- Lauren Booker For the AJC
Continue your summer festival lineup with a one of the last great summertime happenings before fall — the 15th annual Grant Park Summer Shade Festival.
The Summer Shade Festival, a two-day extravaganza in Grant Park, 625 Park Ave. SE Atlanta, is expected to be filled with around 30,000 visitors come Aug. 26 and Aug. 27. Plan for it to be the hot spot for must-see performances, artist markets, food vendors and even a 5k run.
"There are so many walks of life. We hope that all types of people come to enjoy this festival," Jason Winston, co-chair of the popular Grant Park festival.
If you're new to the area or would like to return to this Atlanta summertime fest, we've gathered the must-know details about Grant Parl Summer Shade Festival in Atlanta's oldest city park.
There will be a wide array of vendors.
This year's festival will represent the most artist participation ever, according to Winston. More than 200 artists will be selling their locally made goods, ranging from jewelry to crafts, in the artist market.
"This year we also tried to lean towards only having handmade craftsmen and artists and goods that are available in our artist market," he said. "So we won't have any commercial or massed produced items available."
Over 30 food trucks and food vendors will will be posted up at Grant Park during the festival, cooking up eats spanning from barbecue to frozen treats. Your taste buds will thank you for sampling delicacies from 4 Rivers Smokehouse, King of Pops and more.
"We've got a pretty good variety of food that will be at the festival this year. I think that people will be very satisfied," he said. "Lots of good food."
Sponsored beverage vendors include Monday Night Brewery, Status Vodka, Frida Kahlo Tequila and Bold Rock Cider. Wine will be flowing, along with cocktails and margaritas.
Get ready to jam out to a variety of artists.
On Saturday and Sunday, musicians will enter the spotlight on the park's Boulevard Stage and Cherokee Stage. While you're there, listen to the sounds of renowned artists and bands, such as Ruby Velle & Soulphonics, Blair Crimmins, Grant Green Jr., James Hall & The Steady Wicked and Michelle Malone.
"This year, we have a really good mix of kind of a Southern rock and also jazz theme this year," Winston said. "I think the music is definitely a little bit more diverse this year."
Map out your time to catch some tunes from your favorite artists by visiting the Summer Shade Festival website.
Tickets can buy you more than admission.
Even though the festival is free to get in, VIP tickets are being sold to give attendees additional perks. VIP access festival goers would be provided with comforts of home at the park, such as lounge seating and air-conditioned restrooms.
The $110 two-day VIP ticket for non-Grant Park Conservancy Members will also buy free food, drink tickets and even access to a misting station to help attendees stay cool. Money from the tickets will go directly to benefiting the Grant Park Conservancy.
There is plenty of free parking available.
Grant Park has two free public parking lots at Boulevard Parking Lot, 700 Boulevard Ave. SE, and Public/Zoo Parking Lot, 800 Cherokee Ave. SE. Winston said festival attendees are welcomed to park in neighborhood areas for free.
"So people who come to the zoo or come to Grant Park are used to kind of parking in the neighborhoods. There are no restrictions on that," he said. "People in Grant Park are pretty welcoming in that regard."
The festival's proceeds go to helping to improve the park.
The Summer Shade Festival is the largest fundraiser for the Grant Park Conservatory, Winston said. Last year, the event raised $87,000. This year's funding will go to current projects, such as updating picnic areas, caring for the park's tree canopy and updating lighting within the park.