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Best Festivals

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Creative Loafing has been presenting Atlanta's Best People, Places and Events since 1972. These are some of the past winners for this category:

Best OTP Festival BOA Award Winner

Year » 2005
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Georgia Apple Festival
Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, applemore...

Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, apple butter, apple dumplings, and fried dill pickles — there are more than 300 vendors offering such mountain handicrafts as log furniture, birdhouses, blown glass and quilts your memaw would kill for. You’ll typically find local musicians a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’, and you might even find a peach, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Oct. 8-9, 15-16. Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds. 706-636-4500. www.georgiaapplefestival.org.

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Best OTP Festival BOA Award Winner

Year » 2005
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Dunwoody Beer Festival

Best Festivals BOA Award Winner

Year » 2000
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Atlanta's best festivals take place in the spring and early summer, starting, appropriately, with its oldest. The 65th annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival (April 6-8, 2001) brings together the unlikely combo of arts venders and dog lovers to Piedmont Park. The yearly event is a rite of passage for city dwellersmore...

Atlanta's best festivals take place in the spring and early summer, starting, appropriately, with its oldest. The 65th annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival (April 6-8, 2001) brings together the unlikely combo of arts venders and dog lovers to Piedmont Park. The yearly event is a rite of passage for city dwellers eager to breathe the first warm spring air and take home a dogwood sapling. Plus, the canine Frisbee competition is absolutely breathtaking.

Arguably the best of the bunch, the Inman Park Spring Festival and Tour of Homes (April 27-29, 2001), is the city's best neighborhood celebration in terms of flat-out fun. This laid-back urban enclave takes on its festival with a mixture of Georgian gentility and big-city wit. Its flavorful parade — a highlight of the weekend — is a must-see for locals and tourists alike. The accompanying tour of homes lacks the stuffiness of the tours mounted by surrounding neighborhoods, while the festival itself boasts Atlanta's biggest street market.

Thank God for Alex Cooley. In the early '90s the concert promoter had the crazy idea that Atlanta might be ready for a large-scale outdoor music festival. Now, after seven years of the wildly popular Music Midtown, the thought of Atlanta not having such a festival is crazy. This year the event — now the size of a mini city — shifted to its second home since leaving the heart of Midtown, proving that a nondescript network of parking lots can host a fanbase of 250,000. The beauty of Music Midtown is in its buffet-style scheduling, letting fans have a slice of frat rock, a side of soul, a dab of disco and a heaping helping of people-watching all around. The eighth annual Music Midtown Festival will be held the weekend of May 4-6, 2001.

In terms of sheer artistic excellence, the Decatur Arts Festival (May 26-27, 2001) can't be beat. Although not as sweeping as Inman Park's party or as packed as the Dogwood Fest, this Memorial Day weekend event heralds the start of summer in Atlanta. Held around Decatur Square, the festival has a decidedly small-town feel. The art, however, is amazing in its diversity and thankfully lacking much of the kitsch found at Virginia-Highland's SummerFest.

Kitsch springs eternal at the Atlanta Pride Festival (traditionally held the last weekend in June), an eclectic celebration of the city's gay and lesbian community. Kicking off with a large-scale commitment ceremony Friday night and culminating in Sunday's parade up Peachtree Street, Atlanta Pride is the closest this city gets to Mardi Gras. The carnival atmosphere centers on a stage and market in Piedmont Park, but the real attraction is the festival-goers themselves, who tend to put on a bigger show than anything event organizers had in mind.

Not all of the city's festivals are outdoor affairs. The Atlanta Film & Video Festival (tentatively planned for June 8-16, 2001), produced by IMAGE Film & Video Center, finds hordes of local film buffs eager to sit in the dark for a week. With a collection of modern cinema shown in theaters across the city, this eagerly anticipated event is the Sundance of the South.

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Best Festivals BOA Award Winner

Year » 2000
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Music Midtown

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After Dark
After Dark
Cityscape
Cityscape
Consumer Culture
Consumer Culture
Index
Index
Oral Pleasures
Oral Pleasures
Poets, Artists & Madmen
Poets, Artists & Madmen