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Sipping at Summerfest

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The cover of Atlanta Intown’s Summerfest 2001 special section. (Illustration by Mark Addison Kershaw.)

One of my favorite events in Atlanta each year is the Summerfest arts and crafts festival in Virginia-Highland the first weekend in June. It’s where I had my first, and only tattoo experience. But don’t ask to see it. I wasn’t on the receiving end. No, I was giving them. To complete strangers.

I was editor of the Atlanta Intown newspapers and we had a booth at Summerfest in 2000. Our publisher, Chris Schroder, had the inspired (?) idea to have tattoos made of our logo, which we would use to brand everyone at the festival.  Armed with stacks of small paper-backed tattoos and squirt bottles, we accosted strangers with this charming request, “Hey wanna tattoo?”

We got a few strange looks, several outright rejections, bemused smiles and one woman who gasped and said, “No way. I’m single and I want to meet a nice guy.” But a lot of people got into the spirit of it and allowed us to press, spray and peel, leaving them an Atlanta Intown tattoo on their chosen body part.

Our Summerfest usually start outs Friday night at Murphy’s restaurant.  Every year Murphy’s hosts a spectacular wine sale in tents in its parking lot at the corner of Virginia and North Highland, right at the end of the festival, which takes place along Virginia Avenue. Murphy’s has added a VIP Reserve Wine Tasting Friday night as well, with two tents – one for domestic and one for international. We love to enjoy our share of several different wines while enjoying their yummy appetizers and desserts.

While sipping some pinot, we’ll be able to catch some of the neighborhood parade, which usually kicks off at Ace Intown Hardware at 7:00 pm. The fun continues through the weekend with a 5k race, an acoustic street party, more than 200 artists’ booths, live musicand kids’ activities.

We love checking out all the crafts in the artists’ booths and bought one of our favorite items there – a giant wooden bowl large enough to bathe a small child in. We use it to make salads in for large family gatherings, while every other day of the year it sits in our home and holds our mail.

Admission to Summerfest is free but donations to the Virginia-Highland Civic Association are appreciated.

* By we I mean me and Chris Schroder, whom I married five years after he forced me to apply tattoos to total strangers. I have no explanation.

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