Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner. With the return of pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters and cooler weather also comes the much-anticipated festival season. As the festival calendar quickly starts to fill up with events, we compiled a list of the can’t-miss festivals this season…
TASTE OF ATLANTA | OCTOBER 20TH – 22ND / HISTORIC FOURTH WARD PARK
For three days, from October 20th- 22nd, thousands of hungry food aficionados will descend upon Historic Fourth Ward Park to eat their way through Taste of Atlanta Festival. Celebrating their 16th year, the festival will feature more than 100 local restaurants from all corners of the city, dishing up the best of the best with their sips and small plates.
This epic three-day festival kicks off on Friday night with an event hosted by locally famous culinary experts, Jonathan and Justin Fox of Fox Brothers BBQ. The Friday Night Kick-Off Party is all about going big, all out, and completely over the top. This “sweet sixteen” party will have displays from Sublime Donuts, Sprinkles Cupcakes, High Road Ice Cream and more. The fun begins at 7:30 pm and is an all-inclusive block party with tastes from more than 20 of Atlanta’s favorite chefs. No party is complete without live music and drinks, and the Friday Kick-off is no exception. This ticket is the hottest at the fest, and only a select number of tickets are available. Grab yours while you can because food, drinks and music are sure to be in abundance.
The next two days will bring around 40,000 people to the park, and some may argue that is when the real feast begins. Restaurants like Hampton + Hudson, Nakato Japanese Restaurant, Nine Mile Station, and Poke Burri line the park eager to serve the hungry masses. General Admission tickets start at $25 and get you 10 Taste Points to be redeemed at any station. One bite costs 1-3 points, but your wristband can easily be reloaded at multiple stations throughout the festival. For the true foodie there is the Grand Tasting Experience. For $75 attendees get 20 Taste points, main festival access and entry into the Grand Tasting Experience tents for tastes from additional restaurants served alongside beer, wine and specialty cocktails.
No food festival in Atlanta would be complete without our local favorite, hot, fried chicken. This year, there is plenty of it. Last year’s Best of Taste winner, Gus’s Fried Chicken, will be onsite serving alongside local favorite, Rock’s Chicken & Fries, and Atlanta new-comer and current Nashville hot-spot, Hattie B’s. Atlanta native and world-famous rapper, Ludacris, is even throwing his hat into the ring with dishes from his new restaurant, Chicken and Beer.
When you’ve finally had your fill of amazing food represented from all over this true foodie city, check out some of the activity they have on four different stages at the festival. On the main stage, future chefs ages 11-14 battle it out in a “Future Chef Food Fight,” a “Chopped” style competition cooking up the best dishes they can with a mystery ingredient. At the Kitchen Workshop, both home cooks and skilled cooks are invited to roll up their sleeves for a hands-on cooking experience that has each class leaving with leftovers and a new recipe. The Grill Stage invites attendees to watch as the city’s top Grill Masters get fired up for the ultimate cookout, giving festival attendees an opportunity to really learn how to champion a grill.
From live music to amazing food, fun workshops and much more, this festival is a one-of-a-kind experience not to be missed. So, be sure to come hungry and leave happy! Tickets on sale now at TasteofAtlanta.com.
SUWANEE WINE FEST | NOVEMBER 4TH / SUWANEE TOWN CENTER PARK
Organized by the team behind the award-winning Suwanee Beer Fest (Gwinnett Daily Post Reader’s Choice Best Festival in Gwinnett three years running) and Gwinnett Beer Fest, this festival continues a wine experience for novices and experts alike. With unlimited samples of over 150 wines from around the globe hand-selected by the wine experts at Beverage SuperStore, this wine festival truly boasts unique and exciting selections. Each wine region of the world is represented, giving festival attendees the opportunity to drink their way around the world in a single afternoon!
Recognized as one of the premier wine events in the state of Georgia, the Suwanee Wine Fest gets bigger and better year after year. As attendees drink their way through the park, they have the opportunity to shop from local vendors and artists, taste delicious food from some of the area’s most popular food trucks, participate in backyard games like giant Jenga and listen to live music from local bands. There is even an opportunity for the beer lovers in the crowd to make their way over to the beer tent for some craft brews and to catch the live football game on TV! The Early Bird price starts at $49 per person for unlimited samples of beer and wine in the park from 1:00 – 4:30 pm with the price increasing to $55 on October 21st.
The VIP Experience
VIP ticket-holders enjoy one hour early admission to the park at noon where they can try everything in General Admission, plus have access to a private dining and tasting tent. VIP tickets are extremely limited and include: higher-end, exclusive wines; a delicious, gourmet food spread matched to complement the wine and catered by Marlow’s Tavern; and a VIP goody bag that includes the official 2017 Suwanee Wine Fest shirt. The event organizers are committed to continuing to create the best wine-tasting experience while giving back to the local community. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit Annnandale Village: a Suwanee organization that provides care and life assistance to adults with developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, and enables them to maintain their independence in the least-restrictive environment possible.
SUWANEE WINE FEST FEATURED PERFORMER: Joe Hall
The great state of Georgia has been a hotbed for producing some of the most highly acclaimed country music artists in recent years, and singer/songwriter, Joe Hall, is on his way to making a name for himself both in the Peach State and across the country.
Born and raised in Dacula, Georgia, a small town of 4,400 whose name originates from letters in nearby Decatur and Atlanta, Joe grew up in a home with a passion for music. When he was 15, Joe picked up his dad’s guitar and asked his father to show him a few chords. So began Joe’s love for the guitar, which was soon followed by his joy of writing songs. An avid baseball pitcher in high school, Joe jokingly says, “My fastball was slow enough that I knew music was my calling.”
Joe began playing at clubs and other events in the Atlanta area. He and his band are drawing crowds at Red Clay Music Foundry, Tavern 120 and Wild Bill’s in the Atlanta area, and word is spreading beyond the state line.
He felt he had something to say with his songs and knew Nashville was the place to grow in his writing. Weekly trips to Music City led to developing relationships with some of the most successful writers and producers, including Derek George (Randy Houser), Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood) and Scott Davis (ASCAP’s Song of the Year in ’08 and BMI’s Song of the Year in ’11.) In 2016, Joe went into famed Starstruck Studios (owned by Reba McEntire) in Nashville with his drummer, Rod Allred, and producer, Scott Davis, to lay down tracks for his debut album. The result is Girlfriend (acoustic versions), 10 tracks all co-written by Joe and recorded in an acoustic setting with Hall on guitar and vocals and Allred playing a modified cajon-like trap set. All of the songs were recorded live to tape with no overdubs, using vintage reel-to-reel technology. “Ever had a guy or girl you were crazy about?” Joe asks. “Ever had one drive you crazy? Me, too. This collection of songs is all about relationships, the good, the bad, and well…if you’ve been there, I’m sure you know what I mean.”
As Joe Hall begins to tour nationally, he’s been opening for Kane Brown, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sara Evans, Chase Bryant, Easton Corbin, Joe Nichols, Parolee and more. And as awareness for Joe grows and the fans he nurtures from stage expand with each performance, Georgia is poised to send one of its newest sons out to a national stage.
In 2016, Joe went into famed Starstruck Studios (owned by Reba McEntire) in Nashville with his drummer, Rod Allred, and producer, Scott Davis, to lay down tracks for his debut album. The result is Girlfriend (acoustic versions), 10 tracks all co-written by Joe and recorded in an acoustic setting with Hall on guitar and vocals and Allred playing a modified cajon-like trap set. All of the songs were recorded live to tape with no overdubs, using vintage reel-to-reel technology. “Ever had a guy or girl you were crazy about?” Joe asks. “Ever had one drive you crazy? Me, too. This collection of songs is all about relationships, the good, the bad, and well…if you’ve been there, I’m sure you know what I mean.” As Joe Hall begins to tour nationally, he’s been opening for Kane Brown, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sara Evans, Chase Bryant, Easton Corbin, Joe Nichols, Parolee and more. And as awareness for Joe grows and the fans he nurtures from stage expand with each performance, Georgia is poised to send one of its newest sons out to a national stage.
SUGAR RUSH | OCTOBER 21ST / DOWNTOWN SUGAR HILL
One of their many “sweet” and successful events, the City of Sugar Hill anticipates the return of their annual fall festival, Sugar Rush, on Saturday, October 21st. Join them in downtown Sugar Hill between 11:00am and 7:00pm to enjoy live music in The Bowl, delicious food trucks, and an assortment of vendors. Bring the whole family as fun for the kids includes a pumpkin patch, ferris wheel and inflatables – and don’t forget the activities for your dogs, too! Featuring a juried art show hosted by the Sugar Hill Arts Commission, also be sure to check out some of the amazing talent being showcased. If you would like to be a part of the festival, contact the City of Sugar Hill to become a volunteer or vendor: CityOfSugarHill.com.
SUWANEE JAZZ FEST | OCTOBER 14TH / TOWN CENTER PARK
The North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA), alongside jazz radio station, WCLK, and partner, the City of Suwanee, is excited to announce a new music event on the green in Suwanee Town Center this fall. Suwanee Jazz Fest will bring together five of the area’s smoothest and most eclectic solo and group jazz artists for a night of sounds, tastes and experiences under the stars on Saturday, October 14th from 6-10pm.
Joining NGAA are sponsors Explore Gwinnett and Thomas Eye Group. Featured artists include Carol Albert, vocalist; Eric Thomas, saxophone player; Rhythm Jets, jazz band; Anita Canada, vocalist; and Lighting Orchestra, eclectic jazz band. Local restaurants, food trucks and vendors will be crafting some delightfully special food, beverages, and to-go cocktails that add to the atmosphere for the perfect evening out.
NGAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation of local art through exhibition, festivals and other arts education. Suwanee Jazz Fest is one of three events the NGAA hosts each year, along with Arts in the Park and Suwanee Classic Car Show. These events draw large audiences and the proceeds fund student art scholarships and NGAA art initiatives.
Concert-goers are encouraged to bring chairs and a cooler (no glass, please) and arrive ready to relax and enjoy some divine entertainment! For more information, please visit ngaa4arts.com.
DULUTH FALL FESTIVAL | SEPTEMBER 30TH – OCTOBER 1ST / DOWNTOWN DULUTH
Duluth Fall Festival has been an annual event for 35 years. With more than 400 volunteers dedicating their time, Duluth Fall Festival was chosen last year by The Southeast Festivals & Events Association as the “Best Large Festival in the Southeast.” Block off your calendar for the last weekend in September, as Downtown Duluth will be taken over by this extravaganza!
Business and vendor booths appealing to every member of the family will be open from 9am to 7pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. The weekend’s events and entertainment will kick off with a parade at 10am on Saturday morning, followed by an Opening Ceremony at 11:30am. Day 2 of the festival will begin with a 5K Road Race at 8:00am, followed by Worship on the Green at 10am. Back-to- back entertainment and carnival fun will continue both days, plus free shuttle buses throughout the entire festival! Sponsoring several other events throughout the year, the Festival Committee is also hosting a free festival concert on Saturday, September 23rd, featuring ‘Departure’ the Journey Tribute Band. The concert will be held at the Duluth Festival Center, beginning at 6:30pm. The festival consists of a group of people whose common bond is their love of Duluth. This, more than anything else, has kept the wonderful small town spirit of Duluth alive. Visit DuluthFallFestival.org for shuttle locations, special carnival offers, schedule of events and more!
Sponsoring several other events throughout the year, the Festival Committee is also hosting a free festival concert on Saturday, September 23rd, featuring ‘Departure’ the Journey Tribute Band. The concert will be held at the Duluth Festival Center, beginning at 6:30pm. The festival consists of a group of people whose common bond is their love of Duluth. This, more than anything else, has kept the wonderful small town spirit of Duluth alive. Visit DuluthFallFestival.org for shuttle locations, special carnival offers, schedule of events and more!
ALIVE! FESTIVAL | OCTOBER 21ST / TOWN CENTER PARK
Alive! Festival is an annual non-profit, green-living, eco festival that is family-friendly and features green and eco vendors, an artist market, live music, food, giveaways and a family fun zone with activities for children of all ages! This year the festival is adding a Taste of BBQ where you’ll be able to taste a variety of goodies from participating vendors. Tickets for food samples will be sold on-site and samples will cost between one and five tickets each. The event is free to attend for all. The Alive! Festival benefits Project Green, which is a 501c3 non-profit in Atlanta whose mission is to invest in “A Green Tomorrow.” Project Green will develop and launch an annual “Back to Basics” Summer Camp program for underprivileged children, teenagers and kids in the foster care system. Back to Basics will teach kids and young people how to interact with one another, focusing on building self-esteem and awareness of the environment by incorporating challenging and fun activities. Additionally, Project Green will invest in and protect green space initially within the Southeastern United States with plans for expansion into other regions. For more information call 770-806-7492.