Springtime is so close, you can probably feel that sheet of pollen gathering in the trees to discuss with its pollen friends the perfect timing for all of them to coordinate their descent onto our cars and into our lives.
Even though Afrin sales are about to get a bump, there is good news —festivals. Day drinking. Warm weather. Family strolls. All of these are good. Even better, enjoying all of that at a spring festivity that isn't as massive as, let's say, a Dogwood Festival or a Shaky Knees.
We have handful of unique festivals, some you may know, some you might not, to help you mix it up a bit, and maybe even get you through those pollen-iest days of Spring.
Atlanta Film Festival
March 24-April 2
Sometimes Atlanta is so busy with its outdoor, neighborhood or bacon-focused festivals that we forget about the Atlanta Film Festival, which has been going strong for more than forty years. It's the biggest and one of the best film festivals in the city, and there are more than 200 films to see in Atlanta, chosen from nearly 5,000 submissions. You can get a badge (or a MovieHopper Card, as they call it) which comes with an Atlanta Film Society Membership among other benefits, for as little as $75, or you can buy tickets individually to a film of interest.
569 Ezzard Ave., Atlanta
BaconFest is, admittedly, more about Dad's Garage than it is about bacon. Except that, it's also about bacon. There are ridiculous carnival games that only an Improv theater troupe would be zany enough to invent, like hobo wine tasting, a drunk spelling bee and more. There is also, as promised, enough bacon to justify the festival's name. Dad's Garage, it's worth noting, has a new location in the Old Fourth Ward, if you haven't been to their improvisational comedy show in a few years. The event runs from 1 - 6 p.m. and tickets range in price from $45-$95.
Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival
3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven
The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival will begin with a morning 5K and will continue with lots of family-friendly activities, to include a classic car show, live music, a children's village, food, arts and crafts, and even a "pet world." So bring your kid and your dog, and enjoy the first blooms of spring in full effect. This event —with exception to the race — can be attended "fo free," and is held in Blackburn Park.
Festival on Ponce
April 1 - 2
1788 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta
Through a series of capital campaigns, the public-private partnership entrusted with making Olmstead Linear Park great again raised nearly $10 million to rehabilitate Olmstead Park. That work, plus those of more than 150 local and regional artists will be on display at the Festival on Ponce, an arts and crafts festival set in the park. The event is free.
April 8 - 9
2405 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA
Nothing says "let's get spring started" like acknowledging that cold blooded animals, like snakes, monitor lizards, and gila monsters will invariably become more active as the temperature rises. So raise a class to your favorite copperhead, it's go time! Repticon Atlanta knows that, and they'll be showcasing all manner of reptile, reptile expert, reptile equipment, and reptile fan favorites at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this April. Event entrance is free. Lizards, likely to cost money.
Atlanta Streets Alive
Ralph David Abernathy and Georgia Ave, from Grant Park to Westview (more info)
Imagine Atlanta, without all the cars. That's what Atlanta Streets Alive hopes you'll do, and its why the event "opens streets for people, by temporarily closing them to cars." From 2-6 p.m. April 23, Atlanta Streets Alive will close a four-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue and Ralph David Abernathy Dr., from Grant Park to Westview and that stretch of road will, as promised, come alive. People can bike, walk, skate, skip and roll down the street, or take part in the bicycle parade. Community organizations and sponsoring businesses will also be on hand along the sidewalks with booths, cafe tables, displays, and all matter of entertainment. This event is free.
May 25 - 28
285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta
If you are the sort of person who likes anime, manga, gaming, comics and dressing up like the characters from anime, manga, gaming or comics, then boy is there a convention for you this May. MomoCon. And you can thank the fine folks at Anime O-Tekku, Georgia Tech's anime club, for MomoCon's existence; what started in 2004 as Techwood Con became a more independent convention in 2005 called MomoCon, with a whopping 700 attendees. In 2011, the convention saw more than 10,000 visitors. You can register for MomoCon here. Tickets range, based on your interests and how many days of attendance you are looking to score, from $12 to $60. The event is at the Georgia World Congress Center.