Whether it’s Spring, Summer, or year round, many know St. Simons Island and the Golden Isles as one of the East Coast’s favorite destinations for beach vacations. But what do you know about Fall here? Aside from cooler weather and crisp breezes, did you know that Fall also brings some of Southeast Georgia’s favorite festivals?
That’s right. Our weekends are filled with exciting events drawing friends, families, and neighbors together outside to enjoy the weather and all of the charm our community has to offer. With several unique events, from foodie festivals to major sporting events to educational outdoor fun for the kids, the Golden Isles has something for everyone! Below are some of 2017’s “can’t miss” crowd favorites that we’re looking forward to this year.
Southern Grown Festival (September 1-3)
Sea Island commemorates the distinctive culture of all things Southern with the third annual Southern Grown, giving guests a chance to taste, sip, learn about, and experience the unique cuisine and traditions of the most special region of America. The weekend overflows with opportunities, opening with Friday night’s Garden & Gun Kick-Off Dinner and a Show. Saturday’s daytime Southern Grown Marketplace and Southeastern Wildlife Exposition precedes an oceanside dinner anda concert with Drive-By Truckers followed by a late night After Glow Event. The weekend culminates with a Sunday Brunch. The entire roster of events will be led by award-winning chefs and musical talent from across the South. All in the world-class setting of Sea Island.
Things to know: The Drive-By Truckers and Steep Canyon Rangers are scheduled to play on Sea Island’s Rainbow Island during the festival, but all year long as a part of the Southern Grown Concert Series, you can enjoy major artists performing with the Golden Isles’ iconic marshes as the backdrop. 2017’s line up also included the Gin Blossoms in June with Keller Williams scheduled for December. And there’s a Falconry Experience during Saturday’s Southeastern Wildlife Expo. Yes, a falconry experience.
Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival (September 15-17)
A coastal favorite, the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival, presented by Southern Living, combines the classic southern dish with family-friendly entertainment, more than 100 art and craft vendors, live music, kids’ zone, food, a craft brew fest, wildlife demonstrations, and more. Mark your calendars for this annual three-day event held the third weekend in September.
Things to know: Not only is this festival free and open to the public once you’re on Jekyll Island, it’s also a huge showcase of the area’s local artists (check out that lineup here.)
For more information, including a complete list of events, visit here. Phone: 912-635-3636.
St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival (October 4-8)
The St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival, a five-day homage to the finest in coastal cuisine, wine, beer, spirits and entertainment – presented by The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, has quickly become a favorite among the locals and regional foodies. The Festival takes place in some of the most iconic St. Simons Island locations, October 4 – 8, 2017. The Festival is a non-profit organization that gives back to the community in one of the most important ways, by raising funds and awareness for its charity of choice, Hospice of the Golden Isles. With more than 50 of the Southeast’s award-winning chefs participating alongside beverage experts and popular culinary personalities this year’s schedule events will be a milestone. Several high-profile participants in the festival line-up include event co-founders Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp, of Southern Soul Barbeque, Executive Chef James Flack of The King and Prince Resort/ECHO, and Chef Jernard Wells of Food Network and a Sunday Funday for the entire family at the King and Prince Resort.
Things to know: You get to keep your SSIFSF etched glass as a souvenir from Saturday’s main event, “Tasting Under the Oaks”. Also, post your event photos using #ssifsf and the festival may share your pics on their social media.
For the most-up-to date festival information, tickets, opportunities to volunteer and more, click here.
Coastfest (October 7):
At the regional headquarters campus of the GA DNR in Brunswick, GA, the first Saturday in October is known as “CoastFest Saturday”. Since 1995, the annual event has been hosted by the Georgia Coastal Management Program to celebrate the state’s coastal natural resources. More than 80 environmental, educational research and resource exhibitors from around the southeast join with science-based entertainers in an atmosphere of fun. Visitors of all ages learn about Georgia’s unique coastal environment in exhibits from touch tanks with marine life to native plants and horseshoe crabs, water conservation, archaeology, herpetology, geology, kayaking, fishing and shoreline restoration!
Things to know: This kid approved event is free and will have touch tanks, live snakes or alligators to hold, Coast Guard boat tours, archery, rock walls, + more!
For more information, click here.
Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee (November 11):
The annual Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee at Mary Ross Waterfront Park brings cooking teams from near and far compete to see who has the best stew, competing for the Peoples’ Choice and Judges’ Award. The day long event begins with the 5k Road Race followed by the Pet Supplies Plus Pooch Parade, live entertainment, the kid’s Junior Stewbilee Central Fun Zone, classic and antique car show, arts & crafts displays and of course, sampling of the best Brunswick Stew in the nation. Live entertainment will be provided by Pier Pressure and 3 Day Weekend. Advanced tickets are $3 for kids under 6 years, $6 for adults or $4 and $9 on the day of the event. The motorcycle ride will begin at 9:00am, the pooch parade will begin at 10:15am, the Brunswick Stew tasting will take place from 11:00am to 2:00pm.
Things to know: Both Brunswick, Georgia and Brunswick County, Virginia claim to be the origin of the Brunswick Stew. We choose to believe the plaque on the iron pot in Downtown Brunswick, GA that boasts its creation in July of 1898. (Since writing this, I’ve learned of a 3rd claim that was new to us. While enjoying Southern Soul’s Luau this weekend, a lovely Canadian couple informed our table that Brunswick, Maine also claims the creation of this local favorite. It’s funny how the Island works. I see it as more proof that there’s always people to meet and things to learn while enjoying delicious meals in the Golden Isles.)
For event updates, check their Facebook page here.
RSM Classic (November 13-19):
The RSM Classic is a PGA TOUR event played on the Seaside Course and the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The tournament is hosted by the Davis Love Foundation which was established by PGA TOUR pro golfer Davis Love III for the purpose of contributing to the well-being and progress of society by supporting both national and community-based programs that focus on children and their families. Sea Island Golf Club on the par 70 – 7,055 yard Seaside course which TOUR players ranked as their 15th favorite course to play. In just its first six years, The RSM Classic has raised more than 4.8 million dollars for children and family charities. The tournament will be played on the Plantation course in addition to Seaside, due to the larger field of golfers. **Each year there is a concert in coordinationtoo, however, the entertainment has not been announced yet. We will continue to update this as more information is available.
Things to know: Even our PGA Event incorporates a foodie function, Taste of the Golden Isles. In association with the St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival, Taste of the Golden Isles, is another chance to savor some of the highlights from the areas favorite places to dine. This could be your chance to rub elbows with your favorite PGA Pro!
For more information, including schedules and tickets, click here.
Jekyll Island Comic Con (December 9-10):
Jekyll Comic Con is Southeast Georgia’s Premiere multi-day Pop Culture event attracting thousands of attendees of all fandoms. Hosted at the beautiful beachfront Jekyll Island Convention Center, Jekyll Con celebrates a little bit of everything from the comic book, fantasy, sci-fi, anime, and gaming universe! This all ages family-friendly event hosts some of the top vendors, artists, and celebrities in the industry; along with panels, workshops, gaming tournaments, live entertainment and so much more.
Things to know: You can plan your destination wedding on an Island for under $10,000. You heard right. For a mere $8,000 you can book “The Wedding Experience” that includes Imperial Stormtroopers escorting the bride, a Star Wars themed cake, photography and a reception complete Lightsabers and a DJ for 50 of your closest friends & family. You’ll be the talk of the galaxy.
For more information, including a detailed schedule, click here.
Don’t forget, there’s always live music happening around the Resort at ECHO, check that schedule here.