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Midtown Festival of the Arts: An interview

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The Atlanta Festivals Examiner recently had the pleasure of interviewing the President of the inaugural Midtown Festival of the Arts: Mr. Leslie Johnson.

Q – How did this festival come about?

A – The festival had an organic beginning with 6 – 7 persons who live and work in the area to sit down and discuss ways in which the momentum of the urban renewal could continue in Midtown. With the state of the economy, we determined it best to showcase what Midtown has to offer through a festival.

Q – So, is the festival a fundraiser?

A – The festival is a fundraiser, organized by the Midtown Festival of the Arts, Inc. The organization is a 501(3) c, with aims to raise funds for a number of competitive grants that would benefit the community. Potential projects include safety and quality of life initiatives like segways, high resolution cameras and a corner park.

Q – What is the premier event at the festival? What shouldn’t we miss?

A – That’s difficult to answer. The festival food may just be it. We are selling tickets to Plates on Peachtree, in which patrons will pay $30.00 online or $40.00 on-site to eat appetizer portions of a number of the area’s best restaurants. The ticket includes 1 complementary drink, with cash bar for each subsequent drink.

Other options include the food vendors, which are a bit out of the ordinary for a typical festival. Whereas funnel cakes, corndogs and French fries are usually eaten, our menu is taking it up a notch. We have the popular King of Pops, in addition to Yeah! Burger, Ecco, JCT Kitchen & Bar, and TAP.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the “festival drink”. Concocted by the mixologist of Fifth Group Restaurants, we have at least 2 signature specialty cocktails available only at the festival. We also have Terrapin Beer Company from Athens serving up their specialty craft beers.

A – Outside of food, we have so many wonderful performers, like The Connells and The Breakfast Club. The lineup includes a variety of musical genres.

A – Another cool thing is the coffee table book: coffee tables will feel naked without this wonderful piece of art. The book features a variety of pictures of Midtown, and, the coolest part of all, is the ability of festival-goers to take pictures on their mobile devices and cameras, use Unibindto print that technology onsite, and even have it featured in the coffee table book. The book is specially priced at the festival for $35.00. The price will jump to $40.00 after the festival.

Q – What should festival-goers bring or leave behind?

A – They should leave their weapons at home and bring an extra wallet. (Laughter) The festival food and the wonderful juried art at the Artist Market will have festival-goers wishing they had brought that extra wallet. There are 110 artists from all over who are coming to share their works with us at the festival.

Q – What about the kids?

A – We have a Kidszone, which has been constructed to cater to all children. The area will be at the Margaret Mitchell House property, and will feature storytime, bounce house(s), various performances and activities sponsored by the Woodruff Arts Center, the Georgia Aquarium and other venues around town. These types of organizations really wanted to have a presence at the festival and support our cause.

Speaking of art, we are having an art auction that is open to the public on Friday, at 8:30 PM, and preceded by a cocktail hour. Interested parties can come mingle Loews Hotel Midtown lobby, and check out the barstools that have been commissioned by a number of up-and-coming artists in the area. One to see, is the hilarious Scarlett O’Chaira located at 805 Peachtree Street. These chairs are really wonderful, innovative works of art.

Q – Are there any other festival-related events that we should know about?

A – In fact, there is a road race along the Midtown Mile Saturday morning. It’s a celebration of the festival and the mile itself. It starts at Colony Square and ends at North Avenue. Registration begins at 7:30 AM and the race starts at 9:00 AM. It will be followed by an awards ceremony, and the opening of the festival.

Anyone that loves movies, should come watch Driving Miss Daisy as she drives down Peachtree Street whilst we sit on Peachtree Street. It is the perfect movie to show to celebrate this momentous occasion. I can guarantee that Atlantans will have a wonderful time.

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