Ever since Native Americans plied it waters in cypress dugouts, the mighty Altamaha has been the focus of our history, heritage, fairs and festivals. This is still true today as we flock to 29 landings offering access to this tributary which runs through our cultural fabric.

Trappers and traders told the world of the Altamaha’s riches. Settlers polled cotton and woodsmen floated timber to the sea. Pursuit of the river’s riches has pitted native against settler, free against slave, Confederate against Union, and all vying for the natural bounty of our area, from priceless cypress to world-famous Vidalia onions. The guns no longer thunder, but shadows of a stormy past remain and make for great three-day weekends chock full of history and heritage.

History and heritage hang rich here like moss from live oaks. Our attractions, fairs and festivals are literally alive and kicking. Explore some of our many attractions, fairs and festivals here.

Altamaha River Events

March – Big Cat Quest
A cash-prize trail-team event; located in Hazlehurst, GA; must launch boat in Jeff Davis County; can fish all water accessible from the river; first year at a site known for huge flathead catfish; contact Hazelhurst-Jeff Davis Board of Tourism, 912-375-4543 or hjdtour@bellsouth.net, www.hazlehurst-jeffdavis.com.

April – Altamaha River Run
Explores Altamaha on six-mile family paddle with experienced guides; registration forms, shuttle information, and other info, contact Wayne County Board of Tourism, www.waynetourism.com or call Heather Altman, 912-427-2028.

May – Wayne County Board of Tourism Catfish Tournament
An open event on the Altamaha River; for more information, go to Wayne County Board of Tourism Catfish Tournament, hyeomans@waynechamber.com, www.waynecatfest.org.

May-July-August-September – Appling County Bass Tournament
Bass tourney; for more information, contact Baxley-Appling County Board of Tourism, 305 W. Parker St., Hwy. 341, P.O. Box 537, Baxley, GA 31515, 912-367-7731, www.baxley.org.

May – Altamaha Wilderness Adventure Challenge
Hazelhurst; 912-379-1371 www.3roar.com.

June – Altamaha River Rat Run
Event in Baxley; sponsored by Baxley-Appling County Board of Tourism, www.baxley.org.

September – Altamaha Fall Canoe Paddle
Sponsored by Baxley-Appling County Board of Tourism & Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Board of Tourism; 4-county event [Jeff Davis, Appling, Toombs, Montgomery]; meets at Town's Bluff Landing in Jeff Davis County at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at Deen’s Landing in Appling County; bring canoes, kayaks, lifejackets, sunscreen, sack lunch and drinks; shuttle service provided; for canoe and kayak rentals, call Scott Taylor at Three Rivers Outdoors at 912-594-8379 or 912-594-8545 or email t3video@pstel.net; www.baxley.org for more information.

October – Altamaha Wilderness Adventure Race Hazelhurst; 912-379-1371.

Farm, Ranch and Apiary Tours

Braddy Farms
Family tradition of producing world-famous Vidalia onions, sweet corn, tomatoes and other crops; provides seasonal crop tours; could see turkeys, peacocks, etc.; pick Vidalia onions before leaving; located on Hwy. 221 N., about 5 miles north of Mt. Vernon; call Braddy Farms at 912-583-4414 to schedule farm tour.

Buckhorn Creek Ranch
Exotic animal ranch offers family adventure, petting area, wagon tours; view and feed more than 60 deer, miniature horses, wild boar, camel, llama, etc.; tours $30 for 1-5 people, $6 person for larger groups, with special group rates available; located on Hwy. 280 W. toward Mt. Vernon; schedule tour at Buckhorn Creek Ranch, 912-583-2737 or 912-245-4042. www.buckhorncreekranch.net

Coleman Horse Farms
Experience working horse farm; feed and pet horses; tour cattle fields; located just off Hwy. 221, 10 miles north of Mt. Vernon; call 912-529-3392 to schedule tour.

Cotton Patch Inn
Real Southern hospitality at quaint bed-and-breakfast inn in Montgomery County; join owners for a meal and tour property including Cotton Patch Inn farmhouse built in 1924; located on Hwy. 135, 8 miles south of Vidalia; agri-venture packages available; Cotton Patch Inn at 912-583-2519.

Hardeman Apiaries

See queen grafting, beehives, and bee packaging and shipping; tour facility at no cost; pick up a jar of fresh honey; located on Hwy. 221 in Mt. Vernon; 912-583-2710 for information.

Milieu Serene Milieu Serene shows development of farm from land clearing for a home site and pond excavation; view preparations for planting of vineyards, orchards and agricultural crops; see whitetail deer, turkey and bobwhite quail year round; Joel Williams, 912-657-1815 or joel@JoelWilliamsLaw.com to set up tour.

Pecan Orchard Plantation
Experience farm life with a hayride, interact with farm animals, view antique farm equipment such as cane grinders and syrup boilers; fall corn maze and fresh pumpkins from patch for sale; spring visitors experience picking Vidalia onions, cutting hay, planting corn, and oat maze; open March-December; located in Alston, only a few miles from historic Long Pond Community, south of Vidalia on Hwy. 130 toward Alston; Tours $6 per person with group rates available; call 912-594-1805 for tour. www.pecanorchardplantation.com

R&K Greenhouses
R&K Greenhouses’ owner Kaye Usher explains why produce here in Sweet Onion Country tastes better; explains growing season, from planting crops to shipping to supermarkets; purchase fresh plants; catered lunch tour available; located on Hwy. 178, 8 miles south of Lyons; call 912-565-0529 or 912-565-7332 to schedule tour.

Secret Forest Christmas Trees Farm offers insight into Christmas tree farming with five varieties of Christmas trees to bring home; cut your own tree or choose from pre-cut trees; purchase potted trees; open November 24- December 17; open 9 a.m.-dusk Wednesday-Saturday, 1 p.m.-dusk Sunday; located on Thompson Pond Road in Tarrytown; call 912-529-3702 for information.

Hunting and Fishing

Altamaha Plantation
Southern hunting mecca 18 miles south of Lyons; 1,000-acre plantation backs up to the Altamaha River; family-friendly preserve and natural land tract is available to both hunters and vacationers; offers wide variety of wildlife; lodging available; Burke or Brenda Corbett, 912-565-8333 or burke@huntthealtamaha.com. www.HuntTheAltamaha.com

Douglas Gay's Fishing Hole Spend a day fishing or relaxing on the banks of quaint fishing hole; bring poles or Douglas provides essentials for a small fee; located on Hwy. 178, 9 miles south of Lyons; family fishes for $3/day/person; contact Douglas at 912-565-7022.

Rose Allen Plantation Enjoy quail hunting with friends or introduce your children to the world of game hunting; choose from many hunting and fishing packages, including day hunts or individual and corporate membership packages; could include dove, quail, turkey, deer, or fishing; package prices vary ($150-$8,500); located on Mt. Moriah Rd., just off Hwy. 280, 8 miles east of Lyons; call 912-293-5014 for information. www.roseallenplantation.com

Swift Creek Wings
Quail buggies provide beautiful scenery and incredible hunting; whole or half-day professional bird hunts with personal guide; prices range $450-$950; located in Vidalia just off of Hwy. 130 (Loop Road), across from the Vidalia Country Club; call 912-537-0523 for information.

Fairs & Festivals

Kiwanis Agricultural Fair
Kiwanis Club of Vidalia presents the Kiwanis Agricultural Fair in November; family carnival with petting zoo, livestock judging, flower and plant judging; located off Hwy. 280 at fairgrounds, behind Ruby Tuesday in Vidalia; admission about $4.00; contact Abe Glaser, 912-537-9999.

Uvalda Ole Time Farm Festival
Festival with arts and crafts, down-home cooking, car show, gospel sing, etc.; takes place third weekend in October in downtown Uvalda; Shirley Dopson at 912-594-6402, 912-594-6316, or 912-594-6043 for information.

Vidalia Onion Festival
Celebrate official state vegetable at annual Vidalia Onion Festival each April; harvest weekend filled with family festivities; amazing air show, arts and crafts festival, street dance, onion eating contest, fireworks display, etc.; Vidalia Area CVB at 912-538-8687 for more information. www.vidaliaonionfestival.com

All About Vidalia Onions

UGA Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center
Experience this agri-venture to discover what makes a Vidalia onion a Vidalia; gain insight into vegetable crop plot research; seasonal onion tours at the Research Center available late April to mid-June, other tours throughout the year; open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; tours free; located on Hwy. 178 near Georgia State Prison, about 15 miles south of Lyons; 912-565-7822 to schedule tour.

Vidalia Onion Factory
Learn about world-famous Vidalia onion industry; offers behind-the-scenes look at process before they hit supermarket shelves; tours $2 per person April-late June; located on Hwy. 280, just east of Vidalia; 912-526-3466 to schedule tour. www.vidaliaonion.com

Vidalia Onion Festival
Celebrate official state vegetable at annual Vidalia Onion Festival each April; harvest weekend filled with family festivities; amazing air show, arts and crafts festival, street dance, onion eating contest, fireworks display, etc.; Vidalia Area CVB at 912-538-8687 for more information. www.vidaliaonionfestival.com

Vidalia Onion Museum
Discover the story behind the Vidalia Sweet Onion; also one-stop shop for information about Vidalia area; museum open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; located just off Hwy. 280 east of downtown Vidalia, beside Southeastern Technical College and behind the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce; Vidalia Area CVB at 912-538-8687 for more information.

Vidalia Sweet Onion Historical Landmark
One of first crops of Vidalia onions commercially grown near this site in 1931 by local farmer Moses Coleman; the Vidalia onion is planted in 20 Georgia counties September through February and harvested from late April through June; onions developed an international reputation as the "World's Sweetest Onion."; named Georgia's Official State Vegetable in 1990; located on Hwy. 280 E., between Southeastern Technical College and Wal-Mart Supercenter.

On Stage

Tales from the Altamaha
Brings to life colorful characters of regional settlers of a five-county radius; collection of stories from 800 manuscripts depicting Altamaha River history; based on plays "Swamp Gravy" and "Reach of Song"; fashioned into a regional Georgia folk life play; held at Blue Marquee Theater in Lyons each April; 912-526-6445 for tickets.