Nestled among a thick, green, urban canopy of dogwood and pine, the 10th Annual Inman Park Festival kicks off this weekend. If you missed the Dogwood Festival, you won’t want to miss this one. And if you approach it like a novice you will still have a great time, but we here at ATL by Day want you to get so much out of it that security has to drag you away. There’s great food, a quirky parade, 3 music stages, a tour of homes, art vendors, and much more. I’ve been going to the festival for years and have volunteered in multiple facets, so here are a few tips and must-sees that I have gathered over the years.
So many people skip or don’t even know about this part of the festival. Be sure to catch it if you can. Will this be the year that Inman Park Festival Parade breaks the Guinness Book World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as garden gnomes? This quirky parade is a barrel of fun if you “gnome” what I mean. You’ll surely get a tickle from the gnome-humored signs held by the red pointy-hat paraders. Be sure to bring a blanket or easy-to-carry lawn chair for the event. Additionally, consider bringing a fun-sized cooler for your refreshments.
A site to admire about the homes of Inman Park are the immaculate porch setups. During the festival weekend some of these porches morph into a full scale lawn parties. You’ll see full bands performing, moon walks, and, of course, the southern tradition of corn hole. I’ve been fortunate to have a friend of a friend’s brother’s uncle’s roommate throw one of these. The point is: reach out to your connections to see if they or anyone they know is throwing a porch party for the festival. You’ll have a blast.
Look for the The Pickle, seek The Pickle, be one with The Pickle. The Pickle is a food truck that pops up at a good number of Atlanta events. Not so much a typical-looking food truck, it’s more of a stretch, dill-colored conversion van in the shape of…yeah you guessed it, a pickle. While not exclusive to this festival, The Pickle offers the best food item available, the Cajun Chicken Egg Roll. They cut their egg roll at a sharp angle that beautifully reveals every mystery inside. The first bite makes all the following ones irresistible. The Cajun dipping sauce accents this culinary marvel beautifully. My other favorite festival food is the Island Noodles.
You’ve seen the beautiful porches adorned with the Inman Park Neighborhood flag, which, if you look closely, you realize is more than just a butterfly. The wings have two faces hidden inside: one symbolizes the past of the neighborhood while the other symbolizes its future. You will get a chance to gather in the beauty of these homes which would make Chip and Joanna proud. (Admit it: we all have our favorite HGTV show.) Whether it’s International House Hunters or Fixer Upper, we all love seeing what people do to make a space come alive.
I’ve volunteered as a tour of homes house liaison, stage setup guy, and–my favorite–helping out in the beer tent. The beer station volunteer assignments run out fast, so you likely wont be able to get on it this time around, but there are still some other assignments left. Volunteering is a great way for you to engage with the community and meet new people while enjoying the special setting of Inman Park. The highlight of my time was getting to serve one heady brew to Atlanta’s biggest and best local weatherman, David Chandley. I’ll be serving y’all at the event on Sunday with my raucous local crew. Be sure to stop by and get a pour.
I have a lot of art from the local neighborhood festivals in my home. Yes, some of the art is very expensive and unfortunately they don’t offer financing in the form of easy payments. I didn’t pay the listed price for any of these pieces; rather, we negotiated to a price we both found acceptable. Don’t be afraid to haggle! Most of them expect you to and prints will work just fine. Check to see if they can offer or have any on hand. You might have better chances on the last day when the event is coming to a close as vendors are trying to unload their inventory.
Inman Park Festival is a fine event for all age groups and people. There is something for everyone. The kiddos even get their own play zone. This year they are planning even more FREE activities, some of which will include slides, obstacle courses, crafts, a great playground, riding toys, and the opportunity to join a circus! At ATLBYDAY we hope you make the most out of the festival, bringing everyone on your obnoxious group texts with you.
Did we miss something or do you have a tip? Please feel free to post in the comments.
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