Atlanta Flooded with Labor Day Activity

By A. Scott Walton


This Labor Day Weekend, there will be no shortage activities and attractions to keep Atlanta residents and visitors enjoyably occupied. The September 2-5 holiday period will provide ample opportunities for those interested in sports, Sci-Fi role-playing, literature, and festive dining to dive into with gusto. This article represents a mere random sampling of the broad range of scheduled events throughout the metro area. Due to the overflow of activity, be advised that hotel space, dinner reservations, parking and certain event tickets will come at a premium if you haven’t secured them already.


Watch many of NASCAR’s most daring and successful drivers steer and veer around Atlanta Motor Speedway’s challenging track at night during the AdvoCare 500 chase race. The Sunday night main event will be sandwiched by a series of concerts, food festivals, driving demonstrations and Class-B races. Families are free to avail themselves to the onsite and nearby camping facilities to make a full weekend of the high-throttle environment 30 miles south of Atlanta.

AdvoCare 500

When: Sunday, Sept 4

Start: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 Tara Place, Hampton, Ga., 30228)

Parking: Infield Parking ($50), Reserved Parking ($75); off-site parking is ample (870 acres) but prices vary.

Tickets: Call 1-877-9-AMS-TIX for full day-by-day, race-by-race price structure.

More info:


For a three-day stretch, along the serene streets of downtown Decatur, true book enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the written – and spoken – words as 300 national and local authors descend upon the sixth annual Decatur Book Festival (Sept. 2-4, Friday 6-9 p.m. (Opening reception); 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday). This family-friendly event is well-regarded its free lectures, live performances, new and used book sales, and multi-cultural food concessions (including beer and wine).

Decatur Book Festival

When: September 2-4

Where: Decatur Square, 101 East Court Square, Decatur, Ga., 30030

Parking: Ample mix of paid, lotted and deck parking in a dense area of residences, shops and cafes. Prices vary.

Tickets: Most fairs, lectures and book signing are free to the public. Some symposiums featuring high-profile authors may require payment or donation to attend.

General Info: 404-471-5769

On the web:


Soak in the spectacle of dozens of vibrant hot air balloons hovering over the picturesque Callaway Gardens resort; and perhaps treat your family to a ride in one during the 13th annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival (Sept. 2-4). The three-day stretch of events at this retreat an hour south of Atlanta offers other amenities, including: premium golf, nature trails, free outdoor concerts; beach lounging and water sports ($12.50 before 9 a.m. and $25 per person after 9 a.m. entry); butterfly exhibits and a Farmers Market ($12.50 for adult entry). The Festival will stage balloon launches twice daily, depending upon weather conditions. Callaway Gardens offers a full-range of on-site lodging options.

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival

When: September 2-4

Where: Callaway Gardents, 19600 U.S. Highway 27, Pine Mountain, Ga., 31822

Phone: 1-800-CALLAWAY

On the web:


Don’t be surprised if you spot “Darth Vader” or “Wonder Woman” trying to hail a downtown taxi over Labor Day weekend. DragonCon 2011, the nation’s largest convention for science fiction, fantasy, gaming, comic books and other extreme forms of entertainment lands in Atlanta Sept. 2-5. The event is expected to draw as many as 50,000 attendees to a broad range of star-studded autograph sessions, memorabilia swaps and sales, costume contests, parties and a grand parade up Peachtree Street. The axis of their alternative universe will be a string of downtown hotels that include the Hilton Atlanta (255 Courtland Street), the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (365 Peachtree Street), the Marriott Marquis Atlanta), the Sheraton Atlanta (165 Courtland Street), and the Westin Peachtree Plaza (210 Peachtree Street).

For complete Dragoncon details, visit:

Phone: 770-909-0115


Two of college football’s teams with national reputations for strong running games clash when the University of Georgia hosts Boise State at the Georgia Dome. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classicill be televised on ABC or ESPN. So sports bars all over town will be buzzing with excitement. But why not watch it live, and absorb all the other downtown attractions on your way in or out of the stadium?

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic

When: Saturday, Sept. 3

Kickoff: 8 p.m.

Where: Georgia Dome (One Georgia Dome Drive, Atlanta, Ga., 30312

Tickets: Sold out. Scalpers who aren’t trespassing on the property and last-minute online services can conduct quick transactions that get you good seats. But buyer beware of counterfeits. Check Georgia Dome box office (404-223-8428) or the respective schools’ official web sites for official returned-ticket updates.

Parking: Onsite parking available to color-code ticket holders. Off-site parking ($10-$20) within safe walking distance.

Nearby refreshment/attractions: The Georgia Dome is within walking distance of the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Acquarium, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park. Each of these venues offers concessions and souvenirs. A short ($10-$20) cab ride from the Georgia Dome can deliver you to the “restaurant row” pubs and diners along Marietta Street or in the Castleberry Hill District.

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