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.
When pastry chefs want to find news, recipes, or interviews about the ins and outs of the pastry world, they can turn to Pastry Profiles. The website aims to provide chefs with information about what's going on in their profession. They also host an annual competition expo, Pastry Live, as the highlight of their calendar. There, dozens of pastry chefs come together to provide demonstrations and seminars on everything from creating seasonal dessert menus to expanding culinary creativity. Competitions are the highlight of the event, though, with top chefs vying for titles such as Best Cake and Chocolatier of the Year.
Inside Out Center, Inc. provides a safety net for the working poor, the unemployed, the homeless, and other struggling Atlanta citizens—a safety net so comprehensive, it includes a boutique. Dubbed "The Professional Look Boutique," its racks brim with clean, donated job-interview attire, from suits to wingtips. Founders Sharon and Jock Crump, who once unexpectedly spent time on food stamps themselves, have created other resources, too. Their team helps clients out of financial crises with emergency rent and utilities assistance, and runs budgeting and job-training seminars.
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.