Dennis, president of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, the Midtown-based nonprofit hosting the event, lives next to Chastain Park, where the festival will take place this weekend.
“Personally,” he said, “I have two really favorite shows each year, and [the] Chastain [Park Arts Festival] in the fall and Buckhead in the spring are so close to my heart, mostly because we see so many artists who come back and stay in Georgia. They say it’s so expensive to go out of town or out of state for shows. At least 70 percent of the artists are from Georgia.”
The festival will have about 175 artists and is expected to draw between 20,000 and 30,000 attendees this year. It had similar numbers in 2013. Dennis said there are several reasons this event stands out.
“For one thing it’s the venue,” he said. “It’s a spectacular location. People who live in and a round Buckhead hold it near and dear because it’s such a beautiful setting. We turn Park Drive into an art gallery. It’s 100 percent white table booths along that road. The only difference between this [festival] and the one at Chastain Park in the fall is this one includes crafts. It’s a happy atmosphere and it’s Mother’s Day weekend.
“If you don’t want to go to Midtown or other intown venues, this is the place to go to where you’ll know you can get an inclusive, lively event. I would say we tailor this particular event to the audience. They’re generally very family oriented and home-centered. We see a lot of people looking for something out of the ordinary.”
Dennis said he encourages those attending concerts at the Chastain Park Amphitheater Saturday and Sunday nights to come to the festival before going to the concerts.
Buckhead resident Melanie Rolfes, an artist who specializes in oil and acrylic paintings, has participated in the festival since its inception. An artist for more than 20 years, she creates and sells her paintings to help pay for college tuition for her sons Jackson, 20, and Thomas, 18. Though Jackson got some scholarships to attend Arizona State University, she still has to pay some of his tuition. Jackson has not decided on a college yet.
Rolfes said she enjoys the festival for several reasons.
“I love this festival,” she said. “All the people [in the neighborhood] come out. They really support the community. They buy and they definitely appreciate high-quality art. It’s a really nice family event, especially around Mother’s Day. It’s also just a lot of fun. It’s not too big and the park is so pretty. AFFPS is a joy to work with. They’re so artist-friendly.
“[At the festival] the families come out, and it has been so much fun watching them with pregnant mothers or newborn babies. We watch them grow.”
If you go:
o What: Buckhead Spring Arts and Crafts Festival
o When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
o Where: Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive, Buckhead
o Cost: free to attend with free parking; art work, food and drink for sale
o Information: www.buckheadartsfestival.com