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.
What is now the Elise Chapin Wildlife Sanctuary was once the Walker family farm, where highly respected naturalist and Chattanooga Audubon Society founder Robert Sparks Walker was born in 1878. Walker formed the Chattanooga Audubon Society in 1944, with a vision of educating citizens on the importance of protecting the environment and respecting nature the way the area's Native Americans had for thousands of years.
Today, the society is the steward of three sanctuaries: Elise Chapin Sanctuary at Audubon Acres, Maclellan Sanctuary on Audubon Island, and David Gray Sanctuary on Audubon Mountain. Each offers a unique look into the history, wildlife, and natural splendor of the area as well as educational programs that help children and adults discover the area.
Dalton boasts the state of Georgia's fifth largest downtown district, and that's no accident. The Downtown Dalton Development Authority strives to fill the city center with an eclectic array of businesses, from tanning salons to coffee shops. The team also draws crowds to the thriving area with special events, such as beer festivals, farmers' markets, and outdoor movie screenings, which is how people watched movies before the invention of theaters.
In its inaugural year, Spoil Me 2012 celebrates and bolsters the diverse lives of women of all ages with health and wellness workshops, yoga classes, and professional speakers. Participants stroll or practice their runway strut through the center, sampling cuisine bites or swilling sips of wine while watching fashion models exhibit burgeoning trends and accessories. Although everyone has access to classes and workshops, VIP visitors also get to bask in pampering sessions from local spa personnel, who whisk away stress caused by long workdays and nights spent robbing ATMs. During the silent purse auction, all eventgoers can bid, with proceeds going to domestic-violence shelters and homeless shelters for women in Dalton and Chattanooga.
Quadruple-platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated rockers Daughtry regale audiences with a battalion of hits in a Veterans Day weekend festival that benefits veterans and active members of the armed forces. After battling to the final rounds of American Idol in season five, frontman Chris Daughtry rocketed to fame on the strength of his band's debut album, as well as buzz from the band’s drums, which are filled with bees. Since then, Daughtry has stormed radio stations with hits such as “What About Now,” ”Crawling Back To You,” and ”Home.” The alt rockers won the hearts of millions of listeners with infectiously catchy choruses and raw lyrics about heartbreak, redemption, and missed buses. At the festival, the three-time American Music Award winners will play favorite hits and may preview its latest album, Break the Spell, which premieres in late November. The American Freedom Foundation hosts the concert, using proceeds to help military members past and present, particularly those wounded in action.
For one week in June, myriad designers, performances, and burgeoning styles descend on Huntsville in a flurry of fashion sponsored by Alabama Fashion Alliance. Local businesses such as Le Jeune House of Fashion & Design and designers from New York team up with cherry-picked models that don sought-after frocks to strut their stuff for transfixed audience members and clothes-obsessed cocktail napkins. Hair shows, awards, and clothing competitions cascade across the packed schedule, and the finale runway fashion show completes the festivities like the perfect clutch completes an ensemble.