9 can’t-miss fall festivals in metro Atlanta

When summer ends, it might be tempting to spend all your time indoors. In doing that, though, you would be missing out on a lot.

As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather starts to cool off, a fall festival is the perfect place to take in the beauty of the season amid familiar faces and potential friends.

Before the holidays usher in winter, enjoy plenty of food, bounce with your children on inflatables, and learn a little more about your community at these fall events:

AJC Decatur Book Festival

Atlanta’s favorite Labor Day tradition once again will bring acclaimed authors and their fans to downtown Decatur. The 11th annual festival lets book lovers choose between events featuring more than 300 authors over three days.

The keynote event, the Life and Works of Pat Conroy, a tribute to the Southern writer who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, has already sold out. Still, there are plenty of other events to attend.

For families, lively, kid-friendly performances by local arts and educational organizations and appearances by independently published children’s authors will take place in the Sycamore Family Zone. Young readers can kick off the second and third days of the festival with a parade. “Captain Underpants” author Dav Pilkey will present the Kidnote address at 5 p.m. Sept. 2.

All events are free, but the kidnote address requires a ticket for entry. There is a processing fee online and via phone. Various times and locations, Sept. 2-4. decaturbookfestival.com.

Marietta Art in the Park

This festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary Labor Day weekend, as 175 artists put their work on display in Marietta Square.

About 45,000 people are expected to attend the festival, enjoying fine art in the Artist Market at various price points, and helping to create a 6-by-30-foot street art display benefiting the Marietta High School Art Club.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 3-5. Free. 50 N. Park Square, Marietta. artparkmarietta.com.

Yellow Daisy Festival

This Stone Mountain Park event is celebrating 48 years of providing attendees with a great excuse to take in the beauty of nature while indulging in fair food and live entertainment.

You can peruse items from more than 400 artists along the park’s events meadow and adjacent paved trails before taking your kids to play games in the Children’s Corner.

Festival admission is free. Parking is $15 per day. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8-11. Stone Mountain Park Events Meadow, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. stonemountainpark.com.

Atlanta Greek Festival

It’s been 42 years since the inaugural festival combined Greek cuisine and live entertainment in a festival setting.

You can enjoy live music from headliners Alpha-Omega Sound and dance shows by local artists, or visit the drive-through on your lunch break to grab a gyro sandwich, or a chicken lathorigano plate — the latter comprised of broiled chicken basted with a marinade of oil, lemon and oregano, rice pilaf, green beans, spanakopita and a roll.

The drive-through is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 22-24 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 25.

5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23-25. $5 (adult), free for children, ages 12 and under, and seniors, ages 65 and older. Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2500 Clairmont Road, Atlanta. atlantagreekfestival.org.

Alpharetta Art in the Park

About 2,000 people head to downtown Alpharetta once a month between April and September to celebrate local artists. The last opportunity to enjoy Alpharetta Art in the Park before next spring will take place Sept. 24.

You can watch as about 25 crafters create beautiful pieces of pottery and woodwork, and you can buy unique children’s clothes, pictures and more during the festival. Then, head over to the Alpharetta Farmers Market to grab a bite to eat.

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 24. Free. Main Street and Milton Avenue, Alpharetta. awesomealphartetta.com.

Atlanta Pride

The 46th annual Atlanta Pride festival will celebrate gender and sexual identity diversity with the help of more than 250 exhibitors, nonprofit organizations and artists in Piedmont Park.

Musicians will provide live entertainment throughout the two-day festival. In addition to traditional activities, such as the annual parade that will take place at noon Oct. 9, the festival will feature an expanded college and career fair this year. The Starlight Cabaret Show, featuring national and international drag performers, once again will close out the festival.

The Youth Liberation Space and Grey Pride will feature programming geared toward younger and older members of the LGBT community. Additionally, an exhibit created through a partnership with the Center for Civil and Human Rights museum will showcase a timeline of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, both locally and internationally.

10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 8-9. Free. Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive, Atlanta. atlantapride.org.

Fair on the Square

An entertainment stage will highlight local artists throughout the day and a Kids Zone, featuring cornhole, inflatables, face painting and more, will help entertain young festivalgoers at this event in downtown Lawrenceville.

Adults and kids alike can participate for cash prizes in Fair on the Square’s dance contests. If you win, you can spend your prize on items from one of the vendors who will be on-site. Nearly 100 businesses, crafters and food vendors are expected to participate in this year’s fair.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 15. Free. 185 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. lawrencevillefallfestival.com.

Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade

This 16th annual event will give attendees a chance to celebrate the spooky holiday a couple of weeks early. Enjoy live entertainment on two stages, shop at Little Five Points retailers and admire the best and wackiest costumes.

The daylong festival includes a two-hour parade that kicks off at 4 p.m. at Euclid and Austin avenues near Horizon Theatre. The parade will feature a marching band, zombies and more.

Noon-11 p.m. Oct. 15. Free. Little Five Points, 2311 Emeline Place, Atlanta. l5phalloween.com.

Smyrna Fall Jonquil Festival

If you didn’t get to enjoy the Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival, you’ll get one more chance to see what the city is all about before 2016 ends.

Receive a jonquil bulb from Keep Smyrna Beautiful before purchasing traditional fair food such as cotton candy, candy apples, polish sausage and barbecue from vendors in the Fall Jonquil Food Court.

A children’s area will offer fun inflatables and sand art, while artisans from around the Southeast will put their handmade arts and crafts on display. Pick out a gift for a loved one before catching the Atlanta Puppet Show with Peter Hart.

Friends of the Smyrna Library will hold a book sale during the two-day festival, just as they did during the spring festival. Marietta musician Scott Thomas also will return with an acoustic set.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22-23. Free. Village Green, 200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna. smyrnacity.com.

*This story has been updated to correct information regarding the AJC Decatur Book Festival.

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