Vidalia, Georgia
City of Vidalia
Vidalia Municipal Building (2015)
Vidalia Municipal Building (2015)
Flag of Vidalia, Georgia
Official seal of Vidalia, Georgia
"The Sweet Onion City"[1]
Location in Toombs County and the U.S. state of Georgia
Location in Toombs County and the U.S. state of Georgia
Coordinates: 32°12′55″N 82°24′36″W / 32.21528°N 82.41000°W / 32.21528; -82.41000
CountryUnited States
CountiesToombs, Montgomery
 • City18.26 sq mi (47.29 km2)
 • Land17.89 sq mi (46.33 km2)
 • Water0.37 sq mi (0.96 km2)
299 ft (91 m)
 • City10,785
 • Density602.88/sq mi (232.77/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code912
FIPS code13-79388[4]
GNIS feature ID0324704[5]

Vidalia (/vˈdliə/ vye-DAYL-yə , locally /-ˈdjə/ -⁠DAY-yə) is a city located primarily in Toombs County, Georgia, United States. The city also extends very slightly into Montgomery County.[6] As of the 2020 census, the city population was 10,785.[3]

Vidalia is the principal city of the Vidalia Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Montgomery and Toombs counties,[7] and had a combined population of 35,640 at the 2020 census.[8]

Description and history

The town was incorporated on January 1, 1890.[9] It is the largest city in Toombs County, but it is not the county seat.[10] The original name for the town was "Jenkins Station", after a local landowner, Warren T. Jenkins.[11] Although several origins for the town's modern name have been suggested, it was most likely given by a daughter of Samuel Hawkins, the president of the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railroad (later the S.A.M shortline),[11] though which of his four daughters suggested the name, or how she came to it, is not known.

Like many towns in the region, Vidalia grew up around a rail yard that served farmers in the area who grew such crops as pecans and tobacco. The area's famous onions[12] were not an important crop until much later.

From 1952 to 1956, Vidalia was home to the Vidalia Indians, a Class D minor league baseball affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Vidalia played in the Georgia State League and won the 1953 League Championship.[13]

In the 1950s, Piggly Wiggly grocery stores opened a distribution center in Vidalia, bringing with it a large influx of jobs as well as railroad business. At that time, Vidalia served as an interchange junction between the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and the Georgia and Florida. For this, a large seven-track yard was constructed, as well as a sizable engine servicing facility and interchange yard. The latter, smaller interchange yard is still in use to some degree by the Georgia Central Railway, while the larger yard was removed sometime in the 1970s. Dot Foods currently occupies most of the old Piggly Wiggly distribution center, with smaller companies leasing space.


Vidalia is located in northwestern Toombs County at 32°12′55″N 82°24′36″W / 32.21528°N 82.41000°W / 32.21528; -82.41000 (32.215305, -82.410086).[14] The westernmost part of the city is in northeastern Montgomery County.

The city is located along U.S. Route 280, which runs east–west through the center of town. U.S. 280 leads east 6 miles (10 km) to Lyons, the Toombs county seat, and southwest 12 miles (19 km) to Mount Vernon, the Montgomery county seat. Other highways that run through the city include Georgia State Routes 15, 130, 292, and 297.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Vidalia has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47 km2), of which 17.9 square miles (46 km2) are land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 2.03%, are water.[2] The city is drained to the south by Rocky Creek and to the north by Swift Creek; both are part of the Ohoopee River watershed.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
Vidalia racial composition as of 2020[16]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,168 47.92%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4,556 42.24%
Native American 16 0.15%
Asian 152 1.41%
Pacific Islander 2 0.02%
Other/Mixed 296 2.74%
Hispanic or Latino 595 5.52%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,785 people, 4,042 households, and 2,499 families residing in the city.

Vidalia (left) and Vidalia Regional Airport (right)


Vidalia has a mixed economy, but its largest industry is agriculture. Since 1931, Granex onions grown in and near Vidalia have been licensed and sold internationally as Vidalia onions. In 1986, the Vidalia Onion Trademark Act granted a state trademark and protection on the onions of the Vidalia and Toombs County area. The 1989 Federal Marketing Order #955 of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service gave the growers and handlers the legal rights to establish the Vidalia Onion Committee, and it granted U.S. federal protection of the onion's name and production.


Vidalia is best known for its "sweet" onions. The Vidalia onion was first produced about 1931 when a farmer named Mose Coleman discovered that the onions he produced were sweeter than other onions. Other farmers started growing the same crop, and in the 1940s the Vidalia onion became an item sold to tourists.

Vidalia onion growers have protected their brand, and today all onions labelled Vidalia must be grown in one of thirteen different counties in Georgia or in specific portions of seven other counties. Because of their taste and reputation, they are able to command an increased price in the marketplace.

In 1990, the Vidalia onion was named as the official vegetable of the state of Georgia.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Each spring Vidalia holds a world-famous Vidalia Onion Festival. The event lasts for five days and draws in many tourists with its wide variety of activities.[17]

Museums and other points of interest

The Altama Gallery is a museum of history and art located inside the restored Brazell House.[10]

The Vidalia Onion Museum provides guests with an interactive, historical experience. The 1,300 square feet (120 m2) space is filled with an array of education exhibits that highlight the sweet onion's economic, cultural and culinary significance. Located at 100 Vidalia Sweet Onion Drive.[18]


Public schools

Vidalia welcome sign

Vidalia Public Schools are part of the Vidalia City School District. The school district holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.[19] The district has 144 full-time teachers and over 2,408 students.[20]


Notable people


  1. ^ "The City of Vidalia, Georgia". The City of Vidalia, Georgia. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "2022 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Georgia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "P1. Race – Vidalia city, Georgia: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Profile for Vidalia, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  7. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-27.
  8. ^ "P1. Race – Vidalia, GA Micro Area: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  9. ^ "Vidalia". Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Vidalia". Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  11. ^ a b ""Toombs County"". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  12. ^ "About Us". The Vidalia® Onion Committee. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 'Vidalia onions aren't just the most famous onions in the world; I think they may be the only famous onions in the world.' —Chef Bobby Flay
  13. ^ "Vidalia, Georgia Encyclopedia".
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  17. ^ "Home". Vidalia Onion Festival.
  18. ^ Vidalia Onion Museum rack card, author, Vidalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
  19. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  20. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  21. ^
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  25. ^ "Our Troubled Youth Home Program | Paul Anderson Youth Home". Archived from the original on March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "History of Paul Anderson".
  28. ^ "Hall of Famers: Mel Blount". The Official Site of the Pro FootballHall of Fame. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  29. ^ "Paul Claxton". PA Tour, Inc. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  30. ^ Shannon, Mike. "Tribute to Don Harris". DFW Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  31. ^ "Carl Simpson". Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  32. ^ "Fred Stokes". Retrieved September 5, 2012.