Atlanta’s Biggest and Best Events
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| Winter 2019

Atlanta’s Biggest and Best Events

The Can’t Miss Happenings for 2019

By Amanda Adams

From unique Atlanta events to cultural celebrations, from sports

to holiday happenings and neighborhood festivals, 2019 will truly offer something for everyone. Anyone new to the area may be unfamiliar with the long list of happenings in and around Atlanta. Looking ahead to 2019, here is a compilation of Atlanta’s biggest and best events—a full year’s worth of great things to see and do in your new hometown. Please note that several dates have not yet been finalized for 2019. Be sure to check on specific dates closer to the event.

Unique Atlanta Events

Polar Plunge

Ring in the New Year with a dip in the ice-cold waters of Lake Acworth. An annual tradition, this event serves as a fundraiser for Special Olympics Georgia. Featuring live music, food, and prizes, the Polar Plunge will be held at Acworth Beach.

Cathedral Antiques Show

Featuring antiques, art, and floral and interior design, this festival is held annually to raise money for a designated charity. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women of the Cathedral of St. Philip, the festival will run Jan 23-27.

Atlanta Fringe Festival

Focusing on original works by performers in all genres of theater, the Atlanta Fringe Festival is an annual event held in June. The festival spotlights local, national, and international performers.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

Now in its ninth year, the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival both celebrates America’s Favorite Dessert and offers many health and wellness engagement activities. Each July the festival teams up with a local non-profit health agency to promote their health and wellness initiatives.

Cool Dads Rock Soap Box Derby

Cool Dads Rock is an organization intended to build meaningful and memorable relationships with fathers and their children, no matter what the age. Their annual Soapbox Derby, typically held in August, gives father-and-child duos the chance to create their own car and compete against other teams.

Dragon Con Parade

Kicking off the first full day of the convention, the Dragon Con Parade encourages attendees to dress as favorite characters from genres such as fantasy, comic books, and science fiction. The parade typically takes place on the first Saturday in September.

East Atlanta Strut

With a colorful parade and large Artists Market, the East Atlanta Strut happens on the third Saturday in September. The festival features a 5K fun run, great food, live music, and other events.

Stone Mountain Highland Games

Celebrating Scots and people of Scottish descent, the Stone Mountain Highland Games take place the third weekend of October. Competitive events such as Highland Dance and Weight Toss are popular, as well as live music and a selection of Celtic vendors and artisans.

Little 5 Points Halloween Parade

Typically held on a Saturday leading up to Halloween, this event is billed as the signature Halloween festival in the southeast and one of the top 10 Halloween events in the country. The Little 5 Points Halloween Parade draws crowds of over 35,000 to the interesting and diverse neighborhood.

Arts, Music, and Culture Celebrations

Atlanta Film Festival

Now in its fourth decade, the Atlanta Film Festival welcomes an audience of nearly 25,000 to discover hundreds of new independent, international, animated, documentary, and short films. Widely recognized among the best film festivals in the country, the 2019 festival will take place Apr. 4-14.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Spanning the weekend of April 12-14, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival will be held in Piedmont Park. In addition to beautiful, in-bloom dogwood trees, this annual event boasts food, live music, a 5K, and hundreds of artists exhibiting and selling their work.

Georgia Renaissance Festival

Now in its 34th season, the Georgia Renaissance Festival transports visitors to 16th-century England. A 32-acre village is equipped with over 150 artisan craft shops, 10 entertainment stages, several pubs and taverns, and food galore. This year’s festival runs from April 13 to June 2.

Shaky Knees Festival

Featuring five stages and more than 75 bands each year, Shaky Knees is a music-lover’s dream. Created in 2013, the festival has featured diverse lineups ranging from world-renowned acts to up-and-coming artists. Shaky Knees 2019 takes place May 3-5 in Central Park.

Atlanta Jazz Festival

One of the country’s largest free jazz festivals, the Atlanta Jazz Festival features concerts throughout the month of May, culminating with a free three-day festival over Memorial Day weekend.

National Black Arts Festival

Offering multidisciplinary programs that educate, enrich, and entertain, the National Black Arts Festival Spotlight Series spans the summer and fall months and showcases the art of local, national, and international artists of African descent.

Decatur Book Festival

The largest independent book festival in the country and among the five largest overall, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival typically takes place during Labor Day weekend. Featuring book signings, author discussions, readings, and a host of food and book vendors, the event has something for the whole family.

Music Midtown

Hosting a diverse lineup of over 30 artists across four stages, Music Midtown has been Atlanta’s premier music festival since 1994. Typically held in Piedmont Park during September, this is one of the most anticipated music events of the year!

Atlanta Greek Festival

Celebrating its 45th year in 2019, the Atlanta Greek Festival brings the sounds, tastes, and traditions of Greece to your doorstep. Offering traditional foods and events, the festival takes place in late September at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Clairmont Road.

Atlanta Pride

Well into its fourth decade, Atlanta Pride is held in Piedmont Park during October. Hosted by the Atlanta Pride Committee, the parade seeks to advance unity, visibility, and self-esteem among the local and national LGBTQ community.

Sporting Events

Atlanta Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a storied racing venue, the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 will be on Sunday, Feb. 24. This event boasts one of the biggest races of the starting stretch of the 2019 NASCAR season.

Peachtree Road Race

Organized by the Atlanta Track Club and beloved Independence Day traditions, the Peachtree Road Race is one of the largest 10K races in the world. The race winds from Buckhead near Lenox Square Mall and ends in Piedmont Park.

Masters Golf Tournament

One of the biggest golf tournaments in the world, The Masters is held at the Augusta National Golf Club, less than three hours from Atlanta. The 2019 competition will be held April 8-14.

Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta

A sports car endurance race held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta promises excitement for attendees. Just an hour north of Atlanta, Road Atlanta is a state-of-the-art road course. Festivities for 2019 run Oct. 9-12.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

The Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl brings postseason college football to Mercedes-Benz Stadium at the end of the year.

Holiday Happenings

Peach Drop

Although the titular event happens at midnight, the annual Peach Drop celebration spans the evening of Dec. 31. With official celebrations beginning at 7 pm, Woodruff Park will be the focal point for live entertainment, food, and arts and crafts vendors up until ringing in the New Year with a giant, 800-pound peach.

Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Atlanta’s longest running event, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates back to 1858. Attendees are treated to a procession of clowns, floats, bands, bagpipe and drum corps, dancers, drill teams, and more. The 2019 parade will take place on Saturday, March 16.

Children’s Healthcare Of Atlanta Christmas Parade

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hosts the Children’s Christmas Parade, which steps off at Peachtree St. and 16th and ends at Peachtree St. and 5th St. Midtown Atlanta will be transformed into Santa Claus Lane, complete with the sights and sounds of the season.

Menorah Lighting At Decatur Square

Kick off Hanukkah in December 2019 with the annual Menorah Lighting at Decatur Square. Live music, delicious food, and Mr. Dreidel photo ops will be available.

Neighborhood Festivals

Virginia-Highland Summerfest

Ushering in summer each June for going on 35 years, The Virginia-Highland Summerfest is a two-day celebration jam-packed with art, food, music, children’s activities, and a 5K run.

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

An annual tradition for more than a decade, the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival will welcome music and art lovers to Atlanta’s oldest park for two days on Saturday, Aug. 24, and Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Presented by and benefiting the Grant Park Conservancy, the festival is open to all ages. A diverse selection of local food trucks offers all tastes, along with craft beers, a Kids Zone, a 5K run, and a farmer’s market.

Sandy Springs Festival Atlanta

Taking place each September, the Sandy Springs Festival offers attendees two days of fine art, music, a pet parade, 5K and 10K races, delicious food, classic rides, and much more. This event is the largest fundraiser for Heritage Sandy Springs, a non-profit organization that operates Heritage Green, the city’s four-acre city park.


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