enjoy the many craft and art offerings at the Arts
in the Heart of Augusta festival.
Ga. — The azaleas and dogwoods are beginning to blossom
in Georgia, their captivating color and sweeter-than-sweet
fragrance signaling the Masters aren’t far behind. There’s
just something about the flowers and tall, gracious pines
on the world’s most iconic golf tournament that casts a
magical spell on Augusta National and transforms it into
more garden than golf course.
Masters may indeed be the main event in Augusta, but long
after the last prayers are uttered at Amen Corner, long
after the roars of the crowd grow faint, and long after
the glorious spring flowers fade, the historic city is
abuzz with festivals, events and excellent restaurants.
just loves a party, so on the first Friday of every month,
the town kicks up its heels for First Friday. Held on
Artists Row in downtown, the free event is a gathering of
artists and craft vendors coming together to sell their
creations in a festive atmosphere with live music, food,
and performances. Lots of boutiques and restaurants stay
open late to accommodate the crowds.
goes Irish green, as green as a Masters jacket, on St.
Patrick’s Day with a free festival and parade
celebrating the heritage of the Emerald Isle.
is for more than the Masters. Augusta’s beautiful homes,
many of the antebellum, mean beautiful gardens — it’s
why it’s nicknamed the Garden City. The Sacred Heart
Garden Festival pays homage to these large, private
gardens. Tours of the gardens, horticultural lectures and
exhibits, and a popular plant market draw gardeners from
across the South.
brings Thunder Over Augusta, a festival celebrating Armed
Forces Day with skydivers, extreme stunt performers, and
fireworks. And also in May is A Day in the Country, which
hosts big-name country music stars and draws thousands of
music lovers to Augusta Riverfront Marina. Papa Joe’s
Banjo-B-Que is in May, too, and features bluegrass music
and a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned cook-off.
June, Pride Augusta hosts a two -day festival of
performances, speakers, vendors and the annual Pride
Parade celebrating Augusta’s LGBT community.
summer temperatures rise in August, get cool and wet on
the serene and historic Savannah River with Paddlefest, a
fun-filled race with canoeing, kayaking, and
paddle-boarding. Or better yet, get in on the action with
a homemade raft of your own. After crossing the finish
line, head to the Augusta Riverfront Marina for food and
brings Arts in the Heart of Augusta, a festival that
celebrates Augusta’s diverse cultural heritage with
ethnic foods, original art, pottery, and jewelry frm more
than 30 countries.
Westobou Festival in October takes place over five days in
locations around Augusta and North Augusta, just over the
state line in South Carolina. The festival, only a few
years old, has grown to one of the South’s premier
cultural celebrations of film, music, words, dance and
Oliver Hardy Festival, also in October, honors Georgia
native Oliver Hardy and his comedy partner Stan Laurel.
Held in tiny Harlem, just on the outskirts of Augusta, its
highlight is a don’t miss Look-A-Like contest. The Greek
Festival, held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church,
is in October, too, and so is the Hispanic Festival at
Augusta Common, an events park in downtown. And Boshears
SkyFest rounds out the month with one of Georgia’s
biggest air shows.
end the year in December, the Christmas Light-Up
Spectacular, also at Augusta Common, scores with a parade,
holiday market, fireworks, and the lighting of the
food? Just as hotdogs and pretzels are to baseball,
pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches are to the
Masters. As fresh and delicious as they are, no one can
live on bread alone. The fare at Augusta’s restaurants
runs the gamut from simple Southern favorites like
grandmother-inspired fried chicken and collard greens to
special-occasion gourmet fare.
love the Masters," says Emma Newsome, who, between
bites of catfish-filled taco at the Rooster’s Beak, one
of Augusta’s trendy downtown restaurants, says she makes
the trek to the tournament every year from her home in
Tennessee. "I’m from a small town, so when I come
here, I’m always a little overwhelmed by the wide range
of restaurants here. Who knew that Augusta had such great
Rooster’s Beak specializes in tacos filled with
Southern-inspired ingredients like catfish, chicken, and
pulled pork — sort of where Mexico meets the South —
and is more on the casual side. For more upscale dining,
think five- and seven-course dinners, an Augusta favorite
is La Maison on Telfair, located in an elegant 1853
mansion in the historic district.
Bee’s Knees takes Augusta around the world with Thai,
Spanish, Cajun, Mediterranean, Japanese, and French
cuisine, while Frog Hollow Tavern incorporates uniquely
Georgia ingredients like Sapelo Island Clams, Georgia Wild
Shrimp, and Vidalia Onions into their dishes.
menu choices and desserts at the Boll Weevil Café and
Sweetery are as Southern as the café’s name: Fried
Green Tomatoes, Bubba Nachos and 7th Heaven Cake. Manuel’s
Bread Café in North Augusta mixes up traditional French
dishes with rich European-style desserts.
Bar-B-Que is a Georgia institution since 1956 and was
featured in People magazine as one of the top 10 barbecue
joints in the United States. The favorite is ribs, which
are often shipped to official Georgia event and once even
the White House, but everything else is good, too. And try
the P.I. Bar and Grill, located inside the Old South-style
Partridge Inn, where the verandah overlooks the leafy
Summerville historic district.
specific dates on festivals and more information on
restaurants, accommodations, places of interest, things to
do, or where to play golf, contact the Augusta Convention
& Visitors Bureau 1-800-726-0243 or visit
www.augustaga.org. Also visit the Masters at
www.masters.org. Augusta Regional Airport is served by two
major carriers, Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com or
1-800-221-1212), with flights to the Atlanta hub, and US
Airways (www.usairways.com or 1-800-428-4322), with
flights to the Charlotte hub.