Southern Summer Traditions You’ll Only Experience in Georgia
Whether you’re a Georgia native or a happily transplanted resident, there are some Georgia traditions you can only experience when the summer season greets our sunny southern state.
From quirky to classic, these traditions are a must if you live in the state of Georgia. Make it a truly memorable summer this year and try out these favored festive traditions you’ll only find in Georgia!
Some of Georgia’s best produce is available during the summer months. You better believe we take full advantage of our seasonal crops. These summer foods can be found at local farmers markets, roadside stands, grocery stores carrying Georgia-grown produce, and local restaurants featuring seasonal menus around Georgia-grown goods.
- Boiled Georgia Peanuts. Peanuts are Georgia’s official state crop. Boiled peanuts may be one of the more popular ways Georgians like to enjoy these little legumes. Expect these warm, salty treats to start popping up at roadside stands and farmers markets just in time for summer.
- Vidalia Onions. Known for their mild, sweet flavor and versatility in cooking, Vidalias can only be grown within a 20-county region in Southeast Georgia in a total area of approximately 6,000 square miles.
- Georgia Peaches. We all know Georgia’s affectionate title as “The Peach State,” so of course no summer is complete without tasting a sweet Georgia peach. We like to enjoy our peaches any which way, but there’s nothing like a good peach cobbler! Georgia peaches are only available from May to August.
Festivals & Fairs
Despite the heat and humidity, there are quite a few festivals that make their appearance every summer. Some of these festivals have been celebrated summer traditions for decades.
- Watermelon Days Festival. Cordele, GA isn’t called the “Watermelon Capital of the World” for nothing! This year marks the 70th year of the summer harvest. Seed spitting contests, watermelon tournaments, watermelon decorating contests, and a watermelon chucking contest will all be held during this month-long celebration.
- Running Water Powwow Cherokee Homecoming and Ripe Corn Festival. The Cherokees played a key role in Georgia’s early history. This 30th annual festival commemorates the traditions of the Cherokee nation with craftsmen showing how they made weapons the old way, flute-making, and doing beadwork, a dance competition, exhibition, and intertribal dancing. The festival is held from August 31st to September 1st.
- Georgia Mountain Fair. 68 years and running, this fair held at the historic Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, celebrates North Georgia’s rich history and culture through a series of musical performances, unique attractions, arts and crafts, and carnival rides. July 19th is opening day and the fair runs through July 27th.
Georgians find creative and relaxing ways to keep cool under the beaming summer sun. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to cooling off.
- Chattahoochee River - If someone asks you if you want to “shoot the hooch,” don’t be alarmed. This phrase is simply an invitation to take a lazy trip down one of the most popular rivers in our state. Shoot the Hootch and High Country Outfitters are companies located off the river in Roswell renting out rafts, canoes, kayaks, tubes, and stand up paddle boards, but there are many companies offering these services along the river. If you get the chance to “shoot the hooch” this summer, prepare for a relaxing ride down the Chattahoochee.
- Centennial Park’s Fountain of Rings- For over 20 years, Centennial Olympic Park has stood as a lasting memory of the 1996 Summer Olympics. The park is well-known by Georgia natives for the Fountain of Rings, the world’s largest interactive water fountain. Kids and adults can splash and play in the fountains, with music shows playing throughout the day starting at 12:30 PM through 9 PM. And it’s totally free!
There are some events you can only experience in our sweet southern state. Some of these events bring visitors from all over the world!
- AJC Peachtree Road Race- Every July 4th, runners from around the world gather at the starting line of the world’s largest 10K, the Peachtree Road Race. 150,000 spectators line the sides of Peachtree Road each year to enjoy this Georgia classic. This year marks the 50th running of this iconic race, so expect a major celebration this summer!
- Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular- The Lasershow Spectacular is a musical and visual performance cast upon the 825-foot-tall granite outcropping of Stone Mountain. Since 1983, it’s been an Atlanta tradition. Featuring lights, iconic music, lasers, fireworks, choreographed drone flights, and more, all you need to enjoy this summer showcase is a picnic basket, a blanket, and a ticket to the show.
Few things go together better than sports and a southern summer. The long, hot days of a Georgia summer create the perfect backdrop for watching these beloved Georgia sports teams play.
- Atlanta Braves. This MLB franchise has been based in Atlanta since 1966, so it’s not surprising that going to a Braves baseball game is a summer-must for Georgians. The new home of the Braves, SunTrust Park, just opened in 2017. In addition to the stadium, the park is surrounded by The Battery Atlanta, a lively area with many dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
- Georgia Bulldogs. Just when the summer comes to a close, it’s time for Georgia Bulldog fans to rejoice! Sanford Stadium is entering its 88th season as the home of the Georgia Bulldogs. Any game at the stadium is an experience, but particularly opening day. This year, that day is on August 31st. Tailgating, the ringing of the historic Chapel Bell at UGA’s North Campus, the beloved mascot Uga, and the iconic emerald green hedges encircling the field are all part of the iconic tradition of attending a Georgia game.
Peaches- Adobe licensed image (no credits needed)
Fountain of Rings- https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/atlanta-cnn-center/things-to-do/area-attractions/centennial-olympic-park
GA Mountain Festival- http://www.georgiamountainfairgrounds.com
Peachtree Road Race- https://www.atlantatrackclub.org/Peachtree
Braves Stadium- https://www.kimley-horn.com/project/suntrust-park-battery-atlanta/