1. Because the state of Georgia has extra horny bees and flowers and whatever it is that makes pollen go ape-shit, take a Claritin before you decide to venture out. As a matter of fact, take one the night before.
2. Come out early to find parking along 1oth-14th Street or expect to pay a hefty $11.00 to park in a parking deck nearby. Oh, and traffic is the worst in the area during the Dogwood Festival.
3. Do not be fooled; while the Dogwood Festival does boast a lot of interesting folk art to buy, save your money--save your money for the tempting festival food stands that line the park throughout--the art is generally over-priced crap. I mean, how much do you really need a flying pig made out of an old propane gas tank to hang in your yard for $500.00?
4. Related to #2, it is much more fun and MUCH cheaper to walk around making fun of the "art" than actually buying it.
5. Now, as tempting as it looks to chow down on a huge, cured turkey leg after a long day walking around in the sun, DON'T. It's $10 bucks and it's WAY too salty and you won't even want to finish it. Learn from my mistake.
6. You think you want funnel cake, but after paying $6.00 for it and only eating 2-3 bitefuls, trust me, you're going to want to take the rest of it and pawn it off for $4 bucks to someone else. YOU CANNOT FINISH IT and you certainly don't want to carry around that plate until it falls through from all the grease that is weighing down on it. Just leave the wonderful taste of overly sweet festival funnel cake to your childhood memories where they belong.
7. DO get a nice, cold margarita on the rocks. Maybe two, but any more and you might kid yourself into buying an elaborate, ostentatious cutting board you don't need.
8. If you have a date, bring a blanket. In the evening, a huge screen and projector is set up in the park for some romantic, under-the-stars movie-going experience for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully they'll play Psycho again and you'll get extra lucky.
9. Grab all of the freebies! Except a freshly brewed cup of Folger's coffee... Tempting? Yes. Smart? No. It gets really hot in ATL, even in the spring, and a hot cup of coffee won't help you cool off.
10. If you have children, be sure to bring a cooler filled with food and drink. I saw a mom with 3 kids and she probably dropped a cool $40 bucks buying them various extremely unhealthy (deep-fried Snickers, anyone?) festival fare that would normally cost $10 bucks total elsewhere. And this doesn't even include the insane face paint I saw on each of them and the crazy, crafted hair-do's two of the girls were sporting.
11. No one really comes for the Dogwood tree blossoms. I didn't see a single one. I don't even know if they really have them around or not. Don't look for them.
Next up, the Twilight Criterium in Athens maybe?