Inman Park was Atlanta’s first suburb
“There’s a parking spot. Hurry! No – there’s a fire hydrant.”
“There’s one – ugh – it’s a driveway.”
“Let’s try this street. No. Turn left here and try this one …”
My husband was about to throw me out of the car by the time we found a parking spot for the annual Inman Park Festival, but it was well worth it.
The distinctive smell of gyros and funnel cakes greeted us at the entrance of this neighborhood festival which has gone on since the early 1970’s. We decided to hold off on eating so we could visit the artist booths first. As we strolled the shady, tree-lined streets, we couldn’t help noticing the Victorian houses with their gingerbread details and large verandas. Many people were having parties and I felt a pang of envy that we hadn’t been invited too.
One of the many Victorian mansions
While my husband was drawn to vendors selling photographs and paintings, I gravitated towards the soap makers. Rosemary – Lemongrass – Lavender were just a few of their offerings. However, our favorite booth was a company called Brandles which sells liquor candles – yes, made from a recycled bottle or can of your favorite liquor. Scents are as diverse: jasmine, kiwi, cotton candy,whiskey, leather, bacon and beer.
As hunger descended on us, we approached the merchants offering free tastings of dips, salad dressings and pickled carrots.
“Buy 3, get the 4th Free!”
“Great Gifts for Mother’s Day!”
“Try Our Award Winning Hot Sauce!”
Although I agreed these would make excellent gifts, I didn’t want to carry them around the festival and I couldn’t think of people on my Christmas list at least 7 months away.
Plus I wasn’t in shopping mode. I was in people watching mode. The neighborhood’s residents are known for being free-spirited. Slowly, the street began filling with more people – young and old – hippies and traditional, yet baby strollers and tattoos seemed to be the prevalent theme. Festival goers sporting sequined dresses, costumes, crazy hats and painted faces started arriving to take part in the parade later that day.
Visiting the street market
As hunger descended on us, we passed more booths selling jewelry, pottery, antiques and wood crafts. A Joan Baez type singer strummed her guitar at the nearby stage while we ate our gyros at the picnic tables. We discussed purchasing tickets for the Tour of Homes, but decided we had walked enough and would save that for another year. As we headed back to the car, we both commented on how neat this neighborhood is and how fun it felt to be “hip for the day!”
For more information about the Inman Park Festival, visit http://inmanparkfestival.org.