Sports, Sci-Fi and Literary Events Dominate Labor Day in Atlanta
Labor Day weekend is one of the city's best for students looking to get out of their residence halls and apartments and experience true Atlanta fandom. Among all of the festivals, sporting events, and concerts going on around town there's something for everyone — so put down your pencils, close your textbooks, and check out these iconic Atlanta events:
Free and Cheap Events
Advocare 500 (Sunday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m.; Atlanta Motor Speedway): Fans can enjoy a race under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR's "toughest and most exciting tracks." Ticket prices start at $19.
AJC Decatur Book Festival (Aug. 30–Sept. 1; Downtown Decatur): The Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the U.S. As many as 85,000 people are expected to attend events that include cooking demonstrations, poetry readings, discussion panels and more. Several Tech students, faculty, and staff members will be featured throughout the weekend, including:
- John Cressler, author of Emeralds of the Alhambra: Cressler will speak in the Mary Gay Room within the Marriott Conference Center (Stage 5 on the AJC's map) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. His 30-minute talk and reading will be followed by a book signing. Emeralds will be on sale all weekend at the Charis Books & More booth inside the Marriott.
- Stacy Braukman, author of Communists and Perverts under the Palms: The Johns Committee in Florida: Braukman's book was published in 2012 and received the Rembert W. Patrick Award from the Florida Historical Society for the best scholarly book on a Florida history topic. Her talk, titled "American Homophobia," will take place on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on the City Hall Stage.
- Poets from the School of Literature, Media, and Communication: These students will be featured on the Local Poet's Stage at Java Monkey Cafe from 3 to 3:45 p.m.
AT&T Kickoff Concert (Saturday, Aug. 31, at noon; Centennial Olympic Park): Sheryl Crow will headline this free concert in the park on Saturday afternoon. Gates open at noon and Uncle Kracker will take the stage at 2:30 p.m. The music will end at 4:30 p.m. so that attendees have plenty of time to get to the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
DragonCon Parade (Saturday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m.): Students can hit the streets Saturday morning to catch a glimpse of their favorite sci-fi and fantasy characters during this iconic DragonCon tradition. The parade begins at the corner of 10th Street and West Peachtree Place and ends on Peachtree Center Avenue between the Hyatt Receny and Marriott Marquis hotels.
In the Life Atlanta (Aug. 26–Sept. 3; various locations): Atlanta's official Black Gay Pride event will take place across the city to "promote unity, pride, self-empowerment and positive visibility within Atlanta’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) community of African descent through education, advocacy, and coalition building programs." Events includes a marketplace, workshops, and parties hosted by local LGBT hangouts.
DragonCon (Aug. 30–Sept. 2; Hyatt Regency Atlanta and surrounding hotels): DragonCon 2013 will "offer over 3,500 hours of non-stop programming, concerts, a film festival, the South’s largest costume contest, and the largest Art Show in all of fandom" for the more than 50,000 expected attendees. Superfans should note that vendor halls have been moved from the Atlanta Marriot Marquis to the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart.
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (Saturday, Aug. 31, 5:30 p.m., Georgia Dome): Football fans can attend the game as well as any number of pre-game festivities at and around the Georgia Dome on Saturday. This year, the ACC-SEC match-up will feature Virginia Tech versus University of Alabama.