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Your Guide to Fall Fun

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From pumpkin patches and apple orchards to fall festivals and Halloween events.

It’s that time of year. Pumpkin spice wafts through the air, which is blowing in as crisp as a newly picked apple. The season invites everyone to get outside and enjoy the cool weather before winter sets in.

There is plenty to see and do this autumn. Here’s a list of some of the top events happening around the Peachtree Corners area over the next few months.

Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes

Immerse yourself in pumpkins and pick your way through the corn fields. Plenty of places make it easy to do one or both.

Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Peachtree Corners will sprout a Pumpkin Patch, Oct. 9-31, where everyone can choose among a variety of pumpkins and gourds. It’s open Monday to Thursday, 12-7 p.m.; Friday, 12-8 p.m.; and weekends, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Story time is held there Saturday mornings at 11 a.m.

The church will also host a Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat on Sunday, Oct. 23 starting at 4 p.m. Check out MtCarmel-umc.org or facebook.com/MtCarmelUMC to get details.

Peachtree Farm in Peachtree Corners has planned a Tailgate for Tomatoes event for Saturday, Oct. 22, 2-5 p.m., that features a pumpkin patch and pumpkin chunkin’. There will also be food, an artisan and plant sale and college football watching. Admission is free. Find more info and a place to register at peachtreefarm.org.

Kids are kept busy at the Buford Corn Maze. The maze, course, is a highlight, but so is the Haunted Forest. There’s more — pony rides, hayrides, animals to visit, a pumpkin patch and the Barnyard Grill. The Haunted Forest runs through Sunday, Nov. 6 and the Corn Maze is open through Sunday, Nov. 13. Tickets are $16 for the maze and $16 for the forest; combo tickets are available at $28. Check hours and more info at bufordcornmaze.com.

In Lawrenceville, Randy’s Pumpkin Patch has an inflatable corn maze, carnival games, pony rides, bungee jump, train ride and lots more to do. The fun continues through Oct. 31; it’s open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5 and ages 15 and under are free with a paid adult. The rides require tickets, which are $1 each or 25 for $20. There are details at randyspumpkinpatch.com. A few more pumpkin patches that feature corn mazes are within driving distance. Warbington Farms in Cumming, warbingtonfarms.com, is open through Nov. 5 and offers a spooky experience for visitors who opt to do the Flashlight Corn Maze at night. In Holly Springs, Cagle’s Farm, caglesfarm.com, has fun that runs through Oct. 30 with bonfires, wagon rides and an animal barnyard as well as an Apple Cart that sells apple cider and caramel apples.

Apple Orchards

Head a bit further north to get the season’s tastiest treats — fresh, crispy apples. There’s a well-loved festival and lots of orchards up that way.

The 2022 Apple Festival in Ellijay runs for two weekends, Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 15-16 at the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds. Of course, the festival features apple-based foods, drinks and crafts. Other highlights include a parade, antique car show and more than 300 vendors offering a variety of handmade items.

Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 per person; children 12 and under are free. Go to georgiaapplefestival.org for additional info.

In the Ellijay area, local orchards invite families to come in and do their own apple picking. Pluck the fruit right off the tree or stop by their markets and choose from freshly made selections that include jams, pies, ciders and apple cider doughnuts.

Below are three of the most popular orchards, but you’re likely to come across others that are less well known but just as wonderful.

B.J. Reece Orchard, reeceorchards.com, has farm-fun activities on Saturdays and Sundays and is known for their fried pies. At Hillcrest Orchards, hillcrestorchards.net, visitors can pick apples and enjoy the petting zoo and playground, among other activities. There’s apple picking and a pumpkin patch at Red Apple Barn, redapplebarn.com, as well as a market stocked with goodies.

Fall and Harvest Festivals

Hayrides, scarecrows and…vintage German cars? Festivals abound this fall so everyone can find something that interests and excites them.

Take a trip to the farm on Saturday, Oct. 15, 12-4 p.m., at Harvest Homecoming in Duluth’s McDaniel Farm Park. Admission is free to partake in crafts, old-time games, farm tours, hayrides and s’mores. Visit GwinettParks.com to find details.

The 2022 Trick or Treat Trot Family Fall Festival & 5K, hosted by Easterseals North Georgia, is set for Saturday, Oct. 15 at Thrasher Park in Norcross. The race has a $30 registration fee and starts at 8 a.m. The Fall Festival continues the fun, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with food, music, costumes and more. Visit trickortreattrot.com to learn more and sign up.

For something completely different, consider dropping in at Stone Mountain Park for the Highland Games and Scottish Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16. There will be kilts and tartans, pipe and drum music, and food and drink as the clans go head-to-head in music, dance and athletic competitions. Get the whole story at smhg.org.

Head over to Best Friend Park in Norcross on Saturday, Oct. 29. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the park will be alive with music, a parade, food and crafts to honor loved ones who have passed on. The Dia de Los Muertos celebration is free, and more info can be found at GwinettParks.com or by calling 678-277-0222.

There will be 250 classic German automobiles — BMWs, Audis, Porsches, Mercedes Benzes and more — on display at the Deutsche Klassic Autoberfest in Downtown Norcross Saturday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It’s free to enter and activities are planned for kids of all ages, polka music, German food and beer. Go to norcrossga.net or deutsche-klassic.com to find out more.

If you want to experience a more classic Oktoberfest, head to Helen, where visitors can celebrate all things German with dancing, music, food and, of course, beer. The festival is held in the riverside Festhalle, with revelers dressed in lederhosen and dirndls as they dance the polka.

The party starts in September and runs through Oct. 30, starting at 6 p.m. through the week and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s open to all ages. Admission is $8 during the week, $10 on Saturdays and free on Sundays. Get the important info on the Helen Chamber site, helenchamber.com.

The Father’s House Church in Peachtree Corners has planned Harvest Fest 2022 for Monday, Oct. 31 in celebration of the season’s beauty with free food, games and treats for the whole family. Hayrides and a bouncy house round out the day of fun.

Also, mark your calendar for December 17 and 18 when the church will present Christmas: Now, Then and Forever! with songs, dances, live music and poetry. Visit TheFathersHouseatl.org or facebook.com/fathershouseatlanta for more.

The Cumming County Fair and Festival brings carnival food, amusement rides, live music and entertainment to the Cumming Fairgrounds Oct. 6-16. Admission is $10 for ages 11 and up, free for kids 10 and under. Get hours of operation and other details at cummingfair.squarespace.com.

If you want more autumnal celebration, there’s the Snellville Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 22, 12-6 p.m. on the Snellville Town Green. There’ll be music, plenty of food, arts and craft vendors and costume contests. A $15 all-day activity band lets visitors enjoy multiple inflatables, a rock wall, gaming bus, nine-hole mini golf and more. Visit experiencesnellville.com/snellville-fall-festival for additional info.

Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Scarecrows in the Garden showcases dozens of scarecrows created by local artists, crafters and youth groups. It kicks off Oct. 1 and continues through Oct. 30. The toddler-friendly Goblins in the Garden is set for Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. These events are free with garden admission. Click on the calendar at AtlantaBG.org for info.

If you really like scarecrows, you can view a more than 150 for free in Downtown Alpharetta during Scarecrow Harvest, Oct. 3 through Nov. 1.

Trick or Treat and Other Halloween Events

Although Halloween is celebrated on Oct. 31, there are ghosts, witches and other creatures haunting the area for several weeks around the end of the month. Several places welcome them in and even find ways to entertain them.

Kids are invited to trick or treat during Train or Treat at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth on Saturday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The day includes music and a costume contest for ages 12 and under. The event is free with museum admission.

The museum also has a few special events in November. On Nov. 13, there’ll be Holiday Decorating from 1-5 p.m., and Santa Arrives on Nov. 19, 1 p.m. You’ll want to get advance tickets for that. Learn more at train-museum.org.

The Spooktacular Skate Party on Friday, Oct. 21, 6-8 p.m.,is an evening of spooky fun for kids aged 5-18 (and their parents/guardians) at Pinckneyville Park in Norcross. Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume and bring skates and a bag to hold candy. The entry cost of $5 covers games, crafts and a costume contest. For more info, visit GwinettParks.com or call 678-277-0920.

Boo at the Zoo gives the little ones an opportunity to dress up and have fun. The Halloween festival, held at ZooAtlanta on Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., is filled with whimsical characters, yummy treats and a chance to meet animals from around the world. Boo at the Zoo is free with general admission. The Events page at ZooAtlanta.org is the place for more information.

Fernbank Museum’s annual Dino Trick or Treat will be held Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Visitors should wear costumes and expect treats. Also plan to visit the museum on Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., for Creepy Crawlies, an event that spotlights creepy animals and spooky crafts. The event is free with general admission. Click on the calendar at FernbankMuseum.org for further info.

Ghost Tours and Haunted Houses

How about a ghost tour? It’s a great way to get in the Halloween spirit. Sometimes the goblins move around and other times, they stay put in haunted houses and other spooky spots.

Lawless Spirits is a walking ghost tour guided by costumed characters. Courtesy of Lionheart Theatre, it runs Oct. 13-16 with two shows per night, 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Audience members will walk through the streets of Norcross while being regaled with stories about local ghosts, murders and bank robberies. Tickets run $15 per person and can be purchased at lionhearttheatre.org.

A local favorite is the Decatur Ghost Tour. The tour is available year-round, but this is the best season to catch it. It’s an after-dark walking tour that meets up in downtown Decatur and meanders through the streets with several stops that have seen paranormal activity. Adults and children are led by a psychic and paranormal investigator. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for kids aged 10 and under. DecaturGhostTour.com is the site for more info.

If you’re willing to venture further into the city, try Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. After dark, Oct. 20-30, costumed docents guide visitors through cemetery and tell stories of notable and notorious residents. There’s also a Haunted Hunt Scavenger Hunt that runs Oct. 1-31. Tickets are $42 for adults, $30 for kids 4-12 and free for children under 4. Details and tickets can be found on the Events page at OaklandCemetery.com.

Duluth High School’s Wildcat Theatre has been magically altered. On Saturday, Oct. 15, 4-6 p.m., little folk are welcomed to tour the Enchanted Theatre. After dark, there’ll be a transformation, and 6:30-9 p.m., it becomes a Haunted Theatre for older kids. Find out more at duluththeatre.weebly.com.

Everyone knows that Six Flags Over Georgia is home to thrills for all. Through Oct. 31, during the day, families can get into the Halloween mood with the Kids Boo Fest. At night, however, Fright Fest calls forth ghosts and ghouls that terrify even the stout-hearted. Additional info, including ticket pricing, is at SixFlags.com/overgeorgia.

Of course, Netherworld Haunted House is arguably the area’s most popular fright experience. It runs through Nov. 12 at its Stone Mountain location. The haunted house, known for its terrifying special effects and live actors, is recommended for adults and teens. Go to fearworld.com for details and tickets. Also check out the Netherworld Escape Room; learn about it at EscapeTheNetherworld.com.

Halloween Shows

You can always stream your favorite scary film classics, like “Nightmare Before Christmas,” but it can be more fun to participate in some of the live Halloween-themed entertainment in the area.

Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners presents Legend of Sleepy Hollow, based on the classic gothic tale by Washington Irving. This outdoor immersion experience will be held at the Cross Country Trails at the Hoyt Family Athletic Complex Oct. 20-22. Find more info at wesleyanschool.org/arts/drama.

The classic camp film Rocky Horror Picture Show will have two showings on Saturday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth. Admission is free and first come, first served. This is for mature audiences only — ages 18+ — and not for the easily offended. Audience participation is encouraged, and free prop kits will be provided. If you want to know more, go to duluthga.net/community/rocky_horror_picture_show.php.

Here’s another one for the older crowd. One Stop Norcross will host a Date Night Mystery, complete with femme fatales and crooked detectives, on Saturday, Nov. 5, 6-8:30 p.m. Adults 18 and up will enjoy a meal and murder mystery game for a $20 admission fee. Uncover more info at GwinettParks.com or by calling 678-225-5400.

No matter what you enjoy — dinner and a show, carnival rides, communing with nature — fall is the perfect time to get out there and do it. You may even want to try something new.

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Titanic: An Immersive Voyage To Set Sail On 30-market World Tour

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Images courtesy of Titanic: An Immersive Voyage

Exhibition Hub in partnership with Fever and a collaborative of Titanic collectors announced today the launch of its latest exhibition Titanic: An Immersive Voyage.

The companies also announced that Milan, Italy and Atlanta, Georgia have been selected as the initial host cities for the next generation experience. Titanic: An Immersive Voyage is scheduled to open in Atlanta on Friday, July 19.

Titanic: An Immersive Voyage will feature more than 300 artifacts from Titanic and its sister vessels the Olympic and the Britannic, as well as objects from Carpathia and Californian, two additional ships key to Titanic’s story.

Items to be showcased in the experience were curated from multiple collections including treasures from Kevin Saucier, the owner of one of the largest private collections of Titanic memorabilia in the world. Priceless artifacts from the collection of Spencer Knarr will also be featured in the all-new Titanic experience. Mr. Knarr started his collection at the age of 12.

“Titanic is the most enchanting ship of all time and is revered by many as an iconic gem,” said John Zaller, Executive Producer at Exhibition Hub. “We’re delighted to tell this immortal story in our signature humanistic and immersive style, and to share it with guests around the world. We could not be more appreciative of the collectors who have joined us on this journey.” 

Titanic: An Immersive Voyage represents an entirely new approach to the story of the world’s most famous ocean liner. The experience features more than 300 artifacts, and dramatic room re-creations from the ship, along with advanced theatrical techniques and breathtaking technological overlays that place guests inside the story of the celebrated Titanic.

“Titanic: An Immersive Voyage engages the Titanic story like never before,” said Zaller. “Our expertise in exhibition design and immersive storytelling creates an unforgettable emotional connection to Titanic.”

“The mold for a Titanic exhibition was in need of a refresh,” said Mr. Knarr. “And, Exhibition Hub, with its success in creating immersive experiences, was just the company to do it. I’m really excited to have been invited to participate.”

Knarr’s fellow collector echoed those sentiments.

“One meeting with John Zaller and Exhibition Hub was a lock,” said. Mr. Saucier. “It’s a great way to break away from the traditional exhibit case and create a worldwide touring show. There are collectors who keep their treasures hidden and there are those of us that want to share with the world.”

Titanic: An Immersive Voyage uses cutting-edge storytelling technology to create a powerful emotional connection between visitors and those 2,200 souls onboard. The experience also features hands-on activities, in-depth learning opportunities, projection mapping, a detailed audio tour, educational materials, a special selfie zone, a unique green-screen photo opportunity and an expansive retail store with items from Titanic and her sister ships for sale.

More Information – The waitlist for tickets is now open and tickets will officially go on sale on June 17.  Visit expo-titanic.com/atlanta to join the list.

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Sneak Peek at The Westin at The Gas South District

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The 348-room, 11-story hotel opens March 21

The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett is eagerly counting down to its grand opening this week on March 21st, marking a significant milestone as the hotel prepares to redefine hospitality in Gwinnett County. Located in the dynamic Gas South District, this cutting-edge 11-story hotel features 348 rooms and over 27,000 square feet of flexible event space across 14 rooms. As part of Concord Hospitality’s portfolio, the establishment is poised to become a game-changer in the area, offering unparalleled service and amenities.

General Manager Mark Castriota, with Russell Stewart, Sales and Marketing

Under the leadership of General Manager Mark Castriota, with Russell Stewart steering the Sales and Marketing efforts, the hotel is set for a successful launch. General Manager Mark Castriota expressed excitement about the imminent opening. He lauded the dedication and hard work that has paved the way for this moment. Castriota emphasized the hotel’s commitment to providing unmatched hospitality experiences in Gwinnett County. The Westin aspires to fill the hotel with skilled individuals who deliver The Westin’s signature quality service to all guests.

The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett is more than just a place to stay; it’s a retreat for wellness and relaxation. The property boasts signature wellness initiatives, sleep-enhancing features, and breathtaking floor-to-ceiling windows. Modern conveniences are standard in every room and suite, including high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch smart TVs, ergonomic workstations, and mini-fridges.

One of the hotel’s highlights is its rooftop bar, Overstory, which offers stunning 360-degree views of North Georgia. Here, guests can enjoy locally brewed beer, a nod to the hotel’s commitment to supporting local businesses. Additionally, the hotel will feature SweetSong Kitchen & Bar, a full-service restaurant that emphasizes locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.

A unique architectural feature of The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett is its 25 preset lighting configurations. It can be adjusted to reflect various events and holidays, adding a vibrant and dynamic touch to the hotel’s facade. This, along with amenities like a full-service Starbucks, an indoor pool, and the Westin WORKOUT Fitness Studios, ensures guests have everything they need for a rejuvenating stay.

The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett is set to become a cornerstone of luxury and wellness in Gwinnett County, inviting visitors to experience a new level of hospitality.

A more in-depth feature will appear in Southwest Gwinnett magazine May/June issue.

Photos by Bruce Johnson

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Broadway Director Joins Production of Beauty and the Beast in Sandy Springs

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City Springs Theatre Company brings the legendary Broadway musical, Beauty and the Beast to Sandy Springs from March 8 to 24.
Exterior of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center

City Springs Theatre Company (CSTC) brings the legendary Broadway musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to metro Atlanta with performances from March 8 through 24.

“City Springs Theatre Company is exceptionally proud to bring this modern classic to Atlanta audiences this spring,” said Tony Award-winner and Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, who serves as CSTC’s artistic director.

“For three decades now this ‘tale as old as time’ has been delighting audiences of all ages, across the globe. With its colorful characters, dazzling musical numbers (“Be Our Guest”, “Gaston”) and the Oscar-winning title song, Beauty and the Beast promises to be family theatre at its finest,” added Hensley.

Directing and choreographing City Springs Theatre Company’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is renowned Tony Award-recipient Baayork Lee, who has performed in some of Broadway’s biggest musicals.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be performed in the Byers Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, located at 1 Galambos Way in Sandy Springs.

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the most family-friendly show we’ve ever produced, and it’s the perfect outing for groups of any kind looking for a truly memorable theatrical experience,” noted CSTC Executive Director Natalie DeLancey.

Disney’s take on the classic story tells of Belle, an idealistic young woman trapped in a provincial town, and The Beast, who is himself a prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress.

If The Beast can learn to love (and be loved), the curse will end, and he will be transformed back into his former princely self. But time is running out. If The Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast features a book by Linda Woolverton (author of the original animated film’s screenplay), with music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

Performance schedule

Friday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 15 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 22 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 24 at 2:00 p.m.

Cast

Belle – Diane Phelan (Broadway: School of Rock, The King And I, Into The Woods)

The Beast – Christian Magby (TV: “The Flash”)

Mrs. Potts – Candice Song Donehoo (Broadway: The King And I, National Tour: Jekyll and Hyde)

Gaston – Stanley Allyn Owen (National Tour: CATS)

Lumiere – Nick Walker Jones

Cogsworth – Luke Grooms

LeFou – DJ Plunkett (National Tour: Wicked)

Maurice – Russ Williamson

Babette – Maggie McCown

Madame de la Grande Bouche – Grace Choi

Chip – Cece Fields and Michael Wood

Silly Girls – Grace Arnold, Hannah Morrison, Emma X. O’Loughlin

The Ensemble: Ian Blanco, Emmanuel Cologne, Sammy Fossum, David Grindrod, Imani Joseph, Ben Ohnemus, Meaghan Paetkau, Javar La’Trail Parker, Ryley Perry, Zac Pritts, Caitlyn Savage, Wendell Scott, Amanda Fallon Smith

Creative and production teams

Director/Choreographer – Baayork Lee

Associate Choreographer – David Grindrod

Music Director – Griffin Strout

Conductor – Greg Matteson

Lighting Designer – Mike Wood

Sound Designer – Anthony Narcisso

Scenic Designer – Kelly Tighe

Costume Designer – Ryan Moller

Production Stage Manager – Shay Holihan

The production will also feature students from City Springs Theatre Company’s acclaimed pre- professional program, who will appear as additional ensemble members in the show.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is included in current subscriber season packages. Individual tickets (from $38 to $98) are on sale now, with discounts for seniors, students, groups and active and retired military personnel.

Visit www.CitySpringsTheatre.com or call 404-477-4365 for more information. Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by calling the box office at 404-477-4365. Gift cards are also available by calling the box office. CSTC’s Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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