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Your guide to Labor Day weekend events in Atlanta

6:11 AM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA - Traditionally, Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest in metro Atlanta with sporting events, concerts, conventions and gatherings of all types bringing people from all corners of the nation together.

This year is no exception.

There are several events that won't cost you a dime.  

The AT&T Kickoff Concert features Uncle Kracker and Sheryl Crow in a free concert at Centennial Olympic Park downtown. The gates to the park open at noon. Uncle Kracker takes the stage at 2:30, followed by headliner Sheryl Crow. 

Check out more events happening in the city.

The Decatur Book Festival offers free seminars and signings.  More than 300 authors will appear, making it one of the largest independent book festivals in the nation crowding the historic Decatur Square.  This year's event includes workshops, author readings, live music, cooking demonstrations and much more. Dozens of authors will be on hand to discuss their books and projects, along with signing copies of their books.

There is also a big parade rolling through downtown offering a free chance to get a sample of this year's Dragon*Con.  The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday.  

What event do you think the best event is this Labor Day weekend in Atlanta? Scroll down to the bottom of this article and VOTE in our POLL. 

PHOTOS | Busy weekend for Atlanta
PHOTOS | 2012 Dragon*Con Parade

INTERACTIVE MAP| Labor Day 2013 Event Map

RELATED | 11Alive.com Events Calendar

Dragon*Con, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention is one of the largest gatherings of its type around the world. Each year, the biggest artists, authors, actors, directors and fans come together over Labor Day weekend. This year's featured guests include Richard Dean Anderson, Ed Asner, John Barrowman, Avery Brooks, Peter Davison, John de Lancie, Michael Dorn, Lou Ferrigno, Lee Majors, Malcolm McDowell, Edward James Olmos, CCH Pounder, Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, William Shatner, George Takei, Billy Dee Williams, David Warner, and many, many others.

The convention features gaming, workshops, screenings, an art show, multiple contests, autograph sessions, lots of costumes, other special sessions and the Dragon*Con parade down Peachtree Street. Dragon*Con runs from Friday through Monday, and is spread across five hotels in downtown Atlanta.

This year's festival will feature 13 new novelists, and the launches of nearly 50 new book titles. The festival is free for the public to attend, and runs Saturday and Sunday.

You can go Sky High at Callaway Garden's Hot Air Balloon Festival.  For the 15th year, the skies will fill with dozens of colorful balloons, taking off at sunrise and sunset.  There will also be balloon rides throughout the day, along with live music, beach activities, and a Kids Zone.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is traditionally noted as one of the biggest college football games of opening weekend, and this year looks to be no exception. This year, the game features national champion and number one-ranked Alabama taking on Virginia Tech in a nationally televised contest at the Georgia Dome Saturday at 5:30.

College football kicks off for most schools this weekend. The Georgia State Panthers open their football season Friday night against the Samford Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome at 7:00. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets host the Elon Phoenix at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday at noon to open their 2013 football season. 

The Atlanta Falcons close out the NFL pre-season Thursday night with a battle against their regional rivals the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome at 7:30 p.m.

Two concerts at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre will draw music fans this weekend - singer Toni Braxton headlines at Chastain on Saturday night. The Bounce TV Summer Music Festival comes to Chastain Park on Sunday, with the classic soul sounds of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, along with the Isley Brothers.

The Mythbusters Behind the Myths Tour features the hosts of the popular Discovery Channel series, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, on stage debunking some of your favorite myths - with audience participation, even. The show is set for the Fox Theatre Friday night at 8 p.m.

The Atlanta Braves are in town this weekend, first against the Cleveland Indians Thursday night at 7:10. Then the Braves face the Miami Marlins Friday night at 7:30, Saturday night at 7:10 and Sunday afternoon at 5. Then the New York Mets come to town for a day game Monday at 1:10. Metro Atlanta's other two professional baseball teams - the class AAA Gwinnett Braves and the class A Rome Braves have games this weekend to close out their seasons. Rome ends their year at State Mutual Stadium Thursday night at 7:00 against the Savannah Sand Gnats before ending their 2013 season with a weekend series at the Charleston River Dogs. The G-Braves close out their home season with games Thursday night and Friday night against the Durham Bulls at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the G-Braves head to Charlotte for their season ender against the Knights.

The Atlanta Silverbacks host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in North American Soccer League action Saturday night. The Silverbacks have already won the first half of the 2013 season, and as such, will host the NASL's 2013 championship in November. Saturday night's match will be held at Atlanta Silverbacks Park in Chamblee at 7:30.

The Publix Atlanta Cup will be played at 20 venues across metro Atlanta from Saturday through Monday, featuring youth soccer players from across the Southeast. More than 650 teams are expected to participate in the round-robin tournament in more than 40 classifications.

The fastest cars this weekend will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton for Sunday night's Advocare 500 Sprint Cup race. On Saturday night, the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips-Grit Chips 300 will speed around the track at AMS. There are still tickets available for both races.

After a Saturday night game in Chicago against the Sky, the Atlanta Dream come back home for a Monday evening game at Philips Arena against the Los Angeles Sparks. Tip off on Monday is at 6 pm.

The 16th annual Black Gay Pride celebration runs through the weekend in Midtown Atlanta. The host hotels are the Midtown Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites, the Loews Atlanta Hotel and the Melia Hotel Atlanta.

The Celebrate Freedom concert series is sponsored by 104.7 The Fish. It's touted as the largest outdoor FREE concert in America. It features Christian music artists including Third Day, Switchfoot, and Kingsdown. The concert is at the Jim R Miller park in Marietta on Saturday. 

If it's food and fun you're after, check out Riverdale's Seafood and Beer Festival on Saturday featuring Rapper's Delight along with several other bands.  On Sunday, the sounds of calypso and reggae will surround a competitive cook-off at the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival.

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