Swing into spring as Atlanta (and Georgia) become celebration central with events for music, art and flower lovers, birders and drinkers of beer.

WE BET GEORGIA has a festival this spring or summer that will get you off the couch and out the door. Tell Netflix you’ll be back. Grab a friend, water, sunscreen, kids if you have them, and go forth to find your fest. There are so many gatherings to choose from that narrowing it down to a “don’t-miss” list might be the most difficult task, next to (possibly) parking.

Here, in chronological order, is where to get that festival feeling in metro Atlanta area and beyond.


The crossroads of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Photo: Steve Schaefer

ATLANTA DOGWOOD FESTIVAL. April 13-15. This granddaddy of Atlanta outdoor gatherings has popped up with the blossoming dogwood trees almost every spring since 1936. More than 200,000 visitors come to Piedmont Park in Midtown for the midway rides, all-day concerts, hands-on kids’ activities and aerial antics of the Atlanta Dog & Disc club. Cruise the huge Artist Market, ranked in the national Top 10 by Sunshine Artist magazine. No passport required to visit the International Village and see Calo Gitano Flamenco Dance or the Munting Tinig Children’s Choir. Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Shawn Mullins performs Saturday night.

New this year is Backyard Bites & Brews at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, an all-inclusive tasting event where you can sample the many flavors of metro Atlanta’s restaurants. It includes food and beer tastings, access to aVIP tent, private restrooms and seating. $40 + $60, if available, at the door. Details HERE.

  • Know before you go: Free, except some events and VIP sections require tickets ($10-$20). No outside food, drink, coolers, dogs or smoking allowed. Small chairs are allowed.
  • Ride or drive? Either, but expect traffic to back up on Midtown streets. Park only in authorized lots ($10 and up) or book parking in advance on SpotHero.com. On foot, take MARTA to the Midtown or Arts Center station, hop a festival shuttle or walk the few blocks. A bike valet is available if you pedal in.
  • Details: Including a downloadable map HERE or at 404.817.6642. 
The 2018 documentary “Black Memorabilia” looks at one of the physical manifestations of racism in America. Photo: Atlanta Film Festival

ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL. April 13-22. Georgia’s $7 billion film industry had more feature film production in recent years than anywhere, including California and the United Kingdom. But film has always been an Atlanta thing — as this 42-year-old event attests. Moviemaker magazine named it one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” and this year’s lineup (200 films from 56 countries) one of the best in the region for movie watchers and moviemakers. Get the picture?

  • Know before you go: Includes movies, parties and a creative conference. $50 for screenings and parties. All-inclusive badges $125-$775. Badges also are available for entry discounts and a buddy pass. Various locations. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.296.0170.
  • Ride or drive? Either.
Let the jousting begin … at the Georgia Renaissance Festival.

GEORGIA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL. April 14-June 3. Go medieval in Fairburn for eight weekends at this vast variety show. You’ll walk among hundreds of people in period costumes, watch jousting tournaments and see sword swallowers, magicians and wandering minstrels. Choose from 10 stages of entertainment. Put the kids on the “people-powered” rides in Old Towne. The 32-acre Artisans Market has weaving demonstrations, and the pubs supply beer, turkey legs, fish and chips, even steak on a stake.

  • Know before you go: Open Saturday-Sunday and Memorial Day. $23.95; $11.95 ages 6-12. Rides + games $2-$5. Some discount tickets available HERE, including 2-for-1 adult admission opening weekend. Half-price discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. More details HERE or at 770.964.8575.
  • Ride or drive? Drive. It’s 38 miles south of Atlanta via I-85. Free parking. 

ATLANTA BIRD FEST. April 14-May 20. Five consecutive weekends of field trips, workshops and guest speakers during Georgia’s springtime bird migration. Author/ illustrator Julie Zickefoose (EdenThe Bluebird Effect and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest) speak opening weekend. The closing party at SweetWater Brewing hosts author/environmentalist Janisse Ray (Ecology of a Cracker ChildhoodThe Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food). It’s all for a high-flying cause: Proceeds support the Atlanta Audubon Society.

  • Know before you go: Some field trips sell out in advance, but you can get on the wait list. Some events free, others $10-$50. Various locations. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Drive.

SWEETWATER 420 FESTIVAL. April 20-22. SweetWater Brewing Co. brings in the national musical acts and beer that make this weekend at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta a party-crowd favorite. On this year’s bill: String Cheese Incident, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Umphrey’s McGee, plus comedians and local musicians.

  • Know before you go: $$66-$170 single-day pass; $138-$392 three-day pass. Parking passes $18-$52. Leave selfie sticks, GoPros and drones at home. Only clear bags smaller than 17 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches allowed, along with hand-size clutch purses. Details, tickets, passes HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Rideshare with Uber or Lyft or take MARTA to Peachtree Center or CNN Center station. Parking passes available online, but don’t expect quick entrance or exit if driving.

ATLANTA ARAB FESTIVAL. April 21-22. Alif Institute, Atlanta’s Arab-American cultural center, has hosted this party for 13 years. Delve into food flavors from the Middle East, shop the souk (bazaar), and let the kids enjoy the games and rides. If you start to slow down, a cup of Arabic coffee will perk you right up.

  • Know before you go: $5; age 12 and under free. No pets or smoking. Details HERE.
  •  Ride or drive? Drive. Free parking.
Photo: Kaya Vineyard and Winery

JEEPS IN THE VINES. April 21. Kaya Vineyard & Winery’s spring fling brings together live music, food, wine and dozens of Jeeps of every vintage. The winery ia partnering with TLC Humane Society (Dahlonega’s only no-kill shelter) to raise funds and will accept donations for the shelter (cat and dog treats, toys, food, towels, laundry soap) at the event. It’s kid-friendly and dogs are welcome, too.

  • Know before you go: $20 plus $5 parking. 5400 Town Creek Road, Dahlonega. About 2 hours north of Atlanta via U.S. 19 or I-85/985. Details HERE or at 706.219.3514.

SOUTHLAND JUBILEE. April 24. This 20-year old heritage arts festival celebrates small-town America 75 miles east of Atlanta in Greensboro, Ga. (population: 3,384). Check out the homegrown artisans, 4-H show, children’s entertainment stage and classic cruiser car show. Shawn Mullins will perform at the local Oconee Brewing Co.

  • Know before you go: Free; $20 concert. 80 miles east of Atlanta via I-20. Details HERE.

SANDY SPRINGS ARTSAPALOOZA. April 21-22. The annual event turns 7 this season and features 150 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metal crafters, glass blowers and jewelers showing and selling their creations, plus live acoustic music, gourmet food trucks with healthy alternatives and beverages, and a children’s area. See the tree-lined streets of the suburban city become an expansive art gallery.

  • Know before you go: Free, and dogs are welcome. Centered around 6100 Lake Forest Drive N.E. in Sandy Springs. The site is less than a mile from the Roswell Road exit on I-285. Details HERE.
Wonder Woman has been known to drop in for the parade.

INMAN PARK FESTIVAL AND PARADE. April 27-29. One of the more eclectic neighborhood parties in Atlanta. The 5K run welcomes costumed runners, and the Saturday parade is Instagram-worthy. A tour of homes showcases Victorian houses from the late 1800s. Also: live music, children’s activities and professional ballet performances. The Arts Market features 150 artisans. Shop for antiques and clothing at the Street Market. Keeping with the neighborhood spirit, visit the Community Corner and learn about local nonprofits.

  • Know before you go: The only Friday event is the ticketed ($20-$25) tour of homes (noon-4 p.m.). Everything else is free. In Inman Park, from DeKalb Avenue to Austin Avenue NE. Details HERE or at 770.635.3711.
  • Ride or drive? Avoid driving into the neighborhood. Walk or bike the Atlanta BeltLine instead, rideshare or take MARTA to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown station.

GREAT SOUTHERN BEER FEST. April 28. Ready, set, beer. This Virginia-Highland fest, in its inaugural year, features more than 70 Southern-bred craft beers and piles of Southern comfort food from local chefs. Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville, N.C.); Reformation Brewery (Woodstock); and Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta) will be among those pouring. Also: lawn games and live music.

  • Know before you go: $43-$55. Includes unlimited tastings. No one under 21 admitted. John Howell Park. 797 Virginia Ave. N.E., Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Organizers strongly recommend using a designated driver, Uber, Lyft or public transit.

DULUTH ARTS FESTIVAL. April 28-29. If you don’t know Duluth, this is a way to say howdy. Forbes magazine called this small city one of the best places in America to live. The event overflows with visual arts — showcasing 125 painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelers and glass artists. The live music is acoustic, and what the food vendors offer is healthy. Duluth is 27 miles northeast of Atlanta via I-85.

  •  Know before you go: Free admission, free parking in seven nearby lots. Duluth Town Center, 3167 Main St. Details HERE.


 SHAKY KNEES / SHAKY BEATS MUSIC FESTIVALS. May 4-6 + 11-13. A music lover’s dream with more than 60 bands and a lineup diverse enough to entice baby boomers and millennials. This first weekend (Shaky Knees) features Jack White, the National, David Byrne (Talking Heads’ former frontman) and the Fleet Foxes, among many others. The second weekend (Shaky Beats) features Marshmello, Kygo, Ludacris and many more.

  • Know before you go: $99-$189; age 8 and under free with ticketed adult at Shaky Knees (limit 2 children per adult); Shaky Beats is age 18 and up only. Only bags that do not exceed 14 inches by 11 inches by 5 inches allowed. Central Park in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, 400 Merritts Ave. Shaky Knees details HERE. Shaky Beats details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Either, but expect traffic. Take MARTA to the North Avenue station.

GEORGIA APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL. May 5-6. In North Georgia, in and around the East Ellijay area, spring blossoms mean fall apples. Join the locals for a day or a weekend of fun and games, arts and crafts, and plenty of good food — all provided by more than 50 hand-selected regional vendors — plus fresh air and gobsmacking mountain views.

  • Know before you go: Free. On Craig Street in East Ellijay. About 2 hours north of Atlanta via I-75/575, Details HERE or at 706.635.7400.

ROSWELL SPRING ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL. May 5-6. Look for more than 80 artists and crafters at this fine arts festival organized by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. Live music and entertainment both days, too, and it’s family-friendly.

  • Know before you go: Free, with free parking. At Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill St., Roswell. Details HERE.

SCAD SAND ART FESTIVAL. May 11. Travel down Savannah way, or Tybee Island more precisely, for this beach-based art gallery that’s buckets of fun for all ages. Temporary sculptures rise from the water’s edge as Savannah College of Art and Design students and alumni take to the  island’s South Beach to compete for $15,000 in prizes and best in sand … er, show.

  • Know before you go:   Free. Beach Pier & Pavilion, Tybee Island. About 4 hours from Atlanta via I-75 S and I-16 east. Details HERE.  

CHASTAIN PARK ARTS FESTIVAL. May 12-13. Let’s go by the numbers. This free annual event is in its ninth year, features 185 artist booths and ranks No. 67 on Sunshine Artist magazine’s Top 100 list. Georgia artists are emphasized, from jewelers to photographers, and it’s a fine place to buy yourself or someone else a gift. If you love live acoustic music, healthy food vendors and a laid-back atmosphere, this is your kind of fest.

  • Know before you go: Yes — dogs on leashes. No — coolers, glass bottles or alcohol not purchased onsite.
  • Ride or drive? Drive. Free parking.

SWEET AUBURN SPRINGFEST. May 12-13. Experience two days of soulful live music, dance troupes and munchies in the historic Auburn Avenue district. Free. This fest bills itself as “celebrating everything Atlanta” and includes a Fun Zone for kids and a pavilion for senior citizens. Fly on a 200-ft. zipline or stay grounded in the festival’s pop-up library.

  • Know before you go: Free. Streets around the festival will close to traffic starting at 8 a.m. At John Wesley Dobbs and Auburn avenues. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Extremely limited parking lots in the area. Use Uber, Lyft or ride the streetcar. On MARTA, exit at the Georgia State or King Memorial station. 

KIRKWOOD SPRING FLING & TOUR OF HOMES. May 19. Enjoy a day in a fun and funky restored intown neighborhood. Look for pottery, paintings and other art at the artists market. Follow your nose to the barbecue cook-off or indulge in street-festival staples like hot dogs, tacos and funnel cakes. The Kirkwood Neighbors Organization will serve sangria and locally brewed. Pets and strollers are welcome in the 5K road race that starts at 8:30 a.m. The tour of homes runs noon-5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday (May 20).

  • Know before you go: Dogs OK in the 5K but not at the festival. Free admission. Bessie Branham Park, 2051 Delano Drive NE, Atlanta. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Rideshare, bike or MARTA (East Lake station) is best. If you do drive, there’s street parking scattered around the neighborhood.

ALPHARETTA ARTS STREET FEST. May 26-28. This Memorial Day weekend arts-a-palooza, 14 years strong, recruits artists from around the country and features everything from folk art to culinary creativity. Children’s activities and cultural arts performances round out the weekend. Pet-friendly if you dog is leashed.

  • Know before you go: Free. Milton Avenue and Main Street. (Enter 2 N. Main St., Alpharetta, into your GPS.) Parking available at 2 Park Place and 86 School Drive. Details HERE or at 678.297.6000.

ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL. May 26-27. One of the nation’s largest free jazz festivals weaves a monthlong musical path through the city. Events include MARTA Mondays with live jazz at various stations (May 7, 14, 21) and a Neighborhood Jazz Series at an Atlanta park every weekend. It all culminates in the main fest at Piedmont Park in Midtown, a Memorial Day weekend tradition with all-day performances on three stages, highlighted this time by Jazzmeia Horn and Dianne Reeves.

  • Know before you go:  Free. Reserve parking ($5-$44) via SpotHero.com. No pets, grilling, glass containers or smoking. Tents measuring no more than 10 feet by 10 feet and secured with sandbags, not stakes, are allowed. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Ride, if possible. Fines for parking on residential-only streets are $75 during the festival. Use Uber or Lyft or take MARTA to the Midtown or Arts Center station.

DECATUR ARTS FESTIVAL. May 25-27. This arty party takes over downtown Decatur once a year. It offers a lot, so allow time to check out the visual arts, live theater, live music, comedy, dance and literary events. Saturday’s Kids Art Festival begins with a parade. Vendors provide plenty of food and award-winning eateries are just steps away.

  • Know before you go: Free. Check out the schedule online HERE ahead of time. Centered around the Courthouse Square.
  • Ride or drive? Either. Metered and private parking lots available, but you might be walking a bit. If you take MARTA to the Decatur station, you’ll exit on the square and be in the middle of everything. 

OLD FOURTH WARD ARTS FESTIVAL. May 26-27. This urban fest in one of Atlanta’s newest city parks reflects the area’s diversity and benefits scholarships for local artists.You’ll find up to 150 painters, photographers, leather and metal crafters here. Eat, drink, listen to some live music and discover Atlanta’s rising creative talent in the Emerging Artist pavilion.

  • Know before you go: Free, with free parking adjacent to park. Leashed dogs welcome. Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, 592 N. Angier Ave. NE. Details HERE.
To the tents! Photo: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL. May 31-June 3. Put some South in your mouth on this culinary journey that goes from  hot sauce to haute cuisine, plus southern Europe, South Africa and South America. Tasting tents feature all-you-can-eat-and-drink offerings, cocktail gardens and live music; events include connoisseur meals (Dine by Sign is for astrological eaters, for example) and the Brew-zy Brunch features chicken and waffles, and gravy and biscuits. Plus cooking classes, cocktail classes and beer-tasting seminars. Can’t decide? Grab a day or weekend pass for a combo plate of experiences at this signature Atlanta foodie festival.

  • Know before you go: Plan as soon as you can — dinners and classes sell out well in advance. $55-$1,800 for individual or combined classes/ events/dinners. Classes are at Loews Atlanta Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St. NW; Tasting tents and fest central are in the Greensward Promenade section of Midtown’s Piedmont Park. Details, tickets HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Either. Pick your poison, in a manner of speaking.

HELEN BALLOON FESTIVAL. May 31-June 2. One of the only long-distance balloon races in the country starts with a mass ascension of up to 30 colorful hot-air balloons from the North Georgia village of Helen. Balloonists race toward the Atlantic Ocean and the first to cross highway I-95, anywhere between Maine and Miami, wins. Includes local flying events at the fest on Friday and Saturday, including tethered balloon rides. Take in the sights around the quaint, Bavarian-inspired town if and when the balloons are grounded.

  •  Know before you go:  Free. $10 tethered balloon rides. Helen is 93 miles north of Atlanta via I-85/985. Balloons fly as weather permits. Details and directions to the launching field HERE.


CANDLER PARK MUSIC AND FOOD FESTIVAL. June 1-2. Good energy abounds at this all-ages gathering in one of Atlanta’s classic neighborhoods. Shop for arts and crafts, feast from a food truck and grab a brew or mixed beverage at a full-service bar (cash only). Music fans get two days of live jams for an economical price. This year, get down with rockers Gov’t Mule, get funky with Lettuce and give attention to the sister act Larkin Poe (they’re related to Edgar Allen).

Photo: John Whittaker
  • Know before you go: $25 weekend pass (if still available, price goes up on event days); age 12 and under free with ticketed adult. No chairs, coolers, pets or selfie sticks allowed. 1500 McClendon Ave., Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Ride. Parking is very limited. Take Uber or Lyft to/from Candler Park Drive. On MARTA, exit at the Edgewood/Candler Park station. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition provides attendants to park and monitor your wheels at no charge.

PENNY McHENRY HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL. June 2-3.  In Douglasville. Discover why Garden and Gun magazine named named the city the Hydrangea Capitol of the South. The fest is named in memory of the American Hydrangea Society’s founder, and features a curated flower show (attracting as many as 500 entrants). Events also include a pre-fest wine-tasting ($25); an artist and garden market; and garden tours ($25) on both days

  • Know before you go: Most events are free but a few are ticketed on-site. Allow at least an hour or two to browse the exhibits. Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive, in Douglasville. Details HERE.
  • Getting there: Douglasville is 22 minutes west of Atlanta.
Gay actor Will Nolan.

ATLANTA FRINGE FESTIVAL. June 6-10. Theater, dance, spoken word, puppetry and circus arts from near and far make this an adventurous event that gets wild and edgy at times. And that’s just how the presenters and audiences like it. This year, among other artists, see Really Spicy Opera from Minneapolis, storyteller Jeffrey Robert the Gay Uncle from Seattle and Atlanta’s Puppets Playing Pretend.

  • Know before you go: $15 and up. Various venues. Details HERE.

FOOD THAT ROCKS: A CELEBRATION OF SANDY SPRINGS. June 9. Celebrate Sandy Springs, the City Green at City Springs in its new downtown, food, drink and friends on June 9 at the third annual Food That Rocks. This rain-or-shine event is for age 21 and up only. The all-inclusive evening features samples of beer, wine and craft beverages, plus bites from more than 20 Atlanta restaurants. This year’s lineup includes Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, CalyRoad Creamery, Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, Southern Bistro, and Taqueria Tsunami, a Latin-Asian fusion kitchen, among many others. Sip, sup and take in rockin’ local music. It all benefits the Community Assistance Center (which combats homelessness), the Drake House (which assists homeless single mothers and their children) and Second Helpings Atlanta (a food rescue organization).

  •  Know before you go: $50-$65 for 7:30 p.m. entry; $60-$75 for 6:30 p.m. VIP first-taster entry. Tickets are available now and buying in advance is recommended. Tickets will be sold at the gate only if available and parking is available on-site. City Green at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way in downtown Sandy Springs. Details, tickets HERE.

ROSWELL LAVENDER FESTIVAL. June 9. Breathe deeply. Celebrate all things lavender. Repeat. Learn about the ancient plant, its relaxing qualities, and its many uses in lotions, potions and folk remedies. Or browse the 75 arts and crafts booths with a lavender beer in hand (yes, that’s a thing). There’s a Zen Zone for meditation, yoga and reflexology. Live music and children’s activities, too.

  • Know before you go: Free, on the 6-acre grounds of Barrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive, Roswell. Park free at Roswell Presbyterian Church on Mimosa Boulevard or at Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill St. Details HERE.

TUNES FROM THE TOMBS. June 9. Raise your spirits at Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery. This all-day music fest is set among monuments, mausoleums and Victorian gardens. Jazz, classical, folk, rock — it’s all there, plus an artists market, food trucks and a palm reader. There’s limited “living” room at the cemetery, so you’d be smart to get your tickets in advance.

  • Know before you go: $20 advance; $15 senior citizens; $10 ages 4 to 12. Rock in Peace VIP tickets are $75. 248 Oakland Ave. SE. Details, tickets HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Walk, bike, rideshare or take public transit. The site is a 10-minute walk from MARTA’s King Memorial station.

VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND SUMMERFEST. June 9-10. So much festival goodness in the middle of one of Atlanta’s most vibrant neighborhoods. You get two stages of live music, an artist market, a Kids Fest, a 5K with up to 1,500 runners (afterward, a Tot Trot for movers and shakers age 7 and under) and a tour of homes.

Know before you go: Fest free. Home tours $25-$30. On Virginia Avenue between North Highland Avenue and Park Drive. New this year: self-storage for bikes at Inman Soccer Field (west entrance of fest). Details HERE.

Ride or drive? Either. Closest MARTA stations are Midtown (1.5 miles) and Inman Park/Reynoldstown (2 miles). From there walk or take the No. 6, No. 16 or No. 36 bus. The MARTA on the Go app can help plan the trip. Parking is $10 at Grace Lutheran Church, 1155 North Highland Ave.

ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE WESTSIDE. June 10. Bike. Walk. Play. Almost four miles of city streets from downtown to Underwood Hills are blocked to cars so you can roam, take in local culture and take part in pop-up events like dance and yoga. Neighborhoods on the route include downtown and the Georgia Tech and Atlantic Station areas. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition-organized features a bicycle parade at 4 p.m.

  • Know before you go: Free. If driving, park outside route. If you’d rather roll, Atlanta’s bike rental program has 500 bikes at more than 70 stations citywide. Details, map HERE.

ATLANTAFEST CHRISTIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL. June 14-16. Featuring more than 20 singers and speakers, including Michael W. Smith, Nick Hall and contemporary gospel artist Mandisa (from the fifth season of “American Idol”).

  •  Know before you go: $51-$115 single and multiday tickets. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell. Details, tickets HERE or 770.948.9290.

ATLANTA GRILLED CHEESE FESTIVAL. June 16-17. Why celebrate your addiction to hot, cheesy gooey goodness alone? This fest in Atlanta’s Brookhaven Park includes live music, a beer garden, a game zone and 15 vendors concocting cheesy delights. Try the Bantam Pub’s Overacheeser grilled-cheese club sandwich or support Grady High School’s basketball program and dunk a grilled Muenster on sourdough with Granny Smith apples, both a tasty $2 for a quarter-sandwich sample.

  • Know before you go: $32.50, includes 3 food samples; age 12 and under free with ticketed adult. Saturday is age 21 and up only. Sunday is all ages. No pets, outside food or alcohol. 4158 Peachtree Road NE. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Rideshare with Lyft, Uber or taxi. The only parking available on-site is strictly handicap-accessible.


SOUTHERN WING SHOWDOWN 2018. Aug. 5. Throw down with some of the best chefs in the Southeast at this foodie event, which promises a finger-lickin’ good time, flowing beverages, smoking Big Green Eggs and all-you-can-eat wing tastes from 25 restaurants. Eat with and greet the chefs, hear live entertainment, visit the photo booth, play games and avail yourself of a cash bar.
Atlanta restaurants sending chefs include Bhojanic, Canoe, City Winery, Donetto, Hampton + Hudson, JCT Kitchen, Local Republic, Richards’ Southern Fried, One Flew South, Saltyard, Seven Lamps, Table and Main, and the Mercury. Chefs from Helen, Savannah, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will join them. This party with a purpose benefits Angel Flight, which arranges free air transportation for people who must travel to receive lifesaving medical treatment.
  • Know before you go: This event runs 1-5 p.m. and routinely sells out, so buying tickets in advance is highly recommended. VIP first-taste entry ($57 + $62.50, including fees) is 21 and up only and begins at 1 p.m. IDs will be checked at the gate. General admission entry ($29 + $35.50, including fees) begins at 2 p.m. At the Fairmont event venue, 1429 Fairmont Ave. NW.

DECATUR BBQ, BLUES & BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL. Aug.11. Family-oriented intown fest serves classic Southern barbecue (including vegetarian) plus eight hours of live blues and bluegrass music. This year’s lineup includes Farewell Angelina, the Porch Bottom Boys and Michelle Malone.

  • Know before you go: $15 advance; $20 at gate; age 12 and under free with ticketed adult. Downtown Oakhurst at 630 East Lake Drive in Harmony Park. Beach chairs allowed but no coolers. Details HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Parking is extremely limited. The East Lake MARTA station is less than a mile away. Uber and Lyft are good options

MACON FILM FESTIVAL. Aug. 16-19. Independent films from around the world are screened in historic theaters in the city’s downtown arts district. This event, in its 13th year, includes celebrity guests, special screenings and workshops throughout the four-day weekend.  FilmFreeWay.com has named it one of the Top 100 film festivals around

  • Know before you go: $10-$125 for tickets or passes. Macon is about 1.5 hours south of Atlanta via I-75. Details HERE.

DUNWOODY BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL. Aug. 18. Flutter by and mingle with hundreds of butterflies in huge tents. Other activities include a birds of prey show; live animal encounters; educational booths; arts and crafts; and live entertainment.

  • Know before you go: $10; $5 age 4-12; under 3 free. Tickets sell out quickly. Entry to butterfly tents is first-come, first-served. Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Parking at 5676 Roberts Drive with overflow at New Hope Church, 5477 Roberts Drive. Details HERE.

PIEDMONT PARK ARTS FESTIVAL. Aug. 18-19. A longtime favorite of locals and visitors alike. It’s a large creative community gathering, with 250 visual artists, from painters to sculptors and jewelers. Plus artist demonstrations, a children’s play area, live music and a rolling Midtown vibe.

  • Know before you go: Free. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. Details, map HERE.
  • Ride or drive? Either. Book parking at SpotHero.com or try the Sage lot ($2-$15) at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE. The Arts Center and Midtown MARTA stations are no more than four blocks away.