Starting today, it will be Atlanta like you’ve never seen it – until next Labor Day Weekend, of course.
That’s what happens when you have LudaDay Weekend, DragonCon, Atlanta Black Pride, the Decatur Book Festival, what many consider the first important college football game AND MORE all converge on a city expecting an extra 500,000-plus visitors at the same time.
Here are the details:
LudaDay Weekend 2016
What started out as a way for Atlanta rapper/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges to give back to his city AND start celebrating his birthday (Sept. 11) especially early at the same time is now one of the more star-studded happenings here all year long. Among the notables expected? The talk of last weekend’s VMAs, Teyana Taylor; and Jeezy and 50 Cent will be joining Ludacris at the white part at Compound concluding all of the festivities.
It bills itself as “the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!” And as anyone who’s dared go downtown during its three decade existence knows, in short, it may be the only time you may spot a Storm Trooper or someone wielding a saber in line with you at Starbuck’s – and shouldn’t be afraid!
Like Dragon Con before it, this gathering is as much about empowerment within its like-minded community and panel discussion as it is the parties. And boy the parties! Sunday alone – starting at noon in Piedmont Park – a gospel house music DJ will get the outdoor celebration going for some 30-plus acts and special guests expected on stage; including K. Michelle, Erica Mena, Councilman Kwanza Hall and Rep. Keisha Waites.
AJC Decatur Book Festival
Like LudaDay Weekend, the AJC Decatur Book Festival is celebrating its 11th year – and, well, that may be where the similarities end. Where frequent drug and gunplay rapper Rick Ross will help draw a crowd at the former’s celebrity basketball game, a “keynote event” centered around southern writer Pat Conroy has already sold out. And while guys cross their fingers that Instagram favorite Karreuche Tran will wear one of those barely-there outfits that probably drive ex Chris Brown crazy, at the Decatur Book Festival the series writer of “Captain Underpants” (Dave Pilkey) wil hold court. You get the drift.
Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Game
The Bulldogs (University of Georgia) and Tarheels (University of North Carolina) combined with the characters from “The Walking Dead” and whatever else folks at Dragon Con are dressed up as always gives downtown Atlanta a sort of Twilight Zone feel each Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. And while the game at the Georgia Dome is sold out, tailgating seems to never reach capacity. And again, the sights are free.
Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival
Rare is the occasion where you can fill your stomach to pants-popping levels and still feel so inspired to dance all of that jerk chicken, curry goat and roti off that your sweaty shirt could become a burden, too. But that’s the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival for you – where the Georgia International Horse Park takes on an islands atmosphere. (Minus the water, of course).
House In The Park
Apparently 2005 was the year many felt inspired to do something new and different in Atlanta. Again, LudaDay Weekend started then, as did the Decatur Book Festival – AND Chicago’s own DJ Rawsoul decided to combine one of the signature sounds of his city with a gathering seemingly everyone loves, picnics. Though the site has changed over the years, the energy that Rawsoul and DJs Kemit, Kai Alce and Salah Ananse craft on the turntables is a consistent MUST-attend.
– Sonia Murray, CBS Local