Georgia Outdoor Blast

OUTDOORSMEN’S WEEKEND FEATURES VENDORS, PRIZES AND KIDS ZONE

Steve Scruggs, Snake Master at Outdoor Blast

Steve Scruggs, Snake Master | Photo courtesy of Georgia Outdoor News

Presented by Georgia Outdoor News and Georgia’s Best Chevy Dealers, Outdoor Blast returns July 24-26 at Gwinnett Center. One of the best shows of the season, this weekend for sportsmen features hundreds of hunting and fishing vendors, prizes, and a kids zone. A strict policy of allowing only outdoor-related products and services prevents the crowd of vacation marketing or flea market booths found at other shows. This is a great opportunity to check out the latest gear for the upcoming season, and book trips with professional outfitters.

This year’s highlights include a massive collection of Georgia’s biggest bucks from 2014, deer scoring for the GON All-Time County-by-County Records, and gun giveaways every hour. Outdoorsmen also compete for a truck in the annual Truck Buck Shootout, and learn to identify venomous snakes with Snakes Alive star Steve Scruggs.

Don’t leave the kids at home! The Blast Kids Zone features a Wipeout sweeper obstacle, kiddie mechanical bull, gun safety and more. Kids can take aim at the BB shooting range and complete a free DNR-certified hunter education course. Best of all, kids under 12 are free!

Location: Gwinnett Center, free parking
Admission: $8/adult, kids 12 and under are free.
Dates: July 24-26, 2015

Outdoor Blast Kids Zone

Outdoor Blast Kids Zone | Photo courtesy of Georgia Outdoor News

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Guide to the BB&T Atlanta Open

GEORGIA SHOWS ITS TENNIS LOVE AT BB&T ATLANTA OPEN

BB&T Atlanta Open

Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

The BB&T Atlanta Open kicks off July 25, 2015 at Atlanta’s Atlantic Station. While you’re there, you should visit the Georgia table and say hey! But before you go, here’s what you need to know:

Getting There
Location: Atlantic Station (Atlanta, GA) is a mixed use live/work/play development situated squarely between typical Midtown and Westside neighborhood boundaries along 17th Street.

Public Transportation: By bus, the No. 37 DeFoors Ferry line will get you to Atlantic Station. By rail, the Atlantic Station Free Ride Shuttle is available to transport guests to and from the Arts Center MARTA Station from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Self- Parking: Atlantic Station offers abundant deck parking with color-coded parking sections for easy vehicle location. The first two hours of parking are free. Click here to see the full fee schedule. You must pay for parking before returning to your vehicle to exit the parking deck.

Valet Parking: For a fee, there is valet parking available just east of the Target parking deck.

EV Charging: If you’re taking your plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle to the BB&T Atlanta Open, you can charge it at one of Atlantic Station’s numerous charging locations.

Lexus Owners: If you drive your Lexus to the tournament, you’re able to receive complimentary parking in the 20th Street parking lot at the north end of Atlantic Station. Care to valet? Lexus drivers are eligible for reduced $5 valet parking.

Schedule of Events:
To see the full daily schedule of matches, click here.

John Isner

2-Time Defending Champion, UGA Grad John Isner | Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

Who’s Playing:
You’ll hear names you’ll recognize from this year’s Wimbledon tournament like Vasek Pospisil. Crowd favorite Andy Roddick, fresh off covering the tournament for the BBC will play as well longtime pros Mardy Fish and the Bryan brothers (Mike and Bob).

Plus you can watch players with a Georgia connection: Georgia Tech freshman Christopher Eubanks defeated top collegiate tennis players for the wild card spot in the tournament, and UGA grad John Isner will be looking to defend his two consecutive Atlanta Open titles.

Promotions
Kids Go Free – During kids weekend, July 25 and 26, children under 18 years old may attend the day’s matches for free when accompanied by an adult with a ticket. Up to four children can go free per adult ticket.

College Night – College students, with valid ID, can purchase a ticket and get one free on July 28.

Ladies Day – Ladies, enjoy a VIP package that includes an ATP player clinic and lunch at STRIP as part of a daytime event on July 30.

Fireworks & USTA Member Appreciation Day – On July 31, the tournament welcomes USTA members and celebrates their support of the game with a fireworks celebration post-game.

Shopping:
Free T-Shirt – During the length of the tournament, guests can show their BB&T Atlanta Open ticket at any Atlantic Station retailer with a LOVE decal for an exclusive offer. Shoppers who net $150+ in same-day receipts at any Atlantic Station store or restaurant will receive a free LOVE t-shirt when they present their receipts at Concierge.

Bag Check – Shoppers can conveniently drop off their purchases at the pop-up Concierge desk located on Market Street, just across from the tournament entry area, from July 31 to August 2.

Dining:
When you’re at Atlantic Station, be sure to take advantage of their numerous restaurant offerings like Top Chef contestant Roy Eyester owned Diner, meat and seafood restaurant The Pig and the Pearl, local favorite Chick-a-Biddy  and fast-casual Atlanta-born Tin Drum Asia Cafe.

What to Bring:
Don’t forget a small seat cushion, sunscreen (lotion only; aerosol cans are not permitted), a water bottle, a hat, and sunglasses. Backpacks, hard coolers, bottles or cans, weapons, pets, signs/banners, and larger electronic devices like iPads are not permitted. Be sure to check the full list of prohibited items before you leave to attend the tournament.

Tickets:
Ticket prices vary by seat, date and promotion. To see the full ticket cost breakdown, click here. 

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

4 Things to Do at the BB&T Atlanta Open

Georgia loves tennis and, according to BB&T Atlanta Open Tournament Director and Chief Development Officer Eddie Gonzalez, tennis loves Georgia. Last year about 347,000 people played tennis in Atlanta — more than any city in the world! World-class tennis facilities are in the works, as well; Berry College recently broke ground for the Rome Tennis Center of Georgia, which will feature 51 USTA standard courts on a 30-acre site.

BB&T Atlanta Open

Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

This summer, tennis lovers from around the world will convene at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta for the 12th annual BB&T Atlanta Open. The first stop in the Emirates Airline US Open Series is also the only professional tennis tournament in Atlanta. The week-long event will kick off on Saturday, July 25 with a qualifying draw and advance to the championship set for Sunday, August 2, 2015. A few Georgia natives will showcase their talents at the tournament, including Georgia Tech freshman Christopher Eubanks, who defeated top collegiate tennis players for the wild card spot in the tournament. And, be sure to watch for UGA grad and reigning champ John Isner, who will be vying for his third title this year.

Alongside the exhilarating tennis matches, BB&T Atlanta Open and Atlantic Station will offer plenty of activities suited for all ages. After watching your favorite players compete for the prestigious title, stroll around to shops, restaurants and ongoing events throughout the week.

Family Zone presented by Prince – Play like the players do on the free tennis courts available from noon until 7 p.m. during the BB&T Tournament. Tennis balls and racquets will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

Kick-Off Concert with The Commodores – These legends of Motown will take the “Night Shift” on July 25 to kick off the tournament in Atlantic Station. The concert promises to be the perfect start to a week of great entertainment.

Post-Match Concert with LoCash – As if one concert wasn’t enough, this dynamic country duo will perform a post-match concert July 29 at 9 p.m. All ticket holders for the Wednesday night match can enjoy the concert for free. LoCash is known for writing songs for Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and many other well-known country artists. Individual tickets for the tennis match begin at $39, including a round of tennis and the LoCash concert.

Post-Match Fireworks Show – Post-match fireworks will be presented by Coca-Cola after the Friday, July 31 night session.

Did we mention that Atlantic Station will be broadcasting the whole tournament live on the big screen in Central Park? So, get your tickets, head to Atlantic Station (remembering to visit the Explore Georgia table!) and show the world how much Georgia loves tennis!

John Isner

2-Time Defending Champion, UGA Grad John Isner | Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

4 Ways to Taste Georgia-Made Ice Cream

Whether you prefer ice cream, gelato or custard, there’s room for them all as you taste your way around the state.

Honeysuckle Gelato

Photo courtesy of Honeysuckle Gelato

1.)  At a festival. Georgia is home to numerous annual ice cream festivals including the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, Ice Cream Festival at Crooked Pines Farm, Slow Food Atlanta Ice Cream Social, and Miss Mary’s Crankin’ Ice Cream Festival in Roswell.

2.)  From the source. Whether it’s craft ice cream you prefer or a more commercial brand, you can visit the factory when you’re in Georgia. Alton Brown’s preferred brand, High Road Craft, can be found in Marietta while Mayfield Dairy Farms offers tours in Braselton. One of the best parts of visiting High Road Craft is being able to buy their small batch and test flavors that you can’t find anywhere else.

When you’re in Savannah, visit Leopold’s, the classic ice cream parlor seen on the silver screen. They make their flavors in-house and you can’t beat their old time-y atmosphere.

Up in North Georgia, stop by Mountain Fresh Creamery for a sweet treat on your way through the mountains.

And, next time you’re near Fort Valley, plan on heading to Lane Southern Orchards. Their peach ice cream is legendary.

3.)  Where you live/work/play. Vintage Frozen Custard has set up shop at Westside Provisions District offering “premium frozen custard” inside an old fashioned ice cream parlor. Honeysuckle Gelato is set to open their first brick and mortar location inside Ponce City Market later this year. You can also find their gelato at Davio’s inside Phipps Plaza.

4.)  Where you shop. Stop by Georgia’s Whole Foods Market and The Fresh Market locations to find prepackaged ice cream, gelato and custard from Georgia’s vendors.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

2015 Kids Racing Events in Georgia

First, my friend who NEVER runs stunned us all by running two marathons in one weekend. Then I learned about the IronKids Alpharetta event coming to our part of town in September. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Should our family expand our hiking adventures into the running realm?

IronKids Alpharetta

IronKids Alpharetta | Photo courtesy of Alpharetta CVB

I asked a few friends who run (and whose kids run) to give me their thoughts. I think the best advice I received was to start with the tot trot, move to the family one-mile run, and then branch out from there as their skillset and desire expands (keeping a jogging stroller at hand.)

It seems that some kids go at it full gusto without much prep. One kiddo reported that he wanted to train better for the next event though, because the medals looked so cool! A common theme during my unofficial interviewing? When kids are doing this for themselves it’s a confidence booster and an ideal way to show them true heart in organized sports.

If your kids are anxious to try their hand at a racing event, this sample list of triathlons and runs around the state will get you started. You won’t see us at any triathlon events this year, but maybe we’ll wave as you pass us on the next family fun run!

July 18
Clarkesville – Chopped Oak Triathlon

July 25
Dalton – Run for God – Dalton Parks Triathlon
Kennesaw – Georgia State Games Championship Run

August 8
Marietta – East Cobb Sprint, Super Sprint and Kids Triathlon
Columbus – Y Kids Tri – Youth Triathlon

Aug 22
Flowery Branch – KidFit & Adult Fit Triathlon

Aug 23
Norcross – 2015 Atlanta Kids Triathlon

Sept 13
Dawsonville – Bootlegger Super Sprint Triathlon

Sept 19
Alpharetta – IronKids Alpharetta
Rome – Roman Rumble 5k and 2 mile Health Walk

Sept 20
Rome – RACE Rome Youth Triathlon

Nov 26
Atlanta – Atlanta Half Marathon & Thanksgiving Day 5K

Dec 12
Atlanta – Jeff Galloway Race Weekend 5K and Kids Run

Strong4Life Super Hero Event

Strong4Life Super Hero Event

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.