Hello, local readers. Once again we’re here with your weekend guide, where we share our favorite things to do in and around Atlanta and point out where you can get free stuff along the way. As always, be sure to add anything we missed in the comments.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta; Atlanta Marriott Marquis; Hilton Atlanta; Sheraton Atlanta Hotel; The Westin Peachtree Plaza. Friday, 10am – Monday, 5pm. Free to peruse; $25 – $100 to attend.
Since its creation in 1987, Dragon*Con, “the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe,” has been bringing flocks of geeks, gamers, and goths to the city of Atlanta and this year should prove to be no different. The weekend long event will be spread across five different hotels in the downtown area where visitors can merely get a glimpse at this multi-genre world and attendees can partake in panels, seminars and demonstrations. Look out for Pinnacle’s own self-proclaimed geek, Justin (marking his 7th year at the convention), who highly recommends seeing singer/ performer and comic book creator Voltaire.
Emory Healthcare 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sunday, 7:30pm. $39 – $135 ($19 for kids and students).
Night racing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway is back. Come out and spend your Labor Day weekend under the lights of AMS for one of the most exciting races in NASCAR. Come early for the Pre-Race Party, with a concert featuring Foreigner. Emory students qualify for discount ticket pricing. As Ricky Bobby said: “If you’re not First, you’re Last!”
6th Annual Beer & Whiskey Fest
Park Tavern. Sunday, 2pm – 11pm. $10 in advance, $15 at the gate.
Park Tavern’s sixth annual Beer & Whiskey Fest promises to liven up your Labor Day weekend with a variety of great whiskies and beers, live music from five rock & roll tribute bands, and good old-fashioned Southern barbecue to celebrate the end of summer. Giveaways and promotional products will be in abundance and proceeds from this charity event will go toward the Nature Conservancy Gulf Coast Relief Fund.
Atlanta Kickoff Street Fest
Crescent Avenue from 12th to 13th Street. Friday, 5pm – 3am. $10 in advance; $15 at the gate.
What’s better than football season itself? How about a block party in Midtown to kick it all off? The Atlanta Kickoff Street Fest features live music from local cover bands, food from Front Page News, drinks and football fun. And as an extra bonus: $1 from every ticket goes to support Gulf Aid.
Decatur Book Festival
Friday-Sunday. Event start times/locations vary; please check website for complete schedule. Free.
This event offers something for bookworms of all ages, with Saturday morning’s Pajama Parade with Llama Llama, featuring Llama Llama Red Pajama author Anna Dewdney, a Friday Writer’s Conference with several educational workshops, and even auditions for the role of Ralphie in Georgia Shakespeare’s production of A Christmas Story. Most of the activities are free, but require pre-registration. Expect to see oodles of well-known authors promoting and signing copies of their new releases, as well as plenty of food and drink vendors (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served), cooking demonstrations by noted cookbook authors, and live music performances.
Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival
Panthersville Stadium in Decatur. Sunday, 12pm – 11pm. $10; children under 12 free.
Just as the weather starts to cool off, the 5th Annual Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival brings the heat. The family-oriented event features jerk preparation demonstrations, a celebrity cooking competition, live reggae and calypso bands, music from top Caribbean DJs, domino and ludo tournaments, and a playground for the kids. A portion of proceeds from the event will support the Atlanta Montego Bay Sister Cities Foundation and other charitable programs.