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Archive for the ‘Outside Atlanta’ Category

Vote for Atlanta’s best festival on Best of the Big A blog!

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If you've got a favorite festival around Atlanta, whether it celebrates a vegetable or local history, time to nominate it for the Best Festival on Best of the big A. AJC file photo

Nevermind the weather forecast, here’s just one more sign that spring has arrived: the AJC’s Best of the Big A blog is asking you to pick the best festival around Atlanta. After all the festivals and fairs we’ve discussed on this blog, I know you’ve got opinions on the matter. It could be books, chili, rides, crafts, flowers, animals, music or a certain neighborhood that gets you to vote — as long as it comes in the form of a festival.

Here’s how it works: voters nominate their favorites in the Best of the Big A blog comments. One week later, we tally the top vote-getters and ask you to pick among the top 5. Finally, we’ll announce the winner one week after that.

Keep an eye out — I’ll have another big announcement involving Best of the Big A later this week, too!

For instant updates, follow

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Cartersville museums added to free BoA program

Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum and The Booth Western Art Museum both are free to Bank of America customers who visit this weekend.

The Cartersville museums were both added to the bank’s Museums on Us program, which offers free admission to customers one weekend a month. Upcoming weekends include March 6-7, April 3-4 and May 1-2.

The program already allows free admission to the Atlanta History Center, High Museum of Art and Millennium Gate Museum, three fewer than had been offered in 2009.

Tellus and the Booth are great additions to this program, though, especially for folks who want to explore something further to the north. Here are posts I did from the Booth art museum, and from Tellus.

There are more free and and discounted days or events at museums, too, like Fulton Free Saturdays at the High Museum of Art, Target Free Second Tuesdays at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Phoenix Flies events at The Wren’s Nest, The Center for Puppetry Arts and …

Continue reading Cartersville museums added to free BoA program »

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra 2010-2011 classical and some not-so-classical shows: Ringo Starr, Alan Jackson, Sugarland, Boyz II Men, Ben Harper, more to come

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Here's the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in 2008 — the orchestra announced its 2010-2011 season yesterday, including its summer concerts. AJC file photo

The annoucements are coming fast these past few days: Alliance, Chastain Park and yesterday, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. (Broadway Across America at the Fox Theatre tickets go on sale today, too.)

As Pierre Ruhe pointed out in a round-up for the AJC, here’s some of the news in the 2010-2011 season:

  • There are two world premieres next season, including a 20-minute work by Alvin Singleton, a one-time ASO composer-in-residence, and James Oliverio’s Double Timpani Concerto for the Brothers Yancich.
  • The classical series is gone from Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, the ASO’s summer home. They will play rock concerts, community events and there will be pops and family concerts.
  • Symphony highlights include Puccini’s complete opera, “Madama Butterfly,” in a staged …

Continue reading Atlanta Symphony Orchestra 2010-2011 classical and some not-so-classical shows: Ringo Starr, Alan Jackson, Sugarland, Boyz II Men, Ben Harper, more to come »

Is it spring?! Good-bye Snow Mountain, hello Six Flags!

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Spring is coming! That's Goliath running at Six Flags Over Georgia. The park opens for weekends-only on March 6, just a day before Snow Moutain closes for the season. AJC file photo

Nevermind the Vernal Equinox, Daylight Savings Time, the Braves home opener or whatever date came printed in your 2010 calendar: spring starts in Atlanta next weekend.

What clearer proof do we need that spring is coming to Atlanta than this:

  • Six Flags Over Georgia opens on March 6.
  • Snow Mountain, Stone Mountain Park’s annual sledding, fort-building, marshmallow-toasting attraction, closes on March 7.

Or maybe it’s just another testament to our crazy weather and seasonal uncertainty. I choose to believe that it means Gen. Beauregard Lee was right.

So what to expect from that first weekend in March?

Six Flags has some new shows and new shops, but it’s big new attraction for the year is actually over at Six Flags White Water in Marietta, where Wiggles Water World will open this summer. Still, to …

Continue reading Is it spring?! Good-bye Snow Mountain, hello Six Flags! »

George Winston opens Eddie & Agnes series tonight

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Winston at the piano. He's in Decatur tonight!

The first show in the new Eddie and Agnes concert series in Decatur commences tonight with pianist George Winston. And hey, in AJCer Lynn Peisner’s interview with Winston, I learned something about him:

Q: We know you don’t want microphones at this show in Decatur. What else can audiences expect from the performance? Will you perform in your socks?

A: Yes, shoes make too much noise on the floor. And I don’t like the sound of a miked piano. I’ll be playing fall and winter songs. Some Vince Guaraldi, folk and melodic piano, New Orleans R&B. I’m sure the drive over will inspire something, too. I have yet to make it to the Great Plains, Tennessee and Alabama. I want [the journey] to affect what I play. We’re all influenced by the seasons whether we think about it or not.

No shoes and no mikes, eh? Well this should be fun. Alas, I won’t be at tonight’s show, but I hear there are still tickets available. Let me know how it goes, …

Continue reading George Winston opens Eddie & Agnes series tonight »

POLL: Gwinnett Braves Stadium becomes Coolray Field

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Gwinnett Braves Stadium becomes Coolray Field. Chopper stays just as goofy. AJC file photo

So I’m perusing the Gwinnett Braves Web site last night and notice a jokey story about a wayward zebra heading to Coolray Field. Strangely, I get the zebra gag, but where is this Coolray Field?

Do you like the change from Gwinnett Braves Stadium to Coolray Field?

  • Yes!
  • No!
  • It’s fine, but it’ll be a while before I remember what to call it.

View Results

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Turns out I missed the news from late last week that the Atlanta Braves signed a multi-million dollar deal with Marietta’s Coolray Heating and Cooling for naming rights to the Gwinnett ballpark in Lawrenceville.  That means Gwinnett Braves Stadium becomes Coolray Field.

(For the record, last we knew, the zebra was safely under the care of UGA veterinarians in Athens. Maybe there was a stop in Lawrenceville on the way.)

The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but based on the numbers available, it “puts the …

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Do Georgia State Parks need more camp sites, cabins?

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Tugaloo State Park could add to its 113 camp sites and 20 cottages on the shores of Lake Hartwell. AJC/Brant Sanderlin

Some Georgia State Parks could get new campsites, cabins and cottages — good news for anybody who has waited for a spot during peak season in spring, summer, fall or on any holiday.

The Department of Natural Resources hopes to float $5 million in bonds for the building projects, and Gov. Sonny Perdue supports the project. As the story, “Lawmakers could put $5 million into campsites, cabins for state parks,” by AJCer Nancy Badertscher explains:

The idea is to make the parks more self-sustaining, says Becky Kelley, the DNR’s director of parks, recreation and historic sites. The system brings in 69 cents for every dollar it spends …

The strategy of investing in more cabins and campsites for the state parks is based on history, she said.

State parks make the most money “when people spend the night with us,” Kelley said.

It explains that the Richard B. Russell …

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Exhibitions love Atlanta: Titanic, Cavalia, Diana, what next?

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“Bodies…The Exhibition" had 400,000 visitors at the Atlanta Civic Center in 2006 and later returned to the Premier Exhibition Center in Atlantic Station. Atlanta can't seem to get enough exhibitions. AJC file photo

Reading this story felt like a newsy depiction of my Google calendar: “Atlanta a fast-rising star in world of major exhibitions.”

For months now, I’ve been bouncing from arena to museum to warehouse to stage to see artifacts from the Titanic, the key that locked Martin Luther King Jr. in a Birmingham jail cell, life-size dinosaurs that eat and roar, acrobats on horses, the work of Leonardo da Vinci, plastinated bodies, golden jewelry, Sesame Street puppets, Grand Canyon images, Henry Moore sculptures, Princess Diana’s wedding dress and the innards of a tornado.

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Princess Diana's wedding dress is on display at the Atlanta Civic Center through June 13. AJC/Vino Wong

It seems obvious to me that the number and caliber of exhibitions around Atlanta is picking up, and I …

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Don’t forget! Valentine’s Day events around Atlanta

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Looking for something to do this Valentine's Day? Maybe the classic fairy tale romance, "Cinderella," as performed by the Atlanta Ballet will do the trick. Here's Christine Winkler as Cinderella, which continues through Feb. 14 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Photo by Charlie McCullers

Maybe it’s because my neighborhood grocery store has been pink and red and heart-covered since Jan. 2, but I’d all but forgotten this is Valentine’s Day week. (What tipped me off? The aisles are starting to turn all green and shamrocky.) Time to start making some plans.

Rana at the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog has done some legwork to find a solid list of free-to-cheap Atlanta Valentine’s Day date ideas, from the High Museum to Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum, from movies at The Strand to improv at Relapse.

There are dozens more Valentine’s Day events and ideas on the AccessAtlanta.com calendar, too.

Here are a few more ideas, but I’d love to hear yours, too! What are your plans …

Continue reading Don’t forget! Valentine’s Day events around Atlanta »

Great Atlanta Black History Month events in February

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Here's a moment in Alvin Ailey Dance Company's "Revelations." The company returns to Atlanta this month to celebrate Judith Jamison’s 20th year as artistic director. AJC/Hyosub Shin

February in Atlanta gives us an incredible opportunity to learn and celebrate Black History Month through art and community, no matter your age or background.

Here’s an incredibly helpful (and thorough) list of Atlanta Black History Month events including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances and gospel choirs at the Fox Theatre; dance and jazz at the Rialto Center for the Arts and Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts; the Margaret Mitchell House’s Big Read events; a portrait exhibition at the Atlanta History Center; a photo exhibition at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site; exhibitions at Hammonds House and Spelman College; children and family activities at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center; “Our Town” at True …

Continue reading Great Atlanta Black History Month events in February »