City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

PHOTOS: Atlanta History Center’s Day of the Dead


Amanda Gonzalez, 6, and other dancers got a lesson from SalsAtlanta instructors during Atlanta History Center's Dia de los Muertos celebration. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

I hate driving and I really hate sitting in traffic, but it bothered me less on Sunday because I was in a line of cars waiting to get into the Atlanta History Center for its Day of the Dead celebration.


Sugar skulls. Not surprisingly, popular with the kids.

It was a free day of learning, dancing, singing, art and history. Vendors sold pan de muerto, tamales, tacos, churros, but the longest lines were for corn quesadillas in blue corn tortillas. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor festival and, again — free history! Here are even more photos.

This was a one-day celebration, but the History Center’s  photography exhibit, “Through the Lens of Mundo Hispanico: Georgia’s Hispanic Community,” continues through Jan. 3.

Want to go? Atlanta History Center, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Atlanta History Center’s Day of the Dead »

Know before you go: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 1

Update 11/2: How did it go? See pictures and share your experiences at the festival here!
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Erica Rosalle and other volunteers carried rainbow flag up Peachtree Street during Pride in 2004. AJC file photo

The Atlanta Pride Festival returns to its home in Piedmont Park this year, but in a new season — Oct. 31-Nov. 1 instead of a weekend in June.

Expect a big crowd — the festival has drawn up to 200,000 in the past, although attendance was down during its brief move out of Piedmont Park during the drought. Given the timing around Halloween, they expect even more than usual to be wearing costumes. There are some special events meant only for adults, but the festival itself is family-friendly and open to all, whether gay, heterosexual, lesbian, trans or otherwise.

If festival regulars have advice for how to better enjoy the weekend, suggestions are always welcome in the comments!

To start, here’s what you need to know before you go:

The Pride Festival itself is free, but …

Continue reading Know before you go: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 »

For people who love to eat, Taste of Atlanta continues Oct. 11

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Charles Taggert gets help from his girlfriend, Jamelle Esaw, to sample the spinach chips from Tavern at Phipps during Taste of Atlanta on Saturday. The event continues Sunday at Technology Square in Midtown. AJC/Brant Sanderlin

Just back from Taste of Atlanta. It’s dinner time, but if I even look at the kitchen, I’m going to be in pain.

(Want to know why? Here are more photos from Taste of Atlanta. Look, and just imagine how this event smells.)


Sweet potato panckes and brown sugar syrup. That's good for you. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Organizers call it “the food lover’s food event,” but really, I think it’s the food event for people who love to eat. I don’t believe I experienced the best the city’s chefs can offer, but rather the best some 80 restaurants can offer in small, quick portions built outside a kitchen and eaten with a plastic fork. That sometimes meant soggy samosas or pre-packed desserts from a cooler. That’s fine for me, who eats plain instant oatmeal and raisins once …

Continue reading For people who love to eat, Taste of Atlanta continues Oct. 11 »

Weekend zombie, cemetery celebrations around Atlanta

Update 10/5: Check out the AJC’s photos from the zombie walk! Photographer Josh D. Weiss got some great shots, too — before you click, be aware that some are not at all family friendly.
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Zombie Walk 2008. It's gory, but also hilarious. AJC file photo

Maybe it’s because it’s October and Halloween is ever-closer, or it’s that the weather broke, and it’s a much better time for the undead to rise up from the ground.

Whatever it is, there’s an awful lot of zombie-horror-cemetery celebrating going on this weekend. Here’s a look at some special events, other than the usual haunted houses and ghost tours:

  • Atlanta Horrorfest IV includes live music, an art show, film festival and Zombie Walk, at venues like Lenny’s Bar, 486 Decatur Street S.E., Atlanta and The Highlander, 938 Monroe Dr., Atlanta

Continue reading Weekend zombie, cemetery celebrations around Atlanta »

Know before you go: 2009 North Georgia State Fair in Marietta


The midway is back at the North Georgia State Fair, Sept. 24-Oct. 4. AJC file photo

I grew up about a mile from Michigan’s State Fair Grounds in Detroit and have many fond memories of of post-Gravitron queasiness, livestock birthing and deep-fried everything. (I realize none of it sounds terribly pleasant or good for me, but you’ll just have to believe that it was wonderful — even the cow birthing.)

Fast forward a decade or so and I’m in Atlanta, hankering for a Ferris wheel, blue ribbons and food written with a “Z” where the “S” should be. For this, I have to go to Macon?

No, no. The Georgia State Fair makes its home in Macon, and will run as a springtime festival, from April 29-May 9, 2010.  The North Georgia State Fair in Marietta will do just fine till then — and it starts this week!

The northerly state fair draws some 300,000 people during its two-week run,  and it’s everything you expect a fair to be in its 77th year.

Fairgoers, if you’ve got advice or recommendations …

Continue reading Know before you go: 2009 North Georgia State Fair in Marietta »

What are the best fall activities around Atlanta?


A corn maze in Canton in 2007. Is this among the best of what an Atlanta autumn has to offer? AJC file photo

I’m willing to accept that summer is over, that flip-flops and patio furniture are done, that the azaleas are really not coming back. In their place, we get parades, festivals, beer tents and corn mazes galore. Yea! (Also, endless downpours, school cancellations and impassable roads. Boooooo, and not in the haunted-house-kinda-way.)

For the first day of fall, I want to see your favorite activities around Atlanta for this breezy period before the Season that Shall Not Be Named. In the comments, say your favorite festivals, haunted houses, parades, sports shopping, eateries, hikes, trips or traditions. I’ll try and get the story behind some of them, or keep an eye out for them on future to-do lists!

Time to share: what’s your can’t-miss fall activity around Atlanta?

Continue reading What are the best fall activities around Atlanta? »

PHOTOS: Girls Rock Camp bands play the East Atlanta Strut


Julia Denniss, 12, and Leslie Lang, 13, are members of Quothe the Canary, a Girl Rock Camp band. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

The East Atlanta Strut was a soggy show this year with small crowds huddled under umbrellas. The mid-day exception was inside Earthshaking Music, where bands from Girls Rock Camp played a 45-minute set in front of a standing-room only audience.


Natalie Spruell, 13, sings for the band 500. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I wrote about Girls Rock Camp Atlanta this summer, when the not-for-profit day camp held its week-long session.

The camp teaches girls the history of women in rock, basic music skills and what it means to be in a band. Some girls have had enough by the time camp closes. Even if they loved it, the rock star life isn’t for everybody.

But some of those bands stayed together, brought in new members, wrote new songs, took lessons on their instruments, continued to practice together.

I didn’t have a microphone on me, but they sounded great. Here, at least, is a …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Girls Rock Camp bands play the East Atlanta Strut »

Official Dragon*Con ‘Thriller’ dance video released

Here’s yet another view of the “Thriller” dance at Dragon*Con in Atlanta on Sept. 6. It might have drawn enough dancers to break the world record for dancing to Michael Jackson’s classic scare song.

For those left wondering, the videos in last week’s post, “Dragon*Con ‘Thriller’ dancers might break world record,” were shot by the AJC during the performance and participants during rehearsal.

Keep in mind, this is not the video sent to Guinness World Records, but rather, the public video released by the organizers. Here’s their explanation:

The video for Guinness is in a single shot from an elevated point and that video can not be used for anything other than Guinness. The same goes for pictures. We had separate cameramen for that and all of the documentation has been sent off. We are now awaiting word.

Continue reading Official Dragon*Con ‘Thriller’ dance video released »

PHOTOS: Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park


Shoppers caught by shiny, pretty things. There's a lot of that at Yellow Daisy. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I wrote earlier this week about what to know before you go to the Yellow Daisy Festival. Now that I’ve wandered the grounds of Stone Mountain Park myself, I have a few things to add before the festival closes this evening.

Want to see more? Here are even more photos from the festival.

Weathervanes are big this year: Maybe people have always wanted to see the direction of the wind atop their homes? Perhaps it’s an extension of the urban chicken-raising phenom? I don’t know, but everyone seemed to be hauling one out of there.

Hand-made stuff is cooler: Unlike some craft shows I’ve seen, almost everything for sale at Yellow Daisy seemed to be home-made, stitched, dyed, welded, baked, cut, tied and painted — and the person who did it was usually sitting right there. It’s cooler than most of what you’ll buy at the store.

You need not worry about children being bored: I saw so very …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park »

Inside Access: Judges’ tent at the new Atlanta BBQ Festival


Rib judging at the Atlanta BBQ Festival on Sept. 12, 2009. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I could smell the Atlanta BBQ Festival before I saw it. the smoked-and-grilled-everything smell hit my nose on Georgia Avenue, while heading toward Turner Field  for the new festival.

In its debut year, the festival was created by the Atlanta BBQ Club, and drew three vendors, 34 barbecue competitors and certified judges, although it was a “non-sanctioned” event this year.

It was under the judges’ tent that I sat down with Kell Phelps, the publisher of Douglas, Georgia-based National Barbecue News, to learn how barbecue is judged. (As a vegetarian, I had a lot to learn. The good news: there are plenty of folks who will barbecue a vegetable, if you ask.) It’s a little like wine they explained; some competitions will even keep grapes or crackers on the table to clear the taste from judges mouths.

Here’s how the judging works.


Pulled pork judging. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Step #1: Judges are each assigned a …

Continue reading Inside Access: Judges’ tent at the new Atlanta BBQ Festival »