ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is one of the reasons people move to Atlanta -- well, that and the weather.
Starting Friday, Piedmont Park will welcome more than 260 fine artists and hundreds of thousands of visitors to the three-day weekend of live music, international performances, gourmet and festival fare, midway rides and games, the popular disc dog competition Saturday and Sunday, and who doesn't just love walking around the meadow people watching.
With near perfect weather Saturday and Sunday, you can expect capacity crowds, which means capacity traffic despite the GDOT once again suspending all major interstate projects. There's not a whole lot of parking once the Piedmont Park parking deck and the select spots by Park Tavern fill up.
I do have a little parking secret, but it's only for you, so don't share. There's plenty of parking at 1075 Peachtree Street, with a multi-level parking garage and a short walk down 12th Street to the park front entrance off Piedmont Road.
MARTA is always your best bet, and there's easy access to the park from either the Arts Center or Midtown stops. Have a wonderful weekend and remember if you take MARTA, you could be sharing the ride with fellow Braves fans heading to Turner Field for opening weekend -- but you might have to sit next to a Mets fan. Learn more about the Dogwood Festival
ART MARKET: Each year, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival features a juried fine art Artist Market with more than 250 artists selected from over 1,000 entries.
5K RUN: Festival attendees will now have a chance to run off that funnel cake by hitting the pavement at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival 5K on Saturday, April 11.
INTERNATIONAL: Since 2010, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival has presented an award-winning International Program comprised of an International Stage and the Cultural Exchange Pavilions.
FOOD EVENTS: In addition to the festival fare located throughout the grounds, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival offers the ticketed VIP food and drink experience Backyard Barbecue & Brews on Saturday and Sunday.
LIVE MUSIC: Blues, rock, country, R&B – the Atlanta Dogwood Festival features these styles and many more on the Coca-Cola Main Stage.
ECO-VILLAGE: In the Eco-Village, guests can meet "green" companies, learn about taking eco-friendly practices home and find out about the latest green developments.
YOUTH ART: The Atlanta High School Art Exhibition is a juried competition and exhibit featuring 150 works from top young artists.
FAMILY FRIDAY: On opening day, the festival welcomes families with deals like unlimited ride wristbands and family-friendly entertainment.
DISC DOGS: A festival favorite, 25th Disc Dog Southern Nationals - USDDN World Finals Qualifier takes place on Saturday and Sunday during the festival. (Other than competing dogs, no pets are allowed in the park during the festival, per a City of Atlanta ordinance.)
HOT DOGS: A regional qualifier for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest takes place at the festival on Sunday at 1 p.m.