ATLANTA -- We are on day 10 of the interstate collapse with more than 2 months to go before I-85 reopens. So Saturday's traffic for the Dogwood Festival presented the first major, multi-day event in the city since the collapse.
Thousands of people have poured into Midtown for the weekend-long event and talked to 11Alive about their trip. The big concern was the that the collapse and resulting closures and detours would be a hindrance for the nearly 200,000 annual festival goers - especially those who have had to commute to the area during the work week.
Friday was the first day of the festival and there wasn't a big turnout. But Saturday was a different story with organizers saying weather was a huge factor.
"If you look around and you see the crowds of people, they're here," organizer Brian Hill said. "This is the place to be in Atlanta this weekend."
The 81st Annual Dogwood Festival has all of the traditional fixings: food, fine art and fun. But this year, the 85 collapse posed a potential problem for festival goers - threatening attendance.
Hill said that it appears the great weather outweighed the traffic woes. Meanwhile, drivers from out of town opted for I-75. Some of them still hit some traffic due to other events in town.
"Well, the UGA baseball game was letting out so the traffic was more than normal," Preston Hobson said.
But was it worth the wait? To one child, the answer was a big "Yes!"
Meanwhile, others did what they could to stay off the roads entirely by using MARTA.
"We literally saw everyone sitting in stand-still traffic from MARTA while we're going, like, 50 miles an hour," one rider said.
Hill said that his team also offered more shuttles this year to make it easier for more people to attend.
"We increased our MARTA shuttles and they're free shuttles so you just get down to a MARTA station and jump on one of the shuttles," Hill said. "They look like school buses and they'll bring you right down to Piedmont and you're right at the festival."
11Alive's LaTasha Givens saw a lot of walkers and bikers as she made her way to the event earlier in the afternoon. MARTA officials said the trains were running smoothly throughout the day getting commuters to and from the festival. The average trip time was estimated at between 20 and 24 minutes.
The festival continues through Sunday.
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