A Festival for Every Taste

It’s summer, and it’s festival season. With a mild climate, Atlanta plays host to a variety of festivals all year long, but things really get going in the summer. You really could go to some sort of festival just about every day – there are too many to list (just google “Atlanta summer festivals” and you’ll see what I mean!).  Being a lover of food, antiques, and art, here are few that I personally find appealing. Let us know if you been to any of these, or if there are any other Atlanta festivals that you recommend.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

May 30-June 2, various Midtown locations

Tickets might be a bit pricier than your typical summer festival, but if you’re a full-fledged foodie with some extra cash, this is a one you should consider. Created to showcase the South’s rich food and beverage traditions, the Atlanta food and wine festival also has a charitable purpose, and has supported such non-profits as the Atlanta History Center, Wholesome Wave, and the James Beard Foundation, among others – so you can feel good about spending those dollars on your ticket. You can choose from a variety of ticket options, ranging from a single dinner to a 3-day “Connoisseur Pass.” Pick up some new techniques at the Learning Experiences, where experts will be leading cooking and cocktail classes, tasting seminars and panel discussions. The Tasting Tents might be a good choice for someone who wants to experience a variety of the regions top talents and flavors; themed “tasting trails” include Southern Grown, Craft Beer, Bourbon, Southern Sweets, Snacks and Sandwiches, among others – and the list of participating restaurants and chefs sounds amazing.  (And purchases of $100 or more include a 1-year subscription to Food & Wine magazine, too.)

Atlanta Fringe Festival

June 5-9, various locations

Fringe festivals have been popping up all over the world in recent years, drawing adventurous fans seeking out the indie, underground, risky, weird and edgy – and the Atlanta Fringe Festival is no exception. This grassroots-born festival in its second year will host 24 shows in 6 venues over 5 days, providing a platform for theatrical and radio artists on the “fringe.” In addition to the shows, there’s plenty of partying to be had. The Preview Party on June 5 will give partiers a 3-minute snapshot of each show, while the nightly “Hive Spots” will offer late-night snacks, drinks and rowdiness after the shows. The fun is topped off with the Closing Party on June 9, one last chance to celebrate with fellow festival-goers and see out the 2013 Atlanta Fringe Festival.

Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival

June 29-30 at Old Fourth Ward Park (Free!)

This two-day celebration of community and tradition has a little something for everyone. With an emphasis on visual art, it features painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metal craft persons, glass blower, jewelers and more. Artist demonstrations, live entertainment, and hands-on art activities add an interactive element.  And of course, what’s a festival without food? Local food concessions will be available, as will beverages, including beer. The Old Fourth Ward Park itself, a product of Atlanta’s Beltline redevelopment, is one of Atlanta’s most unique and scenic parks, and worthy of a visit in and of itself –a fun, fabulous art festival just makes it even better.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

July 27 at Piedmont Park (Free!)

Okay, here’s the scoop on this one. Yes, this festival is definitely about ice cream, and you get to have some! Sample flavors, try some toppings, or maybe have a cone. But you won’t have to feel guilty, because this festival also has a focus on health and fitness. Contradictory, you say? Not at all! We all deserve to have ice cream from time to time – even more so if we’re taking steps to burn some extra calories and stay in shape, and you’ll have the chance to do that at the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, with ZUMBA Fitness Routines, Line Dances, Hula Hoop Contest, Frisbee Toss, Bounce Houses, Sack Races, and so much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit with various local health agencies to ask questions and get information.

Marietta StreetFest

Sept. 21 at Marietta Square (Free!)

This Atlanta annual tradition has been held since 1991, drawing approximately 10,000 residents and visitors alike each year to browse and shop arts, crafts and  antiques vendors, as well as the local farmer’s market. There’s also the Hubcaps and History Classic Car Show (vote for your favorite car), and the Children’s Zone with art activities, slides and bounces. This year’s exciting new addition is the Marietta Grassroots Festival, providing musical entertainment from 2-8 pm. Surrounding Marietta Square, you’ll find even more to explore: antique stores and boutiques, historic districts, museums, and plenty of great dining options. This festival, a fundraiser for the nonprofit Marietta Museum of History, was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events.

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