Dogwood Fest still scrambling

CL's 2008 Atlanta Dogwood Festival Coverage

Organizers of the 72nd annual Dogwood Festival say they may have to move the popular event to Stone Mountain or Lenox Mall this year after they received word from the city on Jan. 11 that Piedmont Park will be off-limits to festivals and events this year because of the drought.

They have looked at a number of possible sites - including Turner Field, Atlantic Station and the Civic Center - and all had scheduling conflicts. Another promising possibility was turning this year's event into a street festival along Fifth and Spring streets. Georgia Tech put the kibosh on that idea.

"Most major cities have a large street festival that includes fine art, music, food and family activities, not unlike the Dogwood Festival," Atlanta Dogwood Festival Executive Director Brian Hill said. "We developed a plan around Fifth and Spring streets, commonly known as Technology Square, with an effort to minimize traffic and incorporate local businesses. City officials evaluated the plan, and all parties thought we had an exciting solution to our dilemma." Unfortunately, Georgia Tech officials were concerned that the event could impact Saturday classes and research in nearby buildings.

Party poopers.

Hill says the festival is looking at one other Midtown option. "If we can't get a site agreement this week, we will turn to either Lenox Mall or Stone Mountain as festival venue options." Both facilities can host the event and have proven successes hosting events the size of the Dogwood Festival. "We appreciate the willingness of both facilities to support us; however, we hope to keep true to the mission of the Dogwood Festival and celebrate the coming of spring in Midtown," Hill said. "Perhaps if we can't be among the blossoming trees in the park we can at least stay within walking distance."