50+ Best Festivals in Atlanta: Spring and Summer 2016

festivals in atlanta 2016

The South known for fun, which is why one of the most popular events are festivals in Atlanta. We’ve got the perfect list of festival fun for your spring and summer, with dates, places and hints about their family-friendliness. Take note of those marked with “365 Favorite! as it notates the 10 festivals we love the most!

March | April | May | June | July | August


st patrick's day parade

March Festivals

Oyster Crawfish Festival (21+ Only)
Park Tavern; March 4, 2017
Atlanta’s biggest crawfish festival featuring music performances from Gurufish, Atlanta Brass Connection and headliner Cowboy Mouth, is set to begin at 2 p.m., and includes nonstop live music, cocktails, cold brews and all the fresh crawfish, oysters and shrimp hungry guests can eat! Though it is targeted at ages 21+, children under 12 may accompany parents at no extra charge. Furry friends must stay home.

St Patricks Day Parade (Family-friendly)
Downtown; March 12, 2016
365 Favorite! The 134th Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade, one of the oldest parades of its kind in the U.S. and longest running event in Atlanta’s history, returns to the streets of Midtown on Saturday, March 12. The family-friendly event will feature highlights such as the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales and the world’s largest walking flag, which is carried by dozens of marchers. More than 2,000 dancers, musicians, cheerleaders, clowns, 9 marching bands, and Irish and local dignitaries will participate. Last year’s parade was attended by more than 80,000 spectators.

Shamrock the Station (Family Friendly)
Midtown; March 12, 2016
Celebrate at this Atlantic Station St. Patrick’s Day music festival, with the sights and sounds of everyone’s favorite green holiday. Complete with live music, dancing, beer and delicious Irish cuisine, the festivities are courtesy of Meehan’s Public House, Radio 105.7 and Guinness. Guests of all ages will enjoy a day of high-energy live music starting at noon, all on the main stage in Atlantic Station’s Central Park. Bring the little leprechauns for a live Irish dancing demonstration courtesy of the Mulligan School of Irish Dance at 2:30 p.m.

Best of all, you don’t need to spend a lot of green to enjoy this charming, all-ages neighborhood festival. Shamrock the Station is free and open to the public starting at 11 a.m. A $5 wristband allows adults 21 and older to purchase drinks outside in Central Park.

BaconFest (21+ only)
O4W; March 26, 2016
BaconFest will be held at Dad’s Garage’s fantastic new digs in the Old Fourth Ward that officially opened to the public on New Year’s Eve. A fixture in the Atlanta community, the kitschy festival combines troughs upon troughs of cold beer and sizzlin’ bacon with hilarious carnival games like a hobo wine tasting, naughty face painting, drunken spelling bee that manned by the best improvisers in the city.  Selling out every year, all proceeds benefit Dad’s Garage.

garenfestcom_638195079

April Festivals

Atlanta Film Festival
Various; April 1-10, 2016
Now celebrating a 40-year history, the Atlanta Film Festival is the area’s preeminent celebration of cinema. One of only two dozen Academy Award-qualifying events in the country, the Atlanta Film Festival showcases over 200 films annually to nearly 25,000 attendees across a ten-day event each spring. Each year, the Atlanta Film Festival receives nearly 5,000 submissions from 120 countries across the globe. It has been distinguished as the ‘Best Film Festival’ by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10Best and Atlanta Magazine, as well as one of the ’25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World’ and one of ’50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee’ by MovieMaker Magazine.

Festival on Ponce (Family-friendly)
Druid Hills; April 2-3, 2016
The Festival on Ponce is an Atlanta arts and crafts festival set in the historic park, Olmsted Linear Park. Visitors will enjoy the gorgeous landscape designed by one of America’s most celebrated landscape architects, Fredrick Olmsted Sr. along with over 125 displays of fine arts and crafts, folk and “outsider art”. In addition to the fine arts, there will be a children’s area and local food and beverage. Attendance is Free.

Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival (Family-friendly)
Brookhaven; April 2-3, 2016
Coinciding with the timing of the Cherry Blossom Festival in both Macon and Washington D.C., this event takes place over Easter weekend. Be sure to bring your four-legged friends to the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival for a “doggone” good time at the Pet Parade. Live music, children’s village and and arts & crafts marketplace.

Dogwood Festival (Family-friendly)
Midtown; April 8-10, 2016
365 Favorite! The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is the city’s oldest fine arts festival, and it is made possible thanks to the hundreds of superb artists who comprise the Artist Market each year. This spring, we welcome 260 fine artists from all over the country, including many from the Atlanta area. The Artist Market jurors received more than 1,100 entries this year and selected the top artists in a variety of categories. Be sure to check out our Artist Winners who are literally the best of the best! Don’t miss Family Friday; details coming soon.

Sandy Springs Artsapalooza (Family-friendly)
Sandy Springs; April 16-17, 2016
The event will include a children’s play area, local musicians, interactive art stations, plus up to 150 arts and crafts participants in every discipline. The festival location is in the heart of Sandy Springs, near interstate access and all things Atlanta.

Renaissance Festival (Family-friendly)
Fairburn; April 16 – June 5, 2016
365 Favorite! There is nothing as magical as the Renaissance Festival. Food and drink, rides and games, an artisan market, jousting, daredevils, hypnotist and more. Here are eight reasons we think you should go with the kids.

Atlanta Streets Alive
April 17, 2016
Atlanta Streets Alive opens streets for people by temporarily closing them to cars to create a whole new healthy, sustainable and vibrant city street experience. This is a program inspired by open streets projects all over the world. Bring your bicycle or just your feet, and get ready to explore your community streets in a safer, healthier, more livable way.

Sweetwater 420 Fest
Downtown; April 22-24, 2016
365 Favorite! SweetWater 420 Fest blends music, entertainment, art and culture, all while respecting Mother Earth and has grown and evolved each and every year since 2004. Yes, 12 years ago this baby was born, at SweetWater Brewery as a small celebration and has evolved to the weekend-long, jam-packed Fest you know and love today at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

A dynamic mix of live musiccomedyartfoodPlanet 420 workshops and village, 420 Disco420 Fest 5K and of course SweetWater’s lip-smacking, lineup of brews makes this an Experience and not just a Festival.

Spring Jonquil Festival (Family-friendly)
Smyrna; April 23-24, 2016
The Spring Jonquil Festival is held on the beautiful Village Green in downtown Smyrna, Georgia next to the fabulous Market Village. The Spring Jonquil Festival features over 175 arts & crafts booths, 15 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities. Bring the family and shop, play, eat, drink and just have a great day together.

Inman Park Festival (Family-friendly)
Inman Park; April 29-May 1, 2016
365 Favorite! During the last full weekend in April each year, Inman Park proudly presents a neighborhood festival widely regarded as Atlanta’s most spirited and eclectic. The Tour of Homes Preview begins on Friday, April 29th from Noon – 4:00pm; Tickets go on sale in March.

Shaky knees festival

May Festivals

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival
Midtown; May 21, 2016
This festival showcases a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbeque eatin’. Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an ALL-YOU-CARE–TO-TASTE sampling of beer and bourbon. Some of the best barbeque vendors are on-site if you get hungry, all while enjoying seminars in the tasting theater and LIVE music all day.

Shaky Knees Music Festival 
Downtown; May 13-15, 2016
365 Favorite! With 5 stages and more than 75 bands each year, Shaky Knees is a rock-lover’s dream. Since its inception in 2013, Shaky Knees has featured a diverse lineup ranging from world-renowned acts to up-and-coming artists. Shaky Knees is fast emerging as one of the premier mid-sized music festivals in the country.

Atlanta Taco Festival (Family-friendly)
Candler Park; May 1, 2016
An elite group of Atlanta’s favorite taco establishments will gather in Candler Park to participate in the inaugural Atlanta Taco Festival from 1 to 7 p.m. The Atlanta Taco Festival is the city’s only event dedicated to the ever-customizable taco and will allow Atlantans to taste unique menu items from Latin and non-Latin restaurants alike. The festival will also feature an exciting VIP tequila experience and live entertainment. Adding a philanthropic element to the event, a portion of the proceeds from the Atlanta Taco Festival will benefit CHRIS Kids, a nonprofit organization with the mission to heal children, strengthen families and build community.

MomoCon (Family-friendly)
Downtown; May 26-29, 2016
MomoCon is one of the fastest growing all ages conventions in the country. Fans of Japanese Anime, American Animation, Comics, Video Games, and Tabletop Games come together to celebrate their passion by costuming / cosplay, browsing the huge exhibitors hall, meeting celebrity voice talent, designers, and writers behind their favorite shows, games, and comics and much much more over this 4 day event. Whether you are an anime fan, gamer, comic reader, or just like watching cartoons, all are welcome at MomoCon!

Atlanta Jazz Festival (Family-friendly)
Midtown; May 27-29, 2016
Memorial Day Weekend festival which includes international, national and local musicians live on three stages; a Kid Zone with activities for all ages; food vendors offering BBQ, burgers, salads, Caribbean foods and much more; booths with clothing, art and jewelry!

East Atlanta Beer Festival (21+ only)
East Atlanta; Date TBD
From a great beer selection to early access VIP entry to rocking local music, the EABF is an event not to be missed! Proceeds from the Festival go to local organizations to fund projects that make East Atlanta a great place to live.

Atlanta Caribbean Festival
Decatur; May 28, 2016
The mission of the Atlanta Carnival Bandleaders Council (ACBC) is to promote a broader understanding and a deeper appreciation of Caribbean culture among the Atlanta community by seeking the interest of carnival bands and steel bands, and using the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival as a vehicle for the promotion of Caribbean culture.

Chastain Park Arts Festival (Family-friendly)
Chastain Park; May 7-8, 2016
The Chastain   Park Arts Festival will host its sixth annual event at Chastain Park along Park Drive for approximately 185 artists and artisans. Visitors will enjoy fine art and crafts, a children’s area and local food and beverage concessions including the gourmet food trucks. Local acoustic musicians will enliven the atmosphere. This event is organized by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces and volunteer artists. Best of all, it’s entirely free to attend!

Alpharetta Arts StreetFest (Family-friendly)
Alpharetta; May 28 – 30, 2016
This 3-day event will host more than 90 colorful artisans from around the country will showcase their works in the Alpharetta Historic District.  This much anticipated festival will feature live music, cultural arts performances, entertaining children’s activities, and a variety festival cuisine.

Decatur Arts Festival (Family-friendly)
Decatur; May 28-29, 2016
365 Favorite! Fine art, kids art, an artist market, performing arts, theatre and literary arts…there is something for everyone here all weekend. The Kids Arts Festival kicks off with a parade. Lineup begins at 9:30 am at the corner of Commerce Drive and Church Street. Marching begins at 9:50. Dress up your kids and decorate your strollers, bikes and trikes. Join the parade and show your artistic spirit! After the parade, enjoy arts and crafts, music, balloons, juggling, clowns, inflatables and much more. Most activities are free or for a small donation.

Also, don’t miss the pre-festival events like the Decatur Lantern Parade and the Artwalk, or Sidewalk Saturdays all of May.

Kirkwood Spring Fling (Family-friendly)
Kirkwood; May 14, 2016
Get a warm welcome to our neighborhood with all the family-friendly fun of the 14th annual Kirkwood Spring Fling & Tour of Homes. Start the day off with our 5K, stroll through our artists market, catch some live music with a bite to eat from local vendors or our BBQ competition, and let the kids go wild in the kids area. Best of all, admission is free.

Renaissance Festival (Family-friendly)
Fairburn; April 16 – June 5, 2016
365 Favorite! There is nothing as magical as the Renaissance Festival. Food and drink, rides and games, an artisan market, jousting, daredevils, hypnotist and more. Here are eight reasons we think you should go with the kids.

Roswell Cycling Festival (Family-friendly)
Roswell; May 7-15, 2016
Bigger and better than ever this year! The 2016 Roswell Cycling Festival features a full week of bicycle related activities culminating on May 15th with Bike Roswell! presenting the Mayor’s Ride, Roswell Criterium, and the Kiwanis’ Kids Bicycle Safety Rodeo. In addition to the events of May 15th, there are a full week of activities in conjunction with RAMBO (Roswell-Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization), beginning with the 3rd Annual Big Creek Enduro on Saturday, May 7.

Sweet Auburn Springfest (Family-friendly)
Sweet Auburn; May 6-8, 2016
The original Sweet Auburn Springfest is one of the largest outdoor festivals in the Southeast, according to the website. It is full of food, fun and entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy a kids fantastic fun zone, and international food court and more. Free.


helen balloon festival

June Festivals

Helen Balloon Festival (Family-friendly)
Helen; June 2-4, 2016
365 Favorite! The South’s oldest balloon event and the United States’ only long distance hot air balloon race will begin (weather permitting) with a mass ascension of 30 bright and colorful hot air balloons, in North Georgia’s Alpine Village – Helen.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
Midtown; June 2-5, 2016
365 Favorite! Named “the only indispensable culinary Festival in the country,” by Josh Ozersky of Esquire and highly anticipated by guests, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival features nearly 100 classes, carefully-curated Tasting Tents and delicious evening dinners and events, all designed to showcase Southern food, drink and culture.

Virginia Highland Summerfest (Family-friendly)
Va-Hi; June 4-5, 2016
Celebrating 33 Years of Art, Food & Fun. Saturday/Sunday Events Are Open to General Public.
Free Admission, Donations Greatly Appreciated. Artist market, 5K and Kid trot, Kidsfest, food and two music stages.

Southern Fried Gameroom Expo
Smyrna; June 10-12, 2016
The Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo features more than 250 arcade, pinball and console machines, the third annual Southern-Fried Pinball Tournament, tabletop gaming, a vendor expo, exciting programs and guest speakers, movie screenings, and other special events.

Back to the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival (Family-friendly)
Roswell; June 11, 2016
Paddlers of all ages and skill levels will take to the water! The FESTIVAL, held at Roswell’s Riverside Park from 10am to 3pm, is FREE and family-friendly. Racers and others will enjoy LIVE music plus an array of exhibits that include local artisans and farmers market vendors.  For the kids: Frisbee dog demonstration, face painting, balloon artists and other family-friendly activities.

Roswell Lavender Festival (Family-friendly)
Roswell; June 11, 2016
The festival is a celebration of all things lavender and will feature the many varieties, uses, and folk remedies associated with this ancient plant. This fun event will take place on the grounds of Barrington Hall. Enjoy Demonstrations in the Carriage House, children’s activities, The Zen Zone—yoga, Pilates, aromatherapy, meditation and reflexology, music by Davin McCoy and others, lavender food samples, and a variety of vendors featuring fine art, crafts, antiques, specialty foods, plants, and garden art. There will be food trucks and booths and Lavender beer—a perennial favorite! Free parking and shuttle transportation. Free admission.

Atlanta Street Food Festival (Family-friendly)
Stone Mountain; June 11-12, 2016
365 Favorite! Get to know The Atlanta Street Food Festival in detail. The Atlanta Street Food Festival is a wonderful event for the whole family to enjoy. Major headlining concerts each day included in your ticket price; $5 tasting menu option from each food truck and Plenty of parking with shuttle service right to the festival gate. Southern Living Magazine calls this, ““One of the TOP 5 latest and greatest things to hit the South” 

Atlanta Streets Alive
June 12, 2016
A second Atlanta Streets Alive project of the year, this time in tandem with the Atlanta Cycling Festival, celebrating Atlanta’s signature Peachtree Street, from Downtown to Midtown.

Atlanta Fest Christian Music Festival (Family-friendly)
Locust Grove; June 16-18
Tickets are required for ages 4 and up. Camping available.

Tunes from the Tombs (Family-friendly)
Cabbagetown; June 18, 2016
Tunes from the Tombs, Historic Oakland Cemetery’s annual all-day music festival features musicians performing in and amongst Oakland’s extraordinary monuments, mausoleums and renowned gardens. Two main stages will host amplified artists, while buskers will perform on distinct vignette stages throughout the cemetery. From rock to folk, Americana to jazz and classical to everything in between, a variety of tunes will entice everyone to boogie down. Soothe your stomach as well as your soul with good eats from Atlanta food trucks, which will be on-site serving a variety of tasty festival fare.  Keep spirits alive with beer, wine, and soft drinks, all of which will be offered for sale on-site. Festival attendees can also take a complimentary guided mini-tour of Oakland Cemetery, or have their fortunes read by Atlanta’s own, Esmere.

Family Food Fest (Family-friendly)
Downtown; June 19, 2016
The Family Food Fest Atlanta Multicultural Father’s Day Celebration food tasting event is held at the Georgia Aquarium in the Oceans Ballroom on June 21. Nearly 100 cooks, chefs, caterers, restaurants and a few female chefs participated and more than 1,500 guests attended, last year, with even more in plan for 2016.

O4W Arts Festival (Family-friendly)
O4W; June 25-26, 2015
At this festival, there is something for everyone: fine arts and crafts, a children’s play area, local food and beverage concessions, live acoustic entertainment in the amphitheater, plus a new “Emerging Artists” pavilion for new artists and artisans.  All this within the environment of Atlanta’s loveliest park, part of the celebration on the Beltline redevelopment.

Renaissance Festival (Family-friendly)
Fairburn; April 16 – June 5, 2016
365 Favorite! There is nothing as magical as the Renaissance Festival. Food and drink, rides and games, an artisan market, jousting, daredevils, hypnotist and more. Here are eight reasons we think you should go with the kids.

Coca Cola Summer Film Festival (Family-friendly)
Midtown; Dates and Shows TBD
365 Favorite! In addition to enjoying a movie under the blue sky with twinkling stars and fluffy clouds, the Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival offers guests a magical pre-show experience that includes a sing-along with a vintage cartoon, the Mighty Mo organ and special guest, Ken Double, organist for Legends of Silent Film.

Special Movie Tours will be available prior to the films, allowing guests to experience guided tours through the projection booth, screening room, celebrity dressing rooms, and the iconic Fox Theatre stage while learning about the history of movie palaces and Mr. William Fox’s innovations.

Atlanta Summer Beer Fest (21+ only)
O4W; Date TBD
Sample over 200 beers, featuring the local Atlanta Breweries, and great breweries from all over the country.  A full list of beers will be posted the week of the festival. Enjoy live music on the main stage, as well as several side stages, and a DJ Dance party.


ice cream festival

July Festivals

Atlanta Annual Zombie Pub Crawl (21+ only)
Virginia-Highlands; July 30, 2016
Once customers have received their zombie make overs, the horde takes over local pubs and restaurants in the Virginia Highlands area. Spanning streets, patios and bars, they ‘stumble’ from location to location devouring adult beverages and scaring the living.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival (Family-friendly)
Midtown; July 23, 2016
365 Favorite! The one-day event features an abundance of local parlours and ice creameries serving all your favorite flavors. Additional attractions include live musical performances from local artists, health and fitness activities and informational booths and an entertaining kids’ zone.

Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival
Westside; July 17, 2016
Enjoy tomato-based treats from dozens of chefs and mixologists and live music. Last year’s festival generated close to $120,000 for The Giving Kitchen and Georgia Organics. What could be nicer than helping people while eating tomatoes with friends on a summer afternoon?


summer shade festival

August Festivals

Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival (Family-friendly)
Decatur; August 13, 2016
Fun for everyone surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of classic southern BBQ from metro Atlanta staples along with 7+ hours of original live blues and bluegrass music from aspiring and accomplished local/regional/and national acts to Decatur, Georgia in the heart of Oakhurst. This is a family friendly event that is fun for all ages.

Piedmont Park Arts Festival (Family-friendly)
Midtown; Aug 13-14; 2016
This event will feature up to 250 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metalwork, glass blowers, jewelers and crafters! The Festival will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, an Emerging Artists Pavilion, a children’s play area, plus festival foods and beverages with healthy alternatives.

Dunwoody Butterfly Festival (Family-friendly)
Dunwoody; Aug 20; 2016

This year’s event will feature two enormous Butterfly tents – each filled with hundreds of live butterflies. Join us for a day of great activities including a Birds of Prey show, live animal encounters, games, educational booths, crafts, music, food and drinks. Early member preview begins at 9:00 a.m. with general admission starting at 10:00 a.m.
Note: Due to the popularity of this event, pre-purchased tickets are the ONLY way to ensure admission into the event, and also save you a little money in the process.

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ (Family-friendly)
Roswell; Aug 21, 2016
The 12th Annual Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’ is the premier event for ice cream lovers and families. Taste more than 100 flavors of homemade ice cream – dive into ice cream eating contests – enjoy live music – and let the kids work off their energy in the Kid’s Korner.

Summer Shade Festival (Family-friendly)
Grant Park; Aug 27-28, 2016
For more than a decade, Atlanta art and music lovers have flocked to Grant Park each August to bid adieu to summer at the Summer Shade Festival. We’ve got two days of outdoor fun planned for all ages including a 5K Run for the Park, food trucks, craft beer, an entertaining Kids Zone and a music line up that just gets better every year. You won’t want to miss the Sunday morning Grant Park Farmers Market. And did you know you can ride your bike to the festival and park it for free with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Bike Valet? So, bring your blanket, bring the whole family, but don’t bring any pets, and spend summer’s final weekend at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival.

Atlanta Meatball Festival (Family-friendly)
Sandy Springs; Date TBD
Atlanta Meatball Festival showcases one of the world’s most beloved beef-pork-lamb-chicken (and sometimes seafood!) combos. Atlanta’s favorite restaurants will prepare a wide selection of mouthwatering meatball dishes in this “battle of the balls” competition under the big top tents.

Great Southern Food Truck Rally (Family-friendly)
Kennesaw; Aug 27, 2016
The 1st Annual Great Southern Food Truck Rally is a celebration of the best food trucks from Atlanta and the Southeastern region. This one-day event will take over Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park on Saturday. Food fans can elect to purchase sample-sized options or enjoy a full meal option from more than 40 Food Trucks! Plus, the $10 general admission price gets patrons access to enjoy great live music from the region’s best bands, lawn games, sponsor activities and more!

Atlanta German Bierfest 
Woodruff Park; Aug 20, 2016
This festival is the only event in Atlanta that celebrates authentic German culture with food, entertainment and a beer sampling event featuring select German made beers. Over the years the German Bierfest has grown into an annual event of more than 3,000 offering German beer tastings, German food, live music, games and sporting activities and VIP areas for special private parties.

Atlanta BAR-B-Q Festival (Family-friendly)
Dunwoody Perimeter Mall; Aug 12-13, 2016
The Atlanta BAR-B-Q Festival is Atlanta’s largest 2-day BBQ cooking competition which attracts fans from Atlanta and the Southeast to enjoy the art of BBQ making, great food, live entertainment and an interactive kid’s area. More than 30 professional BBQ teams from across the region compete in a variety of individual cooking categories in the largest Cook-Off event.

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