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

What to do this Christmas break? Try some of these ideas.

As a regular purveyor of blog-friendly lists, I couldn’t leave you without these as we move into the thick of holiday vacations and last-minute gift-purchasing.

1) 12 kid-friendly ideas for Christmas break: You’ll recognize a few of these suggestions from our daily to-do lists, mostly because I sent some to my fellow AJCer Howard Pousner

2) Top 20 events to while away the winter in 2010: We’ll go into detail on some of these events now, but this handy round-up from the Arts and Culture blog offers a preview. You might want to reserve tickets — for yourself or others — now.

For those needing more ways to keep everyone busy, I’ll publish a list of Christmas weekend activities on Tuesday!

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading What to do this Christmas break? Try some of these ideas. »

Stone Mountain becomes Snow Mountain Dec. 26-March 7


Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park! AJC/John Spink

Here’s something to cheer you up on this decidedly gray, rainy day: there’s snow on the way. Don’t you feel better already?

What I’m talking about, though, is the best kind of snow — fluffy stuff that will never back up traffic, but happens to be perfect for tubing. As of Dec. 26, Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park, complete with tubing on the laser lawn, snow play areas for building igloos and snowmen, special spots for little kids and areas to take it all in or warm your feet by the fire.

Like in past years, Snow Mountain uses a closed-loop system that chills snow from Stone Mountain Lake. They’ll take several weeks to pile on layers, creating a nice slick for the daredevils who arrive on opening day. Here are some photos of Snow Mountain construction, shot yesterday by AJCer John Spink. The attraction opens a little earlier this year, catching that post-Christmas crowd that so badly needs to get …

Continue reading Stone Mountain becomes Snow Mountain Dec. 26-March 7 »

Access Points 19: Macy’s Pink Pig ride at Lenox Square

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It's the Pink Pig at the Lenox Square Macy's! Photo by Barry Williams

The guesses for this week’s Access Points photo game were a-plenty — The Vortex, the eye of the Atlanta Hawk, the Big Chicken, an Elmo float — but in fact, it was a little Atlanta holiday tradition you can find these days at Lenox Square.

Yes, Laura, it is the Pink Pig at Macy’s. You were the first to identify it, so you win four passes from Macy’s for two rides aboard the Pig!

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Percival, one of the Monorail Twins, in their glory days. AJC file photo

The modern Pink Pig is a 3 1/2-minute ride based on a holiday attraction that appeared a the downtown Atlanta Rich’s store beginning in 1953. Priscilla, the original Pink Pig, was a sales-driving monorail that flew along the department store ceiling, giving kids an overhead view of the dreamy toy department. Another pig, Percival, was added later. Later on, the monorail moved to the roof the department store, and offered up a view of downtown Atlanta and Rich’s …

Continue reading Access Points 19: Macy’s Pink Pig ride at Lenox Square »

What are your Atlanta Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ memories?


Anne Burton Avery, the Atlanta Ballet's original Sugar Plum Fairy performs in the "Nutcracker" in an undated photo dug from the AJC archives.

I’ve always thought of the “Nutcracker” as one of those holiday traditions that’s gone on so long you could never find when it began. Maybe it feels like forever if you’re a ballet dancer, but Atlanta Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s classic hit a milestone this season: 50 years.

In a story by Howard Pousner in this Sunday’s AJC, one-time artistic director Robert Barnett recalled how they performed only the second act in the first “Nutcracker” season in Atlanta in 1959. They danced George Balanchine’s choreography at the long-gone Tower Theatre, only the third such performance in the United States, outside New York and San Francisco.

He was certain there would be a big audience for this “charming and very children-friendly” ballet when he and his wife, Virginia Rich Barnett, were hired by what was then the Atlanta Civic Ballet as …

Continue reading What are your Atlanta Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ memories? »

Buckhead’s luxury St. Regis Hotel opens 7th floor ice rink

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The St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead opened an ice rink on 7th floor terrace on Dec. 5, 2009. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

Ice skating at downtown Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, a temporary rink known for craggy ice and a family friendly atmosphere: $9 for 90 minutes and skate rental.

Ice skating at the IceForum at Town Center, a permanent facility in Kennesaw with public skating sessions: $10 for up to two hours and skate rental.

Ice skating at the St. Regis Hotel’s new temporary rink on Buckhead hotel’s 7th floor terrace: $30 for one hour and skate rental.

Um. Wow. Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t skate.

Don’t get me wrong, the new rink that AJCer Katie Leslie wrote about in today’s paper sounds lovely, with a gentler crowd and curiosity-inducing location:

Organizers have created the rink atop a grassy lawn on the seventh floor terrace of the luxury building, next to its spacious pool and waterfall. Engineers from Ice Rink Events, partnering with event production firm The Maverick …

Continue reading Buckhead’s luxury St. Regis Hotel opens 7th floor ice rink »

Atlanta holiday shows pack stages and schedules


Actors Enoch King and Harold Leaver acted out a scene during dress rehearsal of "The Santaland Diaries" at the Horizon Theatre last month. The show runs through Jan. 3, and is among dozens more holiday shows at local theaters.

Combing through this year’s schedule of holiday shows at local theaters, I was overwhelmed by the quantity of Messiahs, Nutcrackers, jolly Santas and sassy elves.

But I am so very thankful for AJC reporter Jill Vejnoska, who explained in a story on Sunday how and why we experience this merry glut of holiday shows every year. It never appeared online, so I’m posting it here, with links to help you get in on some of the holiday action.

Happy holiday show shopping:

For Harold Leaver, ’tis the season to pop multivitamins and pump iron.

“I tend to pick up my gym time as ‘Santaland’ gets close, ” Leaver, 47, sighed. “We’re talking about maintaining my elfin figure, after all.”

Leaver is starring as Crumpet, the embittered department store elf in Horizon …

Continue reading Atlanta holiday shows pack stages and schedules »

Know before you go: Atlanta Macy’s Great Tree Lighting

UPDATE 11/29: If you’re looking for photos from the tree lighting, check out this photo gallery!
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The Macy's Great Tree Lighting in Atlanta is November 26. Here's a view of the 2004 tree. AJC file photo

A 60-foot white pine that lived for years outside a home in Dallas, Ga. will light up Thursday night outside Lenox Square for an audience of about 100,000 people. It’s Macy’s Great Tree Lighting, an Atlanta tradition that’s been around fo rmore than 60 years.

The best part: the celebration and fireworks are free. As Macy’s spokeswoman Melissa Goff put it, “it’s our gift to Atlanta.”

If you’ve got ideas about how to make the Great Tree Lighting a smooth, fun experience, or if you’ve got memories of the event to share, post them in the comments!

For now, here’s what you need to know before you go:

When: The tree-lighting pre-show starts at 6:15 p.m., but people always arrive early.  Nov. 26. The lighting celebration begins at 7 p.m. and fireworks will continue through 8 …

Continue reading Know before you go: Atlanta Macy’s Great Tree Lighting »

Thanksgiving weekend to do list: November 26-29

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The Macy's Great Tree Lighting at Lenox Square is free on Thursday night. Holidays not your thing? There's a lot more to do this weekend. AJC file photo

Since I hope you won’t be sitting in front of your computer on Thursday, we’re publishing the Thanksgiving Weekend To Do List today. Plan ahead to prevent the post-feast coma.

If your Thanksgiving plans mostly involve food, Black Friday shopping and holiday merriment, check out John Kessler’s Food and More blog, Rana Cash’s Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog, the AJC’s Jessica Shops blog and the Holiday Guide.

But if you’re just looking for fun stuff to do, here are some ideas. As always, share your suggestions for fun weekend goings-on in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving! — Jamie G.


Exercise: Atlanta Marathon and Half-Marathon, 7:30 a.m., Turner Field, Atlanta.

Exercise: Thanksgiving ice skating – admission is 1 cent per pound you weigh, or $4, 7-10 p.m., IceForum at Town Center, …

Continue reading Thanksgiving weekend to do list: November 26-29 »

New BabyLand General Hospital debuts for Christmas

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Cabbage Patch party! The Kids were out to celebrate Christmas and the new BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland on Nov. 21, 2009. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

After 30 years on Underwood Street in Cleveland, Ga., BabyLand General Hospital opened its new 70,000-square foot building this weekend, just in time for the annual Cabbage Patch Kids’ Appalachian Christmas celebration.

Hundreds of people came to celebrate, explore and to shop/adopt. I was there by 10 a.m. and the 300-space parking lot was already full. No big deal: the overflow lot is across the street, where you get a great view of the new home and its holiday decorations.

I’ll post with the details of the new BabyLand General later this week, but till then, check out photos of the Appalachian Christmas and to get a look at the Kids’ new digs.

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The New BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Ga. was under construction for three years, but opened in time for Christmas.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on …

Continue reading New BabyLand General Hospital debuts for Christmas »

How do you have fun while holiday shopping?


Shoppers flooded Ambient + Studio in Atlanta for the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Sale Spectacular on Nov. 21, 2009. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Let’s think for a second about the experience of holiday shopping — the exhausting, stressful, maddening lengths we go to land a good deal or satisfy a list of friends and family who will (surely?) love us no matter what we give them.

Some people will never bat an eye at a line out the door or a pile-up of parents atop an electronic hamster. The thrill of a good deal is enough to keep them happy. (I’m looking at you, Rana.) But I don’t think I’m alone when I say I have no patience for shopping around, even for an awesome deal, if it makes me a cranky mess who can’t get the lyrics to “Jingle Bell Rock” out of her head. This is supposed to be a fun time of year!

How do I combat this? When I’m back in Michigan, I shop with my sisters and mom, who is particularly quick with the jokes and unfailing in her devotion to the gods of the Good Deal. …

Continue reading How do you have fun while holiday shopping? »