ATLANTA (WAOK/AJC)-Memorial Day weekend means different things to different folks. Of course you have the true significance of the holiday. For others, it’s the start of summer blockbuster season. Others forgo the darkened theater for outdoor action. Regardless of how you plan to fill your holiday weekend planner, there are more than enough choices to please. Here are but a few.


Atlanta Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park 

V-103 and WAOK will see you Memorial Day Weekend at Piedmont Park for the 35th Annual Atlanta Jazz Fest. Whether you like your jazz traditional or contemporary, smooth or eclectic, with big band swing or a Latin beat, there will be something to excite your senses and soothe your soul. This year’s performance schedule includes jazz greats Roy Ayers, Cyrus Chestnut, Kathleen Bertrand, Russell Gunn, Edy Martinez, Ojeda Penn and Johnny O’Neal. Newcomers to the festival include the rhythmic Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra, soulful singer and saxophonist Grace Kelly, and the R&B and hip-hop influenced Robert Glasper Experiment. Admission is FREE.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember this weekend. All pets, including dogs, cats, snakes, birds, pigs, etc., are prohibited in parks – leash or no leash – during all festivals, unless part of a planned festival program or assisting persons with disabilities. This is for the pet’s protection as well as for the protection of festival patrons. No horses or ponies are allowed in any park at any time.

Outdoor cooking is prohibited except in areas where a city grill has been provided for public use. (Exception: authorized outdoor festival or special event vendors.) Charcoal-fired portable grills are prohibited during festivals. Portable gas grills are acceptable only if situated within five feet of a City-provided grill. Used charcoal must be deposited in City-provided receptacles that are clearly marked for charcoal disposal.

Tents and canopies larger than 10 ‘x 10’ are prohibited without written permission from the Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. Driving of stakes, posts or poles for any reason (including erecting tents or other structures) is forbidden without prior written permission from the Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. 

No motorized vehicles are allowed, except for use by emergency and festival personnel. No bicycle, motorcycle, or moped riding is allowed during event times. No skateboard riding or roller-skating is allowed during event times.

No playing of portable radios, musical instruments or similar devices that are plainly audible to others in the park, unless part of event programming. Glass containers are prohibited in parks.


24th Annual Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Mas and Music at Sweet Auburn

V-103 and WAOK will be involved in all of the bold, bright and feathery pageantry of a Caribbean-style carnival celebration. It begins at noon at the Civic Center MARTA station with the Parade of Bands making its way mostly down Peachtree Street — all the way to the Sweet Auburn district. That’s the site of the Festival Village located at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Fort Street. Beginning at approximately 3 p.m. an onslaught of more than a dozen popular Caribbean acts perform including Soca artists Skinny Fabulous, Kerwin Du Bois and Claudette Peters. Vendors shill Caribbean food, and arts and crafts within the Festival Village. The performances are set to end at 10 p.m.

Parade begins at noon; music begins at approximately 3 p.m. May 26. $15 entry to Festival Village; free ages 10 and younger. Auburn Avenue and Fort Street, Atlanta. 404-519-6120


Brew at the Zoo at Zoo Atlanta

Now in its fifth year, this food and wine festival allows those 21 and older the opportunity to tip back libations among the wildlife. And we’re not talking about wildlife of the hooch parlor variety. The unlimited beer and wine samples will be available throughout the zoo itself. Visitors get up-close-and-personal animal encounters, access to zoo keeper talks and demonstrations, and free train and carousel rides. Don’t let the latter perk fool you. The rides are for big kids only, because no one younger than the legal drinking age will be admitted. If we had to guess, both Generations X and Y will likely make up most of the demographic, because early-’90s, hip-hop group Arrested Development is the featured act. It’s probably the only time you’ll ever hear “Mr. Wendal” with an elephant horn section in the background.

5:30-9:30 p.m. May 26. $38-$48. Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-624-9453


Memorial Day Weekend Festivities at LanierWorld

Special events stretch across the entire holiday weekend at LanierWorld, Lake Lanier Islands’ water park, beach and entertainment complex. Among the highlights is a special fireworks show exploding at dusk on May 27. The Thank God It’s Summer party takes place on Memorial Day itself featuring a live performance by High Fidelity from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Atlanta-based cover band specializes in danceable rock from the ’80s to the chart toppers of today. Admission to LanierWorld includes access to the holiday revelry and the park’s attractions. LanierWorld consists of three sections: Family Fun Park, Big Beach and Sunset Cove. Amenities run the gamut from an array of water slides, carnival rides, a mini golf course and more.

10 a.m.-7 p.m. May 25; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. May 26-27; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 28. $16.99-$34.99; $11.99-$19.99 for those 41-inches tall and shorter; free ages 2 and younger. LanierWorld, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 770-932-7218


Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision at Stone Mountain Park

When the multicolored beams of light start slicing across the night sky above Stone Mountain, it’s a sign of the season. And the extravaganza gets some extra oomph due to the holiday weekend. As a nod to our military veterans, the production includes a special, extended fireworks finale Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. It’s a choreographed musical salute to the men and women who have served and those who continue to serve our country. Folks who fall into those categories and have a valid military ID each score a free Adventure Pass. They can get as much as $10 off per person for immediate family members. Adventure Passes allow guests access to most of the park’s attractions including Sky Hike, the 4-D Theater, Scenic Railroad and the Geyser Towers, the new water-logged climbing adventure. Don’t forget to flash that ID at the park gift shops and concession stands. Military ID holders receive a 20 percent discount throughout the weekend on most merchandise, food and beverages.

10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. May 26-28; Lasershow Spectacular: 9:30 p.m May 26-28. Adventure Pass: $28; $22 ages 3-11; free ages 2 and younger. Family discounts available online. $10 parking per vehicle. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690


Decatur Arts Festival at the Decatur Square

Now in its 24th year the Decatur Arts Festival firmly cements itself as one of the outdoor go-and-do highlights the hip in-town small town has to offer. More than 160 artists sell their work underneath the tents in the artists market, which sprawls on and around the Decatur Square. Ceramics, paintings, metalwork, woodwork, jewelry, photography and sculpture are just a smidgen of what visitors can find. Organize your shopping plan of attack early by visiting the fest’s website. Go to the Events section and select Artists Market. Each artist and their booth number is listed underneath his or her respective category. Grab a festival map when you arrive and then visit the booths on your hit list. As you shop, be it traditional or window style, you’ll have music in the background. More than 10 acts perform on the Community Bandstand throughout the two days. Don’t miss the Shadowboxers at 4 p.m. on Saturday. This R&B, rock and soul hybrid opened up for The Indigo Girls on its 2011 summer tour. Other acts include the all-female drumming group ConunDrums, Larkin Poe and The Bonaventure Quartet. Aussie ax man Geoff Achison and the Soul Diggers bring the blues at 4 p.m. Sunday. Organizers suggest riding MARTA to the festival. Those who bike to the event score free parking with a special bike valet service.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 26; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. May 27. Free. E. Court Square and E. Ponce De Leon Avenue, Decatur. 404-371-9583


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