Break out the plaid shorts and striped tank tops, the flip flops and Ray Bans, get those mani and pedis and gather at the place most holy during this time of year for all of gay Atlanta (and everyone else)―Piedmont Park. It is spring, y’all. Finally.
The sure signs of spring in Georgia, besides the blooming trees and the pollen-covered cars, are the festivals. Dozens and dozens of them. Every neighborhood in every corner of the city welcomes visitors for beer, food, art, live music and the opportunity to be emerge from a long, hard winter.
The season kicks off with straight pride, er, the Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park set for April 11-13. Because Easter fell on the fest’s traditional weekend, this year’s fest is earlier than it has ever been, says Carrie Whitney, festival spokesperson.
New this year is the Backyard Barbecue & Brews, a VIP tasting event on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with barbecue and picnic food from some of the city’s top chefs and restaurants. Craft beer, moonshine, corn hole, lawn bowling, private bathrooms―all of this available to VIPs willing to pay $25-$45, she adds.
And on the other end of the spectrum, the gay event of the season (at least one of them) is the Armorettes Easter Drag Races. This year the event falls on Easter Sunday, April 20―and there’s no rescheduling for this troupe that works holidays―so be sure to don your biggest bonnet and get to Burkhart’s early for a good seat to witness the hilarity, all for a good cause to raise funds to fight HIV/AIDS.
More men in dresses equals the annual Purple Dress Run sponsored by the Atlanta Bucks rugby club. Started about seven years ago as a way to give back to the community while also having a good time, this year’s event raises money to help Lost-n-Found, the nonprofit group helping homeless LGBT youth get off the street.
And what about a road trip to the gayest place in Georgia? The annual Cotton Pickin’ Fair in Gay, Ga. Yep, the city is named Gay and is located about one hour south of Atlanta. The fest is May 4-5. Just think of all the “Gay” selfies you can take to fill your Instagram account.
What else? Check out these festivals and events:
Festival on Ponce April 5-6 Olmstead Linear Park www.festivalonponce.com
Party with Impact for Positive Impact April 10 The Wimbish House www.positiveimpact-atl.org
Dogwood Festival April 11-13 Piedmont Park www.dogwood.org
Atlanta Leather Pride April 11-13 Atlanta Eagle www.atlantaleatherpride.com
Bearapalooza April 11-13 Oz Campground in Unadilla, Ga. www.ozcampground.com
Sandy Springs Artsapalooza April 12-13 6100 Lake Forrest Drive NE www.sandyspringsartsapalooza.com
Sweetwater Brew 420 Festival April 18-20 Centennial Olympic Park www.sweetwater420fest.com
Georgia Renaissance Festival April 19-June 8 Fairburn/Peachtree City www.garenfest.com
Armorettes Easter Drag Races April 20 Burkhart’s parking lot http://on.fb.me/1p0EDKp
Inman Park Festival April 25-27 www.inmanparkfestival.org
OurSong Spring Concert Joie de Vivre May 2-Druid Hills United Methodist Church May 3-Spivey Hall www.oursongatlanta.org
Tybee Rainbow Fest Weekend May 2-5 www.gaysavannah.com/tybeerainbowfest
HRC Atlanta Dinner and Silent Auction May 5 Hyatt Regency www.hrcatlanta.org/dinner
Shaky Knees Music Festival May 9-11 Atlantic Station www.shakykneesfestival.com
Sweet Auburn Springfest May 9-11 Historic Sweet Auburn District www.sweetauburn.com
Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress Run May 10 MIXX http://on.fb.me/1jrf8mz
Buckhead Spring Arts & Crafts Festival May 10-11 Chastain Park www.buckheadartsfestival.com
The Health Initiative Garden Party May 18 www.thehealthinitiative.org
Atlanta Jazz Festival May 23-25 Piedmont Park www.atlantafestivals.com
Decatur Arts Festival May 23-25 Downtown Decatur www.decaturartsfestival.com
Big Peach Softball Tournament May 23-25 7301 Campbellton Road www.hslbigpeach.org
Peachtree Hills Festival of the Arts May 31-June 1 308 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE www.peachtreehillsfestival.com
CHRIS Kids Premiere Party June 7 Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery www.chriskids.org
East Point Possums Show June 14 Downtown Commons of East Point www.eastpointpossums.com
Atlanta Cotillion Cirque de Nuit en Rouge June 21 Delta Flight Museum www.atlantacotillion.com
Georgia Equality’s Evening for Equality June 21 Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station www.georgiaequality.org