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Atlanta: What’s On When?

No matter what time of year you plan on visiting Atlanta, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding what to do. Whether you’re interested in domestic or international sports, art galleries, live theatre or musical performances, there’s always something happening.

January – Martin Luther King Jr Celebration

A week-long festival is held in January to commemorate the birth of the Georgian civil rights hero, Martin Luther King Jr. Some notable features of the festival are the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “A King Celebration”, the MLK Rally in the Sweet Auburn District and the Salute to Greatness Awards and banquet, honouring individual community members for continuing to embody Martin Luther King’s ideals.

February – Black History Month

Black History Month is observed throughout the month of February. During the festival, which celebrates the achievements of African Americans, you can attend informative lectures or enjoy one of the several live concerts or art exhibitions around the city.

March – Atlanta Film Festival

Now running for over 40 years, the Atlanta Film Festival (AFF) is one of the longest running film festivals in America’s southeast. It’s also one of only a small group of Academy Award qualifying film festivals in the country. More than 25,000 people attend the festival each year, enjoying the films as well as after parties, red carpet events and more.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

It doesn’t matter if you’re not Irish. On St. Patrick’s Day, the whole of Atlanta joins in the fun with a parade that includes clowns, floats, bagpipes and drum corps.

April - Inman Park Festival

The Inman Park Festival is one of Atlanta’s most eclectic and colourful events, held in one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The park itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Admission is free and includes a dance festival, parade, the Inman Park Tour of Homes, showcasing the beautiful 19th century houses in the area, a 5-kilometre costume run and a popular street market; where you’ll find everything from hand-crafted jewellery to farmer’s goods and antiques.

May - Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

Atlanta dedicates a weekend in May to celebrating hearty Southern cuisine. Stop by one of the many restaurants around the city to enjoy either some traditional soul food or a more modern fusion of old and new culinary traditions. You can also attend exclusive food and wine tastings and cooking classes at the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

June - Atlanta Summer Beer Fest

At the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest, you’ll find over 150 beers on offer. These include many from local Atlanta breweries – look out for Red Brick, Monday Night, Sweetwater and Wild Heaven. Along with beer, you can enjoy live music or even try your luck in one of multiple game zones.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

For more family-friendly fun, the Ice Cream Festival is a must. What could be better during a sweltering southern summer than an ice cold cone? Both local artisan makers and national favourites have stalls, so why not treat yourself.

July – Independence Day

Make sure you keep your eyes to the sky on the 4th of July. You’ll have an excellent view of the fireworks show from the Centennial Olympic Park or the Tuner Field. You could also spend the night partying at events hosted by two of Atlanta’s biggest malls, the Lenox Square and the Mall of Georgia – each accompanied by spectacular fireworks displays.

August - Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

This weekend-long festival takes place in one of Atlanta’s favourite green spots, Grant Park. With a variety of activities for all ages, it’s a perfect family outing. The festival includes a Saturday morning 5-kilometre fun run, plenty of food stalls, a kids’ zone with arts, crafts and storytellers and the ever-popular Spider Jump, which is a bungee trampoline.

September - DragonCon

DragonCon is far and away the nation’s most popular convention for fans of sci-fi and fantasy films, books, comic books and games. If you’re keen on seeing or joining up with a group of Stormtroopers, Klingons, aliens, ghouls, superheroes or villains, DragonCon is for you. Attend panel discussions with industry leaders, test out the newest games on the market, check out the incredibly detailed costumes, win great prizes and join in on the parade on Saturday morning.

October – Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade

For family fun with a twist, there’s nothing like the Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade. Now running for its 14th year, the party starts at noon and runs until 11 p.m. Guests are treated to a full day of festive fun, food and of course, frights. Some of the attractions include two stages with live entertainment, local artisan shops, a variety of specials offered by local businesses and a parade with floats.

November - Cabbage Town Chomp & Stomp

Before setting down for some “chomp”, participants go on the stomp – a flat, easy 5-kilometre run. After the run, participants settle down to breakfast and a beer in front of one of four stages with bands playing live bluegrass. If you’re up to the task, grab a spoon for $5 and head down to another attraction – chilli tasting. Also make your way around Cabbagetown, enjoying the arts, theatrical performances and games.

December – Chick-fil-A Bowl

One of the nation’s most exciting American college football games, the annual match features top teams from both the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference, filling Atlanta’s Georgia Dome with atmosphere and the deafening chants of fans. Although the Georgia Dome includes a whopping 71,500 seats, tickets for the Chick-fil-a-Bowl have sold out for 15 consecutive years. So be sure to buy your tickets well ahead of the event.