A Year of Events in Augusta, GA
Each year, Augusta, GA, hosts a number of special events that draw local residents, out-of-town visitors, and even international guests to the area. Beyond the local region, Augusta is most well-known as the home of the Masters Tournament, a golf tournament played each April at Augusta National Golf Club, located a few miles from downtown Augusta. The tournament is one of four major championship PGA events held each year. The tournament was played for the first time in 1934, only a few years after Bobby Jones had the course designed and completed. Today, the tournament is prestigious, both because of the skills of the golfers participating and because of how difficult it is to gain access to the event. During Masters week – which always falls on spring break for area public schools – the city of Augusta welcomes thousands of visitors, filling both area hotels and the homes of many local residents, who choose to rent their homes out for the event. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Masters tournament was delayed until 2020, and no patrons were allowed on the course. In 2021, the tournament returned to its original April date, though with limited spectators.
Each late spring and summer, a number of area events occur, including Thunder Over Evans and Banjo-B-Que. Thunder Over Evans celebrates Armed Forces Day with a day-long event featuring carnival style activities during the day, followed by a musical performance and a fireworks show at night. Banjo-B-Que is a unique festival that brings together bluegrass music and barbeque for a two-day event during Memorial Day weekend, which began in 2010 to honor the legacy of Joe Pond, a prominent local resident who lost his life to cancer. The Banjo-B-Que line-up has included nationally-recognized musicians such as The Avett Brothers, Ricky Staggs, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Willie Nelson & Family. Each year, a number of local CSRA bands and musicians are also invited to perform.
In the fall, Augusta is home to two events that highlight the local arts culture in Augusta – Westobou and Arts in the Heart.
During a weekend in early September, the streets of downtown Augusta play host to Arts in the Heart. Arts in the Heart is a three-day weekend event that highlights the art of many local and regional artists, who sell fine handmade arts and crafts on Broad Street, as well as local choirs and musicians, who perform at a variety of times throughout the day on multiple stages. There is also a kids area, featuring kid-friendly activities such as face painting and simple art activities along with art artists selling their wares. Make sure you come hungry. Arts in the Heart is known for its international food court. A variety of cultures are represented, allowing any attendee to sample food from many countries and cultures around the world, without ever leaving Augusta. Some of the cultural menus are prepared by local restaurants or small businesses, while others are prepared by local area families, happy to share their delicious family recipes with others.
A few weeks later, plan also to attend Westobou, a five-day arts event that began in 2008, to honor the memory of Shirley Fleming. Westobou was created to expose people of all ages to music, dance, spoken word, food and visual arts. Events are held throughout the weeks at a variety of locations in the Augusta area. Some require a ticket, but many are free to the public.