Next weekend is the Atlanta Jazz Festival, from May 27 to 29. Now in its 46th year, the free outdoor festival is a celebration of the music and culture of jazz. The event is hosted in Piedmont Park by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, click here for more.

On to other recent news: 

The parade was founded in 2010. (Photo courtesy of the Atlanta BeltLine.)

Fourteenth annual lantern parade returns to the Atlanta BeltLine this weekend

It’s time to get crafty! This Saturday is the annual Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade on the Westside Trail. Anyone with a lantern is invited to jump in the parade or you can sit back and enjoy the festivities. 

If you need some help getting started, the founders Chantelle Rytter + Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons have some tips for making a lantern

Created in 2010, the parade attracted 400 participants and by 2019, had drawn in about 70,000 spectators and lantern makers.

The parade steps off at Adair Park at 8:45 p.m., with festivities before and after. Click here for the route and schedule.

— Hannah E. Jones

The 1838 Rockwell House is among the historic sites on the Milledgeville tour. (Photo by Georgia Trust.)

Georgia Trust offers self-guided tours of Milledgeville historic sites

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is offering self-guided tours of 20 historic sites in Milledgeville on June 10. 

The “Expedition” event highlights one of Georgia’s most historic cities, which once served as the state capital. Among the houses open for touring are the 1838 Rockwell House, the 1806 Major Edward White House, and the 1825 Brown-Stetson-Sanford House, which the Georgia Trust says sparked the city’s preservation movement and led to the formation of the Downtown Historic District.

Some other tour sites are the Old State Capitol, the Old Governor’s Mansion and Andalusia Farm, which was the final home of the famed writer Flannery O’Connor. An optional closing reception will be held at Lockerly Arboretum.

Tickets are $40 for the tour alone and $100 (members $75) for the version that includes the closing reception and a $15 lunch voucher. Tickets are available through June 7 or until they sell out. For more information, see the Georgia Trust website

— John Ruch

A rendering of one of the homes on Burbank Drive. (Courtesy of City of Refuge.)

City of Refuge breaks ground on five affordable homes

A new, small affordable housing community is coming to Atlanta’s Westside. On May 10, the City of Refuge broke ground on five, single-family homes on separate lots. The new residences are situated adjacent to the organization’s campus along Burbank Drive NW.

City of Refuge is a faith-based organization that helps those in crisis. Last year, the team helped 428 residents find jobs, housed 349 people and served 229,950 meals. 

With legacy residents at risk of being priced out, these five homes will add to the availability of affordable for-sale housing options within the Westside. This project is done in partnership with GROWTH by NCRC.

“Lack of affordability is not unique to Atlanta’s Westside, but it stands to have an outsized impact on a community that is trying to keep afloat as economic challenges continue to put pressure on home prices,” wrote Founder and CEO Bruce Deel. “With our investment in affordable housing, we hope to be a catalyst for even more high-quality, affordable developments in the area that provide some much-needed breathing room for residents.” 

This is the City of Refuge’s third affordable housing project. “The 345,” a 31-unit community for men on the Westside, opened in March and an affordable rental community “The 1300” debuted in 2020. 

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin presents the 2023 Hope Builder Award to Jack Hardin, a tireless advocate for the homeless in metro Atlanta. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

— Hannah E. Jones

Jack Hardin honored at St. Vincent de Paul’s Morning of Hope

One of metro Atlanta’s oldest nonprofits — St. Vincent de Paul — conveyed affirming messages of hope at its annual breakfast, aptly named “Morning of Hope.”

The honoree of the 2023 Hope Builder Award was Jack Hardin, a partner with Smith Gambrell + Russell, who also is a community champion in the effort to end homelessness in the Atlanta region.

Introducing Hardin was former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who helped launch the Regional Commission on Homelessness early after she became mayor in 2002. Franklin and Hardin co-chair the commission, which is part of United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Franklin said 20 years ago, the City of Atlanta decided to tackle the issue of homelessness, an effort that’s not part of the city’s charter. Community leaders embraced the idea, especially Hardin who helped convert a former city jail into the Gateway Center, a one-stop location that seeks solutions for people who are homeless. “Jack not only has the heart,” Franklin said. “He has the experience.”

In accepting the award, Hardin said Franklin “put homelessness on the regional agenda,” and that a 45-commitment has turned into a 20-year devotion to cure homelessness.

Jack Hardin and Shirley Franklin look at a video about the 2023 Hope Builder honoree during the Morning of Hope breakfast hosted by St. Vincent de Paul. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

“We have significantly reduced homelessness in our community,” Hardin said. “We are on the cusp of eliminating homelessness in our community. I think we are going to get there.”

Morning of Hope, held at the Cobb Galleria Center on May 16, featured a presentation from Rodney Bullard, CEO of the Same House as well as moving tributes from people who had been served by St. Vincent de Paul, a multi-faceted nonprofit that is 120 years old.

Mike Mies, who became CEO of the organization earlier this year, had volunteered with the organization for 23 years. Mies spoke of how the organization helps people who are living on the edge by finding ways to overcome their challenges and offering “hope that tomorrow will be better than today.”

— Maria Saporta

Additional details. (Courtesy of Blast Beats & Brews Fest.)

Blast Beats & Brews fest returns for second year

Avondale Estates’ Blast Beats & Brews Fest is back — bringing together the worlds of heavy metal and craft brewing. The outdoor event will be held on Saturday, May 20 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and hosted at Town Green Park, a new greenspace. 

Visitors can expect live music from six bands worth headbanging to, craft beer, mead, art vendors and food trucks. Bands include Awaken The Ancient, Malformity, Oak Ash and Thorn, Lazer/Wulf, Solemn Vision and Voraath.

The street festival was established last summer by Emily Harris, a pro photographer known for shooting concerts and her 2015 documentary film “Atlanta Metal.”

This is a ticketed event. For more festival and ticketing information, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area reopens entrance to East Palisades

This month, visitors to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) can again use a popular trail entrance and river access point. The Whitewater entrance of East Palisades Trail reopened on May 17 and the Powers Island ramp will do the same by Memorial Day.

The former was closed in January due to safety concerns from erosion, but the trails stayed open. Last year, the entrance road was traversed by nearly 43,000 vehicles. It’s been temporarily repaired while the team discusses long-term options. The team also revamped the Powers Island step-down ramp for tubers, rafters and boaters.

The CRNRA covers the 48-mile Chattahoochee River corridor and sees over three million visitors each year.

 — Hannah E. Jones

Avatar photo

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.