Featured on Access Atlanta, JapanFest's two-day festival gives crowds of more than 17,000 people a chance to taste varied Japanese cuisine, watch live performances from Japanese musicians and artists, and practice traditional arts in hands-on exhibits. The tunes of Grammy-winning recording artist Yukiko Matsuyama, whose compositions feature the traditional stringed koto, drift through the air as festival-goers watch the hands of professional calligrapher Kotaro Hachinohe bring a large paint-sodden brush down on paper in bold strokes. Pairs of guests can practice the art of petal positioning at the Japanese flower-arranging exhibit, then carefully prune miniature trees at the bonsai demonstration, pruning branches as gingerly as generals clipping budding turrets from the potted tanks in their offices. A range of other participants fills the center's showroom, including anime collectors, kimono crafters, and sake sellers. After perusing the swarm of exhibitors, visitors can reboot with traditional Japanese fare from vendors such as Kotobuki Cafe and Sushi Niko Niko.
Sprawled across a huge field in Fairburn, roughly 13 miles southwest of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the festival teems with life, noise, and the PG-13 debauchery of nearly 1,000 costumed rakes, harlequins, ne'er-do-wells, knights, wenches, and the ever unpredictable royal treasury accountants. Catch jousting, falconry shows, and surprise inquisitions to make sure you're having a good time. Take up a sword and have a blast repressing the local Irish, or dress up your niece and nephew for a crusade to bring endless laughter and good times to frowny infidels. On the weekend of April 24 and 25, visitors can enjoy Irish dancing and a highlander pipe-and-drum band, while on Mother's Day weekend (May 8 and 9), the first 100 moms through the gate will receive free flowers.
Local rock and pop station Star 94 Atlanta lines up some of the most popular bands in the country for an arena-filling evening of top radio hits. Rock band Daughtry regales audiences with favorites such as "It's Not Over" and "Crawling Back to You," part of a tuneful tradition that helped garner the band three American Music Awards, four Grammy nominations, and several fan letters written in frosting. Audiences sing and sway along to The Script's songbook of relatable pop tunes about heartache and dropped ice-cream cones, including single "Breakeven," which sold more than 1.7 million copies in the U.S.
Helmed by the not-for-profit Urban Mediamakers Association, the three-day Urban Mediamakers Film Festival showcases independent features, shorts, documentaries, cartoons, and music videos from a wide swath of burgeoning artists. In addition to having their creations screened and judged, novice filmmakers can learn the ins and outs of modern media by participating in in-depth discussions and presentations led by guest speakers who have found success in the industry. Past presentations and workshops have covered topics such as turning independent books into films, building a brand through social media, and developing a compelling story that can invoke thought and positive change. Beyond the premiers and presentations, the film festival also hosts an awards party and Videopalooza, a showcase for youth films.
Creative couples come together for evenings of romantic artistry thanks to the ART Station's date-night program. Duos arrive at 7 p.m. to nibble on fine cheese, elegantly sip wine, and get to know the other pairs with whom they'll be molding masterworks. Afterward, a knowledgeable ART Station staffer guides visitors on a tour of some of the goods within the facility's five art galleries, finally leading them into the ceramics studio. A 30-minute informational session teaches tactile twosomes the basics of clay-crafting, clay-whispering, and advanced clay-hair removal etiquette. From there, couples are free to hand-mold the manifestations of their shared dreams, which will later be kiln-fired and available for pickup in about two weeks. A steady flow of wine and cheese ignites creative neurons and keeps taste buds tingling throughout the experience.