Decatur: There’s a Festival For That

By Linda Harris

We challenged the community to write a six-word story about Decatur. It was a spin-off on Ernest Hemingway, when someone challenged him to write a story in six words. He did it, and our community did, too.

We received so many great stories that we used them on fans, our Visitors Center conference room table, and in a series of video interviews on our website. “Decatur: There’s a Festival for That” resonated so well, a local blogger made it into a t-shirt. Decatur maintains a year-round calendar of festivals and events and the fall festival season is in full swing. Here are a few highlights:
October features Maker Faire Atlanta on October 1-2 in downtown Decatur. Maker Faire brings together amazing, curious people who enjoy learning and love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, and projects. They call it the “Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.”

PorchFest returns to Oakhurst on Saturday, October 8. At this grassroots community music festival front porches become stages, yards become venues, and radical generosity and goodwill rule the day. At the inaugural PorchFest in 2015, Andrew Lincoln, star of “The Walking Dead,” made an appearance. The 2015 event featured more than 130 diverse performances including orchestral pop group Oryx & Crake, country rock group The Skylarks, blues rock group, The Canarys, and more. This year’s festival features 181 porches and bands, and will have extended hours from 12 – 6 p.m. with a “closing throwdown” in Harmony Park.

Next up is the 18th Great Decatur Craft Beer Festival on October 15. Tickets typically sell out 20 minutes after they go online in September so if you haven’t gotten a ticket by now, you’re out of luck and mark your calendar for next year.The best thing about this festival is that the majority of their proceeds are donated to local non-profits. Local pubs owners organize the event and since its start in 1999, the Festival has granted more than $700,000 to Decatur non-profits.
The 2016 HomeGrown Haints & Saints Halloween Parade returns on Sunday, October 30, organized by the owners of local shop HomeGrown who picked up on an 1899 tradition in Decatur when Maury Mable led an annual parade through downtown. Sometimes it was a small parade (just him), and sometimes a large parade, but for 51 years, he led proudly, wearing his signature black, silk top hat.
Haints & Saints parade features classic cars, tricked out hearses, civic groups, marching bands, zombies galore, bands, dance troupes, and an after-parade band jam session and impromptu dance party. Come be in the parade or watch it and enjoy the fun.

November begins with the Decatur Wine Festival on Nov. 5 where you can taste 500 wines from around the globe at 70 tables and enjoy music at metro Atlanta’s largest outdoor wine festival. Proceeds from the Wine Festival go to fund the annual Decatur Arts Festival held over Memorial Day weekend in May.

Our local shops get into festival mode with Terrific Thursdays in November and December. Spend $20 in a local shop in November and receive a $20 gift card for one of our local restaurants. The local artist who created the Secret Doors is creating a new pop-up art project for Terrific Thursdays which promises to be fun.

There are so many other events and festivals I haven’t mentioned so visit the website for more because, remember the story – Decatur: There’s a Festival For That!