Pretty and simple though it sounds, the Yellow Daisy Festival is a huge event. Pretty, indeed, but not simple. Some 200,000 people will come to Stone Mountain Park to see and buy the wares of more than 500 crafters from around the United States. This is the 41st year for the show, and admission is free, so it draws shoppers from far away, too.
There’s some good news to add: for the first time, festival organizers made a program that lists artists’ names and booth numbers, plus space to take notes.
Here’s what else you should know before you go! As always, tips and ideas from experienced Yellow Daisy Festival-goers and questions from newbies are welcome in the comments section!
Prepare a shopping list: First, the arts and crafts categories — accessories, artist’s prints, artwork, clothing, clay functional (like ceramics and pottery) and clay nonfunctional (decorative pieces), dolls, fabric, fiber, floral, food, furniture, games and toys, glass, herbal, leather, metal, musical, paper, plans, wood-finished, wood unfinished. There’s also a catch-all “miscellaneous” category that includes everything from holiday items to granite dog bowls to bread dough. The fine arts category includes drawings, jewelry, sculpture, paintings, photography and mixed media. Here are some shopping tips created by the park.
Go early: The festival doesn’t open till 10 a.m., but shoppers and a lot of sellers will be there by 7 a.m. Just beware, there’s a hard-core garage-saler mentality to this festival. Thursday and Friday afternoons tend to have the smallest crowd, and parking is a little easier. Saturday and Sunday? Exactly what you’d expect a 500-some crafter festival to look like on a beautiful weekend.
How to get there: If you haven’t been to Stone Mountain Park, don’t try to find it using an online mapping system. It rarely works. Instead, follow the written directions provided by Stone Mountain or check out the map to the park. The park is a pretty big place, about 3,200 acres, so check out this park map before you go, too. Parking costs $10 for one day, or $35 for a yearlong pass. MARTA does not go directly to the park, but Route 120 drops off in the city of Stone Mountain, about a 1/2 mile from the park’s West Gate, not too far from the festival once you’re inside. Some nearby hotels provide transportation right to the park, too, so out-of-towners might ask before driving in.
What to bring: Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are must-haves. It’s a big place, and while the crafters might be under tents, you won’t be. Sellers accept a variety of payments, so come prepared with cash, credit card and checks. You can pick up a free biodegradable shopping bag at the festival, or bring your own. Some shoppers come prepared with wagons and shopping carts, too. There’s more info about general park policies on Stone Mountain Park’s FAQ page.
What to eat: Although your parking pass allows you to come and go during the day, it’s probably not worth leaving the festival grounds to eat unless you’re done for the day. You can bring your own food — no coolers! — or try the coffee, sandwiches, barbecue, ice cream, pizza and Chick-fil-A on-site, along with all the usual fair food and homemade desserts by the Stone Mountain Women’s Club. Here’s a list of restaurants inside the park; some won’t be open Thursday, but most will open up for the weekend.
For non-shoppers: If you’re not into shopping or handmade goodies, this is not the best fall festival for you. But, if you happen to be hauling some less-enthusiastic members of the family to Stone Mountain, here are a few options to keep them amused.
Want to go? The Yellow Daisy Festival runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 10-11, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 13. The festival is free — parking is $10 for one day, or $35 for an annual pass. Stone Mountain Park Special Events Meadow, U.S. 78 East, Exit 8. 770-498-5690, www.stonemountainpark.com.