Photos and article by Sheronda Gipson, contributor
Ah! Spring in Atlanta. At first only noticed by the schizophrenic weather, pollen covered cars and wheezing and sneezing of allergy sufferers. But through watery eyes and sniffling noses there is a beacon of light called the Atlanta Dogwood Festival.
Walter Rich founded the first Atlanta Dogwood festival in 1936. Even though the festival took a brief hiatus from 1941-1964 during World War II and then a temporary venue change in 2008, the Atlanta Dogwood festival is the most popular and the city?s best indicator that Spring has arrived. The renowned Artist?s Market features artist?s works of varying mediums from across the country.
Makaela Davis, first-year animation and graphic design student, not only attended the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, she has been a part of it in several ways. ?I have a part-time job there regularly,? Davis says.
When asked if this was her first time at the festival, Davis replied, ?Last year I won second place in their annual high school exhibition/contest, so I spent more time actually enjoying the festival then. They?re really supportive of young artists. It was a statewide contest, and everyone in it was really encouraged by the event.?
?There are plenty of awesome events for the less artistically inclined individuals to enjoy too. They have carnival rides, fair food, dog show and live music. It?s like a huge fair even if you don?t visit a single one of the hundreds of art stands that line the sidewalk,? Davis says.
The Atlanta Dogwood Festival has a well rounded crowded with rides and games for children of all ages, live bands and the Disc Dog Southern National Tournament that was a huge hit this year. ?The dog disc contest was my favorite,? says Hally Joseph, first-year M.F.A writing student.
Sybil Vaughn, who has attended the Atlanta Dogwood Festival every year for the last ten years, ?says ?This year the art looked about the same, the vendors, the same, but there was one thing that stood out?more food stations and trucks. There were more food trucks and vendors, selling everything from fried oysters, BBQ pork sandwiches, gigantic turkey legs, grilled brussel sprouts and sweet funnel cakes laden with powdered sugar, to draft beer, homemade lemonade and $8 margaritas.?
The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is held every year at Piedmont Park. For more information, visit http://www.dogwood.org