Atlanta’s Inman Park Festival Beer Guided Tour

Atlanta is the Spring Festival Capital of the World.  Inman Park FestivalWe do ‘em better than anybody, in a city that has unrivaled beauty in the Spring.  We’ll toss up a booth on anything more than a 1/4 acre, fry up the corn-dogs, strike up the local band

Yes, that's a kazoo in his mouth

Yes, that's a kazoo in his mouth

and try to sell you stuff.  I like that stuff and I like to drink beer in front of cops.  Here’s all you needed to see at the Inman Park Festival.  The nude pictures are on the last page, so be patient.

If you’ve read this blog, you know I support shopping locally.  This is where your local festival comes in.  Here’s how you do this.  When you’re at a festival, take the time to meet the people in the booths.  If you like what they have and can’t buy it that day…get their card. They have web-sites.  Visit often.  Figure out a way to get these people in your life.  You’ll be so glad you did.

I did the vetting and here is the best that the festival had to offer in 10 minutes or less.  Sorry if I missed any must-include vendors… the damn festival takes up two counties.

My first stop was Smack Yo Mama barbecue sauce.  You need this sauce.  They have a nice basic sauce and a hotter sauce that’ll Rooter Rooter your throat with a tasty hotter’n'hell back bite.

Mama smacking good!

Mama smacking good!

Next stop was August Miller Design.  She designs jewelry, and there was plenty of jewelry there, but hers is really unique.  She names her jewelry like they’re her children.  This is beautiful stuff you can wear that has some back-story.  Forget the jewelry department at Macy’s.  This is how to do it for about the same price.

August Miller--Jewelry Diva

August Miller--Jewelry Diva

Next up…Manami Lingerfelt.  She paints what I can only describe as “healing art for your soul.”  She was breast-feeding when I visited her booth and for some reason was a little camera shy.

Art for your soul

Art for your soul

All this artsy fartsy crap was making me thirsty, but trust me I just saved you from browsing through forty booths of crap to find these for you.  Excuse me, I have to do something.

I love this stuff.

I love this stuff.

After a nice cool beer, I stumble upon Erin Smith, whose stuff I really like.  She has these mildly disturbing images with smarmy, witty text.  It’s mixed media with a twisted message.

Erin and here odd art

Erin and her odd art

My wife’s out of town this weekend, so I’m freely looking at all the nice butts strutting around.  I finish my beer in front of a cop and notice a guy beating on painted fire extinguishers that he’s converted into bells.  Yep, that’s none other than Don Foos, aka der Salvage Meister selling the world’s sturdiest wind chimes.

Bang a gong...bring it on

Bang a gong...bring it on

Okay, if you’ve been guilty of buying stuff for your house at Kirkland’s, Target or any other big box….here’s what you’ve been missing.  My next visit was with a super cool guy, Kenny Hoff, aka The Tin Man.  He goes around the country and salvages tin ceiling tiles from buildings that are about to be demolished, colors them and sells them to you.  Here’s the really cool part about buying local.  Each of the tiles has a history.  He can tell you what building they came from, when they were made…all kinds of stuff that just doesn’t come with some crappy wall hanging you get from Kirkland’s.  Stop buying that crap!

The Tin Man

The Tin Man

Now, I’m normally not one for painted animal knick-knacky stuff but I met this artist Linda who hand paints some amazing stuff.

Hand painted lacquerware

Hand painted lacquerware

I absolutely love hippies!  I met Mavis Stevens, resident Atlanta hippy and boy was she happy.  Mavis makes fabric art.  She loves peace signs and guess what?  Yep, this weekend is the 50th anniversary of the peace sign!  Yessiree.  Who knew?  Mavis knew and a substantial portion of her work is…you guessed it…peace signs!

Mavis and her fabric art peace signs!

Mavis and her fabric art peace signs!

All this happiness has made me long for another….

Number 2

Number 2

He’s not selling anything but his soul.  I listened to Jake the Guitar player while I enjoyed my beer.  I asked him if he had a last name and he asked me if I was a cop.

Jake the guitar player

Jake the guitar player

Some guys really, really enjoy what they do.  Take Tim Boyd for example.  He describes his work as “low-brow whimsical.”  I agree with him and enjoyed taking a look.

Tim and his art

Tim and his art

I tried to put a link, but I couldn’t find his site.  Google him.  It’s worth the effort.

Craig Bennet was next on the list.  His art is Halloween themed and is really cool.  I didn’t find jack on his web-site, but he’s definitely worth a call.  If you like Halloween and you want out of the ordinary decs, then he is your man.  I absolutely love his stuff, plus he’s a really nice guy.

Halloween 24/7/365 HQ

Halloween 24/7/365 HQ

I’m nearly finished my second beer and am entering maintenance mode.  I’ll make one more stop before cup number three appears in my hand.  And the winner is….Odessa Brown!  Odessa’s medium is mixed media.  It’s inspired and meaningful.  I’d really recommend taking a look at her web-site to get a better feel for this.  I enjoyed her work thoroughly.  She was also really sweet and great to talk with.

Odessa and her work

Odessa and her work

Time for …..

Number 3!!!

Number 3!!!

I’m not sure if the art’s getting better or if the beer’s kicking in, but I’m liking this way more than usual.  My next stop was really cool.  Atlanta has a AM radio station that plays mostly roots music.  AM 1690 aka the Voice of the Arts.  It’s nostalgic to listen to old Dylan et al on an AM station that fades in and out and is rife with static on my old AM radio.  They promise crystal clear reception with a late model car.  What a find!

AM 1690

AM 1690

Next up, weird heads.  Kind of like shrunken heads that are disturblingly real.  Yep, that’s what I found in Kimberly Dean’s booth.  Visit her site.  This stuff is not to be missed!

Kimberly Dean

Kimberly Dean

Pete the Cat!‘s been an Atlanta favorite for 10 years.  There’s lot’s of Pete the Cat! art, not to mention books, cards, etc.  Word on the street is the Pete the Cat!’s about to land a publishing deal with a major house.  Good luck James!

James Dean and Pete the Cat!

James Dean and Pete the Cat!

Onto Linc Bennett.  This guy is the real deal.  Oil, fabric and prints.  He’s leaning towards modern folk art–if there is such a thing–with a decidely African American slant.  I stared at his work for 10 minutes before speaking with him.

LInc Bennett

LInc Bennett

Yes.  It’s time for a Porta Potty break and then…..

Number 4!!!!

Number 4!!!!

I didn’t know how many more miles this endless festival had to offer, but I was definitely on my last leg, and you were going to have to have an impressive offering for me to take one more note or one more picture.

That’s when I ran into Richard Sussman and Ann Becia of the Central Fulton Master Gardeners. Now here’s some folks who have knowledge I don’t.  Answers to questions like, “How come everthing I plant dies?” or “When is the best time to really put my tomatoes in the ground?” “Fescue or Bermuda?”  These were really patient people that didn’t seem to mind my early slurring stage.

Real Good at Gardening

Real Good at Gardening

Andrea North of Care gave me a pen.  Then she said “I am powerful.”  I wanted to know why.  Her organization is dedicated to “empowering women to help themselves out of poverty worldwide.”  Shit.  That’s more than I do.  I found my cause for the day.  Click.  Donate.  Be for something.

She really cares....she cares a lot!

She really cares....she cares a lot!

Next I run into a charming advocate for left wing feminists at the Charis Books and More booth.  That’s where Olly Howington bitched openly about getting smothered by giants like Amazon.com.  This is a non-profit organization and you can purchase any published book from them.  I’m not a feminist, but I support their cause.  Olly believes in something.  She had amazing enthusiam for what she stood for.

Olly the Amazing Feminista Footsoldier!

Olly the Amazing Feminista Footsoldier!

Two more stops and I’m done.  I can’t possibly pass a hot sauce booth with the name Hotlanta Hot Sauce.  I’m a long time spice and heat guy and I have to check this out.  I was damn glad I did.  Go to their site and buy this sauce.  It’s a medium heat with a loooooooong finish.  This would be great on wings.  I shot the breeze with co-counder Tom Wessels and while he sat on his ass and drank a beer, we watched his partner David Paul work his ass off and feed the crowds samples.  This sauce should take off.

Hotlanta Hot Sauce's Tom Wessel takes is easy while his partner works

Hotlanta Hot Sauce's Tom Wessel takes is easy while his partner works

Four beers down and it’s time to go home.  Shit.  One more booth calls my name.  It’s Triple C Southern Jelly.  I would not have stopped had I not heard that the owner, Christopher Coffman of Monoe, grows all of the ingredients in his jelly.  Talk about local!

Triple C Southern Jelly was triple good!

Triple C Southern Jelly was triple good!

It does not get any more local than that.  He’s got more varieties of jelly than you can shake a stick at, and let me tell you….this is the next addition for all of the biscuit houses out there….really good, local jelly.  Nice job Christoper.

That’s it.  I have to get rid of this beer.  This was a really enjoyable afternoon.  I’d suggest you give it a try soon.

This post took me

Number 4!!!!

Number 4!!!!

Cheers!

Jim

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