Warmer weather and longer, sunnier days often inspire us to frolic at festivals, participate in cultural events and much more. This spring, take time out to enjoy sunset jazz concerts, showcase your creative and competitive sides at a soap box derby or set your own pace during an evening art walk. Consider this a guide for great things to do inside and outside.
Ham it up: Bands, beer and bacon — welcome to BaconFest 2015. This outdoor festival features live performances, games such as human foosball and a flip cup tournament, a scavenger hunt, silent auction and a "Bacon Smackdown." This, of course, is in addition to troughs of cold beer and over 2,250 pounds of bacon. Rain or shine, this event will take place at Masquerade Music Park from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, March 28. All guests must be 21 or over with proper identification; children and dogs not permitted. Driving alternatives strongly suggested. Tickets are $25-$90. 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. accessatlanta.com/baconfest
Cue free concerts: Mix picnics at sunset with outdoor jazz concerts and you'll arrive at Oakhurst Jazz Nights, a weekly Thursday concert from April 2-30 featuring a variety of free jazz performances. The melody making, which takes place in front of the Solarium, begins at 7 p.m., but guests may arrive as early as 5 p.m. to find the best position for their blankets and baskets. For a more up close and personal experience, opt for a candlelit table, complete with chairs and linens. The aforementioned costs $25; interested parties should email email@example.com. 321 W. Hill St., Decatur. accessatlanta/oakhurstjazz.
Free film festival: Sometimes the best things in life really are free. Case in point: the first ever Southeastern Film Festival hosted by the University of North Georgia. Beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, visitors can attend panels to learn more about independent filmmaking, tips from local actors, directors and producers plus watch a slew of films that will be showcased. To view the complete schedule of events or register for panels, visit accessatlanta/southeasternfilm.
Full throttle: Ready, set, go customize your soap box car! Sponsored by companies such as Bragg Jam Arts and Music Festival and Geico, the seventh annual Magnolia Soap Box Derby will feature up to 30 teams — all racing down the streets of historic Macon in an attempt to win cash, gift certificates, theater tickets, bragging rights and more. The festivities will take place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 11, and guests can "refuel" their energy (racing and cheering can be hard work!) at a myriad of food trucks. A kids race, live music and after party round out the day's activities. Ready to compete? $75 will get you and up to three team members in the game. Location: Washington Park at College and Magnolia streets in Macon. accessatlanta.com/soap box derby.
More than pretty pictures: Decatur Arts Festival's ArtWalk is an experiential evening filled with, well, art. From 5-10 p.m. Friday, May 22, participants will be able to stroll around in downtown Decatur and see artwork, which will be on display at participating shops and restaurants. For more entertainment, be on the lookout for fire-twirling, live music, food and drinks. The event will be free and no RSVP is required, so bring friends and family for a night of fun. Maps of participating businesses will be available online closer to the date. Downtown Decatur. accessatlanta.com/decaturartsfestival.
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