Hobnob with the locals and soak up some genuine island culture at a variety of events celebrating the history, coastal cuisines, and communities that make the Golden Isles something special. All year-long, you can experience an array of family-friendly events that are perfect to cap off a day at the beach, or add to your explorations around the island. Discover a real feel for what our community is all about and fall in love with us all over again!
Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee
This Event Happens in: January
Get ready for the annual Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee at Mary Ross Waterfront Park. Each year, 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 1-mile Fun Run and 5k Road Race followed by the Pet Supplies Plus Pooch Parade, Live Entertainment, The Kid’s Junior Stewbee Central Fun Zone, Classic and Antique Car Show, Arts & Crafts displays and of course, sampling of the Best Brunswick Stew in the nation.
Blessing of the Fleet
This Event Happens in: May
An annual tradition each Mother’s Day Sunday, this beautiful Old World processional through Historic Hanover Square was started by the Portuguese community in 1938 to commemorate the first appearance of The Blessed Virgin to three children near the town of Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. Hand-carved Brazilian Oak statue, with a crown of gold and precious stones, identical to the statue in Fatima, is placed on a carved wooden shoulder carrier and decorated with flowers. Parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Church process singing through the park.
This colorful Portuguese tradition, each Mother’s Day in historic downtown Brunswick, blesses the brightly decorated shrimp boats prior to the start of shrimping season each year.
With more than 70 environmental, educational, research and resource interactive exhibits and displays, the annual CoastFest festival highlights Georgia’s unique coastal environment in a family-friendly day of fun and education at the GA DNR Coastal Regional Headquarters near the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick.
Visitors of all ages can participate in activities from recycling to learning about coastal weather, native plants to sea turtles, water conservation to archeology, herpetology to geology, sharks to shrimp!
Throughout the day under the Big Top, visitors will be entertained by many unique events:
Bubble-ologist Keith Johnson uses imagination and science to explore how bubbles work.
Reptiles and raptors from the Center for Wildlife Education at Georgia Southern University will take center stage for two shows throughout the day
Magician Arthur Atsma will amaze the audience with science and Newtonian physics taught through fast-paced circus stunts and magic tricks.
Jim Sawgrass and his Creek Indian encampment
Military re-enactors from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War
Touch tanks with unique coastal Georgia sea life
Plenty of ‘make-it-take-it’ projects
Since 1995, GA DNR/Coastal Resources Division has hosted CoastFest on the first Saturday in October in support of the three-week national ‘CoastWeeks’ event.
Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival
This Event Happens in: September
The Shrimp & Grits Festival on Jekyll Island is a weekend celebration of two of Georgia’s most beloved foods – shrimp and grits. The festival features a cook-off, shrimp boat tours, cooking demonstrations, book signings, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment and a kid‐friendly fun zone. This is a must-attend Jekyll Island festival for any food lover, and it just gets better every year.
Southern Grown Festival
A celebration of all things Southern, this annual festival pays homage to the very best of the South – the music, the people and the food. Southern Grown gives guests the 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 Kick-Off Dinner and a Show. Saturday’s daytime Southern Grown Marketplace precedes an oceanside dinner and a concert followed by a late night 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.
The RSM Classic
Making its debut on the PGA TOUR in 2010, The RSM Classic became an instant Seaside tradition. Played in Georgia’s beautiful Golden Isles, the tournament showcases the area’s rich culture, history and extraordinary hospitality.
Hosted by Davis Love III, 20-time PGA TOUR winner, 2017 World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee and 2012 & 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, the event features incredible field strength, which in 2011 included 14 winners of the Majors – U.S. Open, The Open, The Masters and the PGA Championship. Field strength is also enhanced by the number of players who call the Golden Isles home including Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd, Matt Kuchar, and Brian Harman.
The 2018 event is scheduled for November 12-18 at Sea Island Golf Club on the par 70 – 7,055 yard Seaside course which TOUR players ranked as their 15th favorite course to play. Over the last seven years, The RSM Classic has raised more than seven million dollars for children and family charities.
Since 2003, Jekyll Island has hosted the Turtle Crawl, a set of races benefiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Jekyll Island’s picturesque oceanfront and maritime forest are settings for two triathlons – the International Distance Triathlon and the Sprint Distance Triathlon, both sanctioned by USA Triathlon. Returning for 2018, a 10K race will accompany the 5K run, providing race fun for the whole family. All races are timed, and take place on certified courses.
From elite, world-class athletes to running novices, the Turtle Crawl races offer something for every athlete at every skill level. With four races to choose from, Turtle Crawl Festival, and a unique island getaway, Turtle Crawl Weekend on Jekyll is a not to be missed “race-cation” for all families.
The full weekend event will take place Friday, May 11, through Sunday, May 13, 2018.
Brunswick Christmas Parade
This event happens in: December
The Annual Brunswick Christmas Parade is held on the first Saturday of December. This fun and festive community event is the perfect event to get in the holiday spirit. The parade takes place in the evening, making it an excellent time to take in all of the lights and decorations that adorn each float. The lively parade is hallmarked by high school marching bands, community groups and, of course, Santa Claus himself!
Jekyll Tree Lighting Festival
& Holidays in History
This Event Happens in: November and December
Jekyll Island transforms for the holiday season every year. The Historic District decorated in Christmas grandeur and special themed tours take guests back in time to Christmas during the Club era. The season begins with the Christmas Tree Lighting Festival the Saturday after Thanksgiving and continues with storytelling, caroling, craft workshops, and more. Come see the Jekyll Island Christmas lights, and one of our favorite tree lighting ceremonies in Georgia!