5 cool festivals to help you enjoy August in metro Atlanta

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5 cool festivals to help you enjoy August in metro Atlanta

Slather on the sunscreen, and ready your eyes, ears and appetites. Summer festival season isn’t over yet.

Just as summer lovers struggle letting go of this time of year, various festival organizers refuse to quietly transition into fall. Several gatherings — some celebrating music and art, while others toast ice cream and Latino culture — use the August sun as the backdrop.

Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival

Sudsy brew, smokey ’cue and musical shades of blue rule downtown Oakhurst for the 16th edition of this annual family-friendly event. A total of 10 acts on two stages pick and grin with more than seven hours of sounds. Southern rocker Randall Bramblett, who’s jammed alongside Steve Winwood, Gregg Allman and Chuck Leavell, proves to be a highlight. Local bluegrass torchbearers the Dappled Grays, blues singer and guitar slinger Diane Durrett, bluegrass-tinged rock outfit Grizzly Goat, and the Lockdown Blues Band occupy prime spots on the schedule. Since parking will be at a premium, organizers suggest snagging an Uber or riding MARTA to the East Lake Station. The latter can be found less than a mile from the fest. Recharge for the walk back by chomping on barbecue, vegetarian options and other grub from vendors. The last band wraps just before 8 p.m.

Noon Aug. 13. $12 advance online; $20 at the event. 630 E. Lake Drive and Harmony Park, Decatur. decaturbbqfestival.com.

The Piedmont Park Summer Arts & Crafts Festival

As many as 250 artisans — you’ll find paint slingers, photo snappers, clay throwers, glass blowers and others — unveil their creations for folks to peruse and purchase. Discover these wares beneath the tented booths lining portions of the park’s winding walkways. You can even bring your leashed pet along for the stroll. Some creatives will serve up demonstrations. Yet, the two-day fete doesn’t strictly focus on artistic eye candy. Acoustic musicians, a kiddie zone, festival edibles and more attack the remaining senses. It all comes courtesy of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 13; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 14. Free. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-873-1222, piedmontparkartsfestival.com.

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’

Those who bellow for bowls of ice cream won’t likely be able to at this 12th annual frozen foray at the Roswell Square. They’ll be too busy cramming as much all-you-can-gorge ice cream as they can into their gullets. For two hours, guests can sample more than 100 flavors of homemade ice cream. Those who can stomach it can even belly up to ice cream eating contests. Think you can churn out an award-winning chilly dessert? Visit the event website to sign up. They’ll even provide you a scoop of real estate at the fest, as well as tasting cups and spoons. Proceeds benefit the Drake House, named after the festival’s late namesake, Mary Drake. The Drake House serves as a short-term crisis center for homeless mothers and their children in north metro Atlanta.

2-4 p.m. Aug. 21. $6; $20 for families with as many as six people. 600 block of Atlanta Street, Roswell. missmarysicecream.org.

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

Grant Park puts an informal cap on the summer season with this annual art- and music-centric gathering spreading across two days. An admirable roll call of live acts makes plenty of noise. Blacktop Rockets, the Higher Choir, Stonerider and others riff with local style. Athens gets its due with legendary primal rockers Flat Duo Jets and super group the Historical Mercyland Abstract. The latter snatches members from Drive-By Truckers, Of Montreal, Elf Power, Bar-B-Q Killers and the Glands. Adults gravitate toward art vendors and the Grant Park Farmers Market, while tots get busy in the Kids Zone. Recoup the calories lost during Saturday morning’s 5K by visiting food trucks and tipping back craft beer. Although the festival remains free, organizers offer a ticketed VIP lounge that includes food, wine, beer and more.

10 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 27; 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Aug. 28. Free. Grant Park, 840 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. summershadefestival.org.

Festival Peachtree Latino

This annual explosion of Latino culture, now celebrating its 16th year, bursts once again with more than 30,000 guests expected. Local and national Latino music acts, from pop and hip-hop to Tejano and beyond, share their musical language with attendees. Classic salsa brava duo Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz and merengue stars Melina León and Kinito Méndez join a long list of talent. Traditional dancers let their fancy footwork do the talking. Latino arts and crafts and other Spanish-flavored goods can be found among several hundred vendors. The taste buds go Latino, too, with an array of international food and drink for sale, from carne asada to sangria. Not only will guests have plenty to eat, but Festival Peachtree Latino sets its sights on those less fortunate. This year, it will donate 5 percent of the event’s proceeds to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

9 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 28. Free. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 770-873-0861, festivalpeachtreelatino.com.

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