Thursday, February 17, 2011

Atlanta Dogwood Festival Celebrates Local History Circa 1936

Cultural Alliance Partnership With Margaret Mitchell House and Atlanta History Center Celebrates 75th Anniversaries for two of City’s Most Recognized Events

Festival Attendees Get Free Admission at Margaret Mitchell House During Festival Weekend

History comes alive in Atlanta this year as the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gone With the Wind both celebrate 75th anniversaries. The city’s longest-running fine arts festival kicked off in 1936, the same year that Margaret Mitchell’s book was published. In the decades since, Gone With the Wind remains one of the best selling novels of all time, and the Atlanta Dogwood Festival still remains Atlanta’s best loved festival that draws thousands of visitors to Piedmont Park each spring.

On April 19, 1936, Atlanta Dogwood Festival founder Walter Rich of Rich’s department store invited Atlantans and the world to celebrate the blooming of the dogwood trees during a weeklong event. In honor of the first festival, trees were planted throughout the city under the sponsorship of garden clubs and citizens interested in the beautification of the city. The festival included pageants, parades and carnivals sponsored by the Junior League as well as performances by the Metropolitan Opera, the Philadelphia Symphony and choruses from local colleges. Seventy-five years later, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is a three-day event featuring a large juried fine arts market, continuous live music and entertainment, the International Stage, a Kid’s Village, a much-loved disc dog competition, the Friends of Dogwood tasting pavilion and the High School Art Exhibition. In keeping with tradition with the original tradition of beautifying the city, the festival still sells dogwood tree saplings onsite. The 75th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival takes place April 15 through 17.

Just a couple of months after the festival launched, Mitchell’s acclaimed novel was published and within six months broke publishing records by selling one million copies. For the Margaret Mitchell House, the residents of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the Southeast, Gone With the Wind, is especially valued as it tells a story of war and survival highlighting a shared history, the misery of the effects of civil war and its aftermath, and love for one's land as a place of identity and endurance. Worldwide, Mitchell's novel has touched readers and captured imaginations, setting many individuals on a journey to visit Atlanta to walk in Mitchell’s footsteps and experience Scarlett's South.

In joint celebration of their diamond anniversaries, the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House unite with the Atlanta Dogwood Festival as the lead Cultural Alliance Partner. During the festival, attendees can stop by the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House booth for a variety of engaging history and literary activities, such as historical Travel Trunk displays, photo opportunities, a never-ending story game, enriching demonstrations, Poetry Out Loud performances, and craft-making activities for all ages. Festival goers can also visit the Margaret Mitchell House and receive free museum admission on April 16 and 17, 2011.

Founded in 1926, the Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive, thirty-three-acre destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum, one of the Southeast’s largest history museums; two historic houses, the 1928 Swan House and the 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; the Kenan Research Center; the Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and acres of Historic Gardens with paths and a kid-friendly discovery trail.

In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House. Located in Midtown Atlanta, the two-acre campus features tours of the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone With the Wind, an exhibition highlighting the life of Margaret Mitchell, a Gone With the Wind movie exhibition, and a museum shop. For information on Atlanta History Center offerings, hours of operation, and admission, call 404.814.4000 or visit

The city’s longest-running festival, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing the annual springtime celebration of arts and entertainment. The 75th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival will take place April 15 – 17, 2011. The festival offices are located at 887 West Marietta Street, Studio S-105, Atlanta, Georgia 30318. The Atlanta Dogwood Festival can be reached at 404-817-6642 or visited online at

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