This weekend we walked from our Midtown flat down to Piedmont Park to visit this year’s Dogwood Festival, a large juried art festival featuring vendors from all over the place. It’s also free! And if Atlantans like anything more than being outside, it’s free festivals.
Piedmont Park is quite lovely, and was built way back in the late 1800s for a bunch of rich guys to ride their horses. Now it’s the largest public park in the ATL, and this weekend it was filled with rows of art booths, a food court, a couple stages, carnival rides, and a TON of people.
One nice thing about the Dogwood is that the artists themselves must be present in the booth to sell their artwork, so it’s a great way to meet and talk with the person whose work you’re buying. Although, being artists, some are slightly socially awkward and some practically hide in the very back behind a large sculpture or painting. The artwork itself is usually quite good; everything from sculpture and paintings to jewelry-making and woodworking.
The festival also features an International Stage, where performers from the adjacent International Village can represent their country with native song and dance. One of the countries featured happened to be Lebanon (sandwiched between Mexico and France), so we sought out their booth to say hi. It was easy to spot, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of the local Cedars Club; giant flags beckoned the fairgoers into the tent, while booth volunteers happily thrust Arabic newspapers and Khalil Gibran brochures into their hands. They’re doing a fundraiser for the St. Jude Research Hospital, which I discovered was founded by a Lebanese guy (the More You Know.)
We ended the day by making the mistake every fairgoer makes: eating the fair food. Here’s the boy eating a $10 turkey leg:
I neglected to photograph my $8
pile of lettuce Greek salad because by that point the greasy funnel cake smell had gotten to our heads.
While we didn’t score a new piece of art for the walls, I did see plenty of people walking around with artwork purchased from the vendors which made me happy. It’s always good to see folks supporting the arts.