helenga.org) for more information. September to late October.
Georgia State Fair, Macon. The state's most joyous occasion takes place at this fair, which has everything from rides to competitions, regional specialties to live music. It's strictly family fun. Usually you pay one price ($15) and get unlimited rides. Contact Georgia State Fair Office (tel. 478/746-7184; www.georgiastatefair.org) for more information. Late September.
Andersonville October Fair, Andersonville. History comes alive in Andersonville, near the site of the Andersonville Prison, of Civil War infamy. Reenactments and demonstrations take you back to the time of the war. Contact tel. 229/924-2558 or go to www.andersonvillegeorgia.com for more information. First full weekend in October.
The Cotton Pickin' Fair, Gay. Active for more than half a century, this award-winning festival is a family affair, filled with antiques, arts and crafts, food, and entertainment. Admission is $5 for adults or $3 for children. For more information, call tel. 706/538-6814 or go to www.cpfair.org. First weekend in October and in May semiannually.
Big Pig Jig, Vienna. Hailed by Travel Agent magazine as one of the "Top 20 Events in the Southeast," the state's barbecue-cooking championship was born in 1982 when a group of people competed to see who could cook the most succulent pig. The festival has expanded to include a parade, sidewalk art contest, "Hog Jog" race, and carnival rides. For more information, call tel. 229/268-8275 or go to www.bigpigjig.com. Early October.
Cane Grinding and Harvest Festival, Savannah. More than 75 craft artists from four states sell and demonstrate their art. Music is provided by the Savannah Folk Music Society. Contact Oatland Island (tel. 912/898-3980; www.oatlandisland.org) for more information. Mid-November.
Fantasy in Lights, Pine Mountain. Wind your way through five miles of holiday lights at Callaway Gardens' magical annual display. The adjacent Christmas Village, with crafts, sights, and edibles, completes the package. Contact the gardens (tel. callawaygardens.com; 800/CALLAWAY [225-5292]) for more information. Mid-November through end of December.
Candlelight Tours, Atlanta. These evening tours of historic homes and gardens offer music and storytelling in the spirit of the holidays. Contact the Atlanta History Center (tel. 404/814-4000; www.atlantahistorycenter.com) for more information. Late November.
Candles and Carols of Christmases Past, Mount Berry. This is a Victorian Christmas in the best tradition of the Old South, with candlelight tours and seasonal music and drama. Contact Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum (tel. 800/220-5504; www.berry.edu/oakhill) for more information. First Friday and Saturday in December.
Christmas 1864, Savannah. Fort Jackson hosts the dramatic re-creation of its evacuation on December 20, 1864. More than 60 Civil War reenactors play the part of Fort Jackson's Confederate defenders, who were preparing to evacuate ahead of Union general William Tecumseh Sherman. Contact Old Fort Jackson (tel. 912/232-3945) for more information. Early December.
Holiday Tour of Homes, Savannah. The doors of Savannah's historic homes are opened to the public during the holiday season. Each home is decorated, and a different group of homes is shown every day. Contact the Downtown Neighborhood Association (tel. 912/236-8362; www.dnaholidaytour.net) for more information. Early to mid-December.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.