Fall Festivals!

By Tara Gary

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to milder temperatures, tailgating, football game Saturdays, fall craft beers, and FESTIVALS. Wow, we have some of the most outstanding festivals in our area.

October 11-12, Alpharetta will host one of the best festivals around, the Wire & Wood Alpharetta Music Festival, awarded as one of the “Top 20 Events in 2018” by Southeast Tourism Society. The event will embrace the lyrical souls of local and nationally recognized musicians as they perform their original hits and provide insight as to what has inspired them. The performers will capture the audience with their magnificent voices and expressions through song on various stages throughout the downtown landscape, including main stages on Milton Avenue, The Green, as well as an intimate, special venue inside City Hall. Maggie Rose headlines on Friday evening and G. Love & Special Sauce are featured Saturday evening.

Left to right: Alex Haddad, Larry Florman, Kevin Nolan, Tom Maxwell, Vanessa Campagna, Maggie Rose, Sarah Tomek, Jason Graumlic, Kyle Whalem, Matt Nolan. Photo: Ford Fairchild.

Maggie Rose is exceptionally talented. Her versatile songs are known for intricate storytelling, and that’s what this festival is all about – performers original works and raising awareness of the importance of music. Sassy, sexy, and “Smooth” (one of the songs from her album Change the Whole Thing hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the “Best Albums of 2018”) describe Maggie’s style. Her fierce, yet soothing voice demands your attention. Strong, shameless, inspiring lyrics:

“Change can take a little longer
But if you really want it it’s worth the wait
And it’s okay, ‘cause even if you never see it
Doesn’t mean you can’t be it, either way”

“You ain’t gotta change the whole thing
You just gotta leave it a little better”

The entire album was recorded live in the studio with a 13-piece band, no overdubs, and no auto-tuning. Pure, raw talent. It’s a blend of blues, pop, soul, funk, and gospel, and her first full-length album released in five years. It’s the kind of music I can see myself listening to on a lazy Sunday afternoon while lying next to my man. Rose stated in a documentary coinciding with Change the Whole Thing, “The whole crux of artistry is being yourself, yet people are telling you who to be. Ten years later I think this record is my undoing of all of that. If you just leave something in a slightly better situation than you found it then I think we’d be in a much better place.” You can see Maggie Rose and over 20 more artists during the two-day festival perform free. Yes, admission is FREE. Visit the Wire & Wood for the full lineup. Food and beverages will be available at 4:00 p.m. and the performers begin at 5:00 p.m. on both afternoons, Friday and Saturday, October 11 – 12.

Charles Pinckney, an Athens artist, uses forged and welded titanium, sterling and other metals combined with conceptual design and movement to fabricate jewelry. His work is entirely handmade. The Interruption  is about an event that happened in his life. The pendant is made from forged, carved, welded, and anodized titanium with carnelian and a handmade titanium chain. The artist will exhibit at Marietta Art in the Park.

Marietta’s popular Art in the Park festival is celebrating its 33rd Anniversary this Labor Day weekend, Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2. I love this festival in the town square. It’s full of children’s activities, live music, great food, and unique items displayed by over 175 fine artists. Many of the artists create pieces during the event. I remember taking my children there many years ago and watching Eric Waugh, a progressive artist, create a modern and playful painting. My daughter Sidney was about 8 years old, so intrigued with his painting, she stood there until he finished. Afterward, he handed her his paintbrush as a memento. She still has the brush, 12 years later, and she herself is quite an artist now. This arts festival has been not only locally and nationally ranked but internationally as well. Over 48,000 people visit annually and for good reason. You won’t find the items typically encountered at some craft shows. You know those booths full of items bought from a national chain store and tweaked by the vendor who claim its unique and homemade. Not at this festival. No manufactured items allowed, only hand-crafted and fine art is permitted. Art in the Park is held in and around Glover Park, the historic Marietta Square, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily starting Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2. Admission is free.

Last year, the Milton Wine Festival raised over $10,000 toward an all-inclusive play park to serve children of all abilities and disabilities in North Fulton and the surrounding counties.

Milton City Hall hosts the 3rd Annual Milton Wine Festival, Saturday, September 28 from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Though voted the “Best Festival in North Atlanta,” the festival’s director Chuck Squires stated, “The festival is not resting on its laurels.” New this year, they’ve improved the event by adding the Taco Mac Beer Garden and Brewniversity. This event sold out last year so grab your tickets now. For the general admission price of $50, use your provided, customized tasting glass to sample as much as you desire of the world class wines (check out the long list of wines on their website) and craft beer. For $75 (only 100 tickets available) you can enjoy access to the Children’s Charities Hospitality Area. This area will be air conditioned, with catered food and water, as well as access to private bathrooms (very important at an event of this type). This is a well-organized event. Some festivals I’ve attended offer the tiniest pours and long lines, but that’s not the case here. You can expect healthy pours of delicious world-class wines, and a healthy variety of craft beers. Food will also be available from some of the finest local restaurants to accompany your tasty beverages.

Not only is this one of my favorite festivals, it benefits one of my favorite charities – Children’s Charities, Inc. Originally, Amanda White and Lauren Holmes founded the group Milton Friends of Children’s Healthcare. They’ve done so much good! Like providing $300,000 for the dedicated Emergency Transport Vehicle for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Forsyth, raising money needed for an eye tracking device that can detect autism in children as young as two months old, and much more. Their current goal and vision statement is to provide an all-inclusive play park to serve children of all abilities and disabilities in North Fulton and the surrounding counties. That’s right, “all-inclusive.” This is seriously an amazing undertaking and one dear to my heart. Can you imagine a child bound to a wheelchair swinging for the first time? I am looking forward to visiting the completed project to witness these little miracles as children have the ability to play in sensory centers, with musical instruments, roller slides, see-saws, and ADA-approved picnic tables. Last year, the Milton Wine Festival raised over $10,000 for this phenomenal park. One more fantastic reason to sample fine wine, craft beer, and mingle with great people. For more information about Children’s Charities, visit childrenscharitiesga.org.

Since 1966, the Roswell Arts Festival held in the Historic Town Square has supported over $1 million in projects improving the parks, gardens, and a variety of other projects throughout the city of Roswell. Presented by the Roswell Recreation Association (an all-volunteer group), this year’s festivities, with fine arts and original crafts, kick-off Saturday, September 21 and continue Sunday, September 22 – open on both days from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Local entertainment will include the Roswell Dance Starz, Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance, and a variety of musical talents. Children’s activities include painting, spin art, face painting, sand art, and more. Food trucks will be available on site as well. More at Roswell Arts Festival. Admission is free.

When not writing, Roswell resident Tara Gary is busy making industrial furniture, charcuterie boards, and local art. Most nights she can be found with her friends at local breweries and pubs drinking craft beer.