The coastal areas of Georgia boast plenty of entertaining activities — music, sports, theater, museums, parks and shopping. Take a ride down Pirates Passage, an enclosed speed flume at Summer Waves Water Park, for instance, or watch some up-and-coming baseball players follow in Babe Ruth’s footsteps at the historic Grayson Stadium. Don’t miss the Coastal Empire Fair in Savannah or the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation. And be sure to check out the high-tech Gulf War exhibit at the brand-new Fort Stewart Museum.
Residents of Hinesville and Savannah enjoy numerous, varied annual events, festivals and community gatherings.
Christmas on the River
It’s a holiday celebration on historic River Street. Rousakis Plaza will be full of regional arts and crafts exhibitors with holiday gifts and stocking stuffers to check off your holiday shopping list. Music and local entertainment can be found on the Arbor Stage throughout the weekend leading up to Savannah’s Lighted Christmas Parade. The parade on the first Saturday in December starts on West River Street, winds throughout downtown and ends in City Market.
Coastal Empire Fair
The Coastal Empire Fair is held each November at the Coastal Empire fairgrounds in Savannah. The fair features free concerts, livestock shows, a petting zoo and the Reithoffer Shows’ Midway carnival rides, games and attractions. Free admission for all military, fire, police and EMS personnel on Veterans Day.
Mardi Gras Tybee
The event encompasses the traditions of Mardi Gras, a wild celebration with origins dating back to the ancient Romans and continued today in such cities as New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. Mardi Gras is held on the last day before the start of Lent. Mardi Gras Tybee will include a Masquerade Ball, the Mardi Gras Tybee Parade, the Mardi Gras Tybee Street Party with free live entertainment, and more.
Savannah St. Patrick’s Day
Floats and marching units will hit the streets on March 17 for Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which will have more than 350 marching units and up to 15,000 people. When honors to the Irish St. Patrick began in Savannah in 1813, the city had a significant Irish presence; it appears the Irish Hibernian Society staged the first actual parade in 1824, and except for six times, it’s been held every year since. Visit the event’s website for the parade route or the link for bleacher seating. The schedule also lists locations and times for other events associated with the celebration.
During a weekend in early March, over 80 bands fill Savannah’s downtown historic district. Music fans can hop from venue to venue, beer in hand, keeping track of all of their favorite new acts (you can drink in the streets here, as long as you stay in the historic district). Visit the website for the list of bands and to purchase tickets.
Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival
Held in Forsyth Park, one of Savannah’s largest public areas, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the last Sunday of October, the festival draws about 10,000 attendees annually. Participants of all ages will enjoy a taste of ethnic Jewish cuisine such as stuffed cabbage, potato latkes and homemade challah and blintzes, as well as family entertainment. There is no admission charge for the festival.
Tybee Island Pirate Fest
Tybee Island’s annual Pirate Fest will host the hub of pirate action in the South Beach parking lot on Tybrisa Street. Every Columbus Day weekend, local pirates and those from far distant lands converge on Tybee Island for a four-day swashbuckling festival with live music, a parade and family-friendly activities.