It isn't too soon to plan Labor Day activities, especially when there are so many adventures planned in North Georgia this year. Family activities and those with good friends are some of the best natural medicine that money can't buy. Studies show that people who are happy, content, in steady relationships and/or plan and take part in activities with children are healthier and live longer.
Choose an event or two and make plans now:
- Blairsville Union County Fireworks Display - 8/31/13 at 9-9:30pm: Visit the Blairsville Heritage Festival downtown Blairsville and drive a mile or two to Meeks Park around dusk to get set up to watch the skies explode with color and excitement. This is one of the biggest fireworks displays in the area. Admission and parking is free. Phone: 706-745-5789 - Location: Meeks Park, Hwy 515W, Blairsville.
- 4th Annual Crush Fest, A Harvest Celebration - 8/31/13 at 11am-7pm: Crush Fest is a fun and exciting event for all ages. Grape stomping a la Lucille Ball (the "I Love Lucy" show) will be a highlight for the day. Members of the Atlanta Pipe Band will play hourly during the festival. Horse-drawn wagon tours of the vineyard, tours of the winery and Georgia's only wine cave are a great way to learn more about Yonah Mountain Vineyards. Pours of Yonah Mountain Vineyards and Serenity Cellars wines tasting will be offered. Phone: 706-878-5522; Yonah Mountain Vineyards, 1717 Hwy 255, Cleveland, GA.
- Mountain Heritage Festival - 8/31 - 9/1/13: Come Celebrate Appalachian history and culture at an open-air market with local handicrafts such as handmade brooms, candles, soaps, wood carvings, pottery, honey and garden products. Bluegrass musicians, gospel groups and cloggers will be performing during the festival. Sample campfire cooking at the Civil War Camp and watch Native American demonstrations. Games from back in the day and craft demonstrations of rail/shingle splitting, spinning and quilting are also featured. Admission and parking are free. Phone: 706-745-5493: Address is Mountain Life Museum, 25 School St, Blairsville.
- IPRA World Championship Fall Rodeo - 9/1/13 at 7 p.m.: Watch bareback and saddle bronc riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding at this rodeo. Admission is $15. Phone: 770-781-3491; Address is Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Road, Cummings.
- Holiday Gorge Floor Hike on September 1-2, from 10:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m.: This will be a strenuous hike, including 531 stairs down, a river crossing, jumping from rock to rock, and climbing boulders along the side of the river to Bridal Veil Falls where everyone can swim. Total miles are 3.5. No pets will be allowed. Wear appropriate footwear for hiking and climbing. All children must be ten years of age and older. No food or water will be available, so bring what you need for the day. Register in advance. The fee is five dollars plus five for parking. Phone: 706-754-7981; Address is Tallulah Gorge State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr, Tallulah Falls.
- Twilight Paddle Friday on Aug 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge will have a ranger-guided twilight paddle to search for Ospreys and Eagles and watch the changing colors on the water as the sun sets. Meet at the Park Office/Trading Post. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. Phone: 706-557-3001.
- Saturday Evening Concert Series, Saturdays 8-9 p.m., beginning Aug 31: Handicapped Accessible
Unicoi State Park and Lodge in Helen: Area musicians will perform a variety of music from Appalachian Mountain, Bluegrass and Southern Gospel music. Memorial Day weekend through mid-Nov. These programs will be 'pass-the-hat' donations for the musicians. Parking. is five dollars. Phone: 800-573-9659 ext. 305.
- Get Outdoors Georgia Wild Cave Tour on Sunday, September 1: Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn. Prepare toget muddy and wet on this family friendly underground adventure. Tours are offered by Georgia Girl Guides on weekends and some weekdays. Reservations are required. Go to GeorgiaGirlGuides.com. Admission fees are $30-60, with a five dollar parking fee. Phone: 706-913-7170.
- Labor Day Mountain Hikes, Monday, September 2 in Panola Mountain State Park in Stockbridge: Begin at 9 a.m. to explore the conservation area and Panola Mopuntain. This hike is 3.5 miles round-trip and is moderately difficult. Two hikes will take place to offer a morning and a night hike for interested visitors. Bring water, bug spray, and wear good hiking shoes. Reservations are required. There is a $7 fee, plus five dollars for parking. Phone: 770-389-7801.
There are so many good activities that offer physical work-outs and an opportunity to be outdoors in the Georgia Mountain air. Temperatures have been around 80-82 for the highs. Make memories together this Labor Day holiday.