Article originally appeared on Explore Georgia's Blog

Georgia’s Lake Country may conjure ideas of long summer days spent fishing, golfing and splashing in the water, yet the communities surrounding Lakes Oconee and Sinclair are, in fact, year-round destinations. EatontonGreensboroMadison andMilledgeville offer several fall festivals worth the trip. Put these events on your calendar immediately!

Eatonton

Join Crooked Pines Farm on Oct. 1-2 for their annual Pumpkin Festival! Traditional fall fun activities such as a pumpkin patch, hay rides, petting farm, pony rides and a corn-cob derby will be in full swing. 2016 brings the addition of bobbing for apples, face painting, crafts, a bounce house and more! Vendor booths will be offering homemade and original crafts, produce and festival treats.

Bring your appetite on Oct. 3 for the Taste of Eatonton. Enjoy samples from local favorite lake country restaurants at the area’s largest foodie event.

Shop for handmade crafts at the Briar Patch Arts Festival

Shop for handmade crafts at the Briar Patch Arts Festival in Eatonton

On Oct. 29, Eatonton hosts the spectacular Briar Patch Arts Festival. This unique arts festival hosts specialty arts and crafts vendors showcasing handmade soaps, photography, paintings, jewelry, pottery, wood working, handmade glassware, clothing, potted plants, children’s items and much more. Live entertainment on the music stage will keep you tapping your toes.

Greensboro

Why not kick back by Lake Oconee for a weekend of music, bourbon and BBQ?

Why not kick back by Lake Oconee for a weekend of music, bourbon and BBQ?

Garden & Gun is hosting a weekend of Music, Bourbon & BBQ at Lake Oconee on Sept. 23-35. Accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds will accompany an evening of bluegrass and barbecue with pit master John Lewis, culinary thrills from The Southerners Cookbook, and a bourbon master class with Seth & Justin Thompson ofThe Bourbon Review.

Madison

The 12th chili-themed showdown held in Madison’s Town Park, Madison’s Annual Chili Cook-off & Fall Festival, is sure to be another spicy success. From chili sampling to bounce-houses, there’s something for everyone! If chili isn’t your cup of (sweet) tea, you can also check out the homemade cornbread contest. Whether you compete or simply sample, make sure to put Saturday, Oct. 8 on your calendar!

Crafts and tractors are two of the main attractions at Bostwick's Cotton Gin Festival

Crafts and tractors are two of the main attractions at Bostwick’s Cotton Gin Festival

Another most anticipated tradition is the Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival on Nov. 5. If you’ve never seen 100+ tractors motoring through town, then it’s time to head to Bostwick. The festival began in the late 1980s and is held in honor of Bostwick’s agricultural heritage. The festival features specialty craft vendors, cotton ginning demonstrations and the largest tractor parade in the Southeast. ​

Milledgeville

Take to the streets of Milledgeville for music, art, BBQ and more during Deep Roots.

Take to the streets of Milledgeville for music, art, BBQ and more during Deep Roots.

Deep Roots is a lively cultural arts and music festival that brings historic downtown Milledgeville to life like nothing else on Oct. 22. It beckons travelers with an antique car show, live entertainment ranging from bluegrass to rock-and-roll, artist market and a “LittleRoots KidZone.” Downtown streets are closed, allowing festival-goers to dine in their favorite establishments or try a pop-up vendor, shop the festival arts or merchants, and dance in the street with your partner or kiddo. The festival also plays host to a GBA-sanctioned BBQ cook-off contest featuring the ever-popular People’s Choice award that will draw BBQ connoisseurs from around the Southeast.

The majestic oak and pecan trees are a wonderful canopy for hundreds of guests lounging in lawn chairs, on blankets, and enjoying picnics for several hours of the best Bluegrass music to be heard anywhere. Andalusia’s Bluegrass Festival, held on Nov. 5, is an event for the whole family! Bring your instruments for porch pickin’, or enjoy the tunes of live bands.

Once the leaves start to change colors and temperatures begin to drop, Georgia’s Lake Country invites you to spend this off-peak season of swimming as a festival-goer.