Your State Parks Day and Ice Cream Social at Panola Mountain

Your State Parks Day at Panola Mountain State ParkJoin over three-hundred volunteers and help improve local greenspaces during one of the largest volunteer events in Metro Atlanta. To celebrate Your State Parks Day and National Public Lands Day several impactful volunteer events have been scheduled including planting native wildflowers, cleaning up riverbanks and removing harmful invasive plants from sensitive habitat.

Volunteers can help in two beautiful locations. At Panola Mountain State Park volunteers will plant native wildflowers and help restore native habitat. Afterwards, they will be treated to a picnic lunch and commemorative tee-shirt courtesy of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. They can also enjoy yard games and ice cream. Becky Kelley, Director of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites said, “Volunteers have enormous impact on the health and well-being of parks and bring these unique places into the hearts of the community.” At Wade-Walker Park a massive cleanup will be followed by a family fun day. Both locations will work on volunteer projects from 9 AM to noon and celebrate from noon to 2 PM.

This event was created through a new coalition of nonprofits including the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Park Pride and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. However, the seeds for this volunteer bonanza were planted when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a public-private partnership aimed at recruiting one million volunteers for public lands. “Magnificent landscapes and our strong volunteer ethic are part of what make America so special and unique,” Secretary Jewell said.

Group and individual RSVPs are still being accepted and everyone is encouraged to give back during this national day of service! Register for Panola Mountain State Park here or Wade-Walker Park here.

Follow the event live on Facebook and Twitter with hashtags #Yvolunteer and #MoveMountains!

If you can’t make it to Panola Mountain State Park or Wade-Walker Park, you’re sure to find a Your State Parks Day event near you!

Kimberly EstepWhen not putting her savvy communication skills to use at the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Kimberly Estep can most often be found wandering over hiking trails with her two dogs.  Most of all, Kimberly loves sharing her knowledge of the hidden gems of Georgia with anyone who will listen.

Petit Le Mans Drifts into Road Atlanta

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

The 18th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda roars into action September 30 through October 3 at Road Atlanta. Before you go, here’s what you need to know:

Getting There
Location – Road Atlanta is located in Braselton, Georgia – easily accessed by I-985 or I-85 via the Highway 53 exit.

Parking – There is infield parking for $50 or, for free, you can park across the street and ride the shuttle between the track and the parking lot.

Schedule of Events
The 10-hour sportscar endurance championship race is on October 3. The other three days will showcase practices, qualifying and races for four additional feature series. Check out the full schedule here.

Who’s Racing?
Plenty of professional drivers competing in the race live locally. Bryan Sellers, Spencer Pumpelly, Andy Lally and Sean Rayhall will seek to be first past the checkered flag in front of their home crowd!

Where to Watch
Turn 1 Park your RV, car or camping chairs outside Turn 1 to watch all of pitlane, the front straight and up into Turn 1.

Turn 3 – This is a great location to make new friends while standing along the fence watching down into the famous Road Atlanta esses.

Spectator Hill – The most famous of Road Atlanta viewing locations, you can bring a picnic or choose food options from vendors and watch the action while sitting in the grass overlooking the esses.

Turn 7 – This is a great place to see cars try and close the gaps in Turns 6 and 7 as they shift through two technical corners before shooting down one of the longest straightaways in motorsports.

The Bowl – With terrace-style seating, this is another convenient location to watch great racing. Spectators can see down into Turns 9, 10a and 10b and under the Patron Bridge, all while being in close proximity to Vendor Village.

Paddock – Watch the hustle and bustle of teams bringing cars back to their transporters for repair. Lots of action on this side!

Pre-Race at Petit Le Mans

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

Kids enter for free – All kids 12 and under are admitted for free with a ticketed adult!

Vendor Village – Fans can purchase food, drinks and plenty of souvenirs, and see displays from top manufacturers and the series.

Open paddock – The paddock is always free and open to fans. You can get up close and personal with the teams, cars and drivers.

Grid walk – Before the start of the race, fans can walk among their favorite cars and drivers immediately prior to the field taking the green flag.

Autograph session – Fans can take pictures and get autographs from their favorite drivers on Friday.

Petit Pit Stop – Families can bring their kids to get faces painted and play in the kids zone.

Picnic – With 750 acres of park-like green space, there’s plenty of room to find shade or sunshine and enjoy a snack.

Camping – With reserved and walk-up options, there’s plenty of space for all spectators to get a great view from their campsite.

Car corrals – See plenty of eye candy from your favorite manufacturers at Petit Le Mans.

Night practice and night racing – Fans can see the cars racing under the stars on Thursday night and once the sun goes down on Saturday night for the big finale.

Race Night at Petit Le Mans

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

Visitors can grab food in the Vendor Village, or you can bring your own. However, while alcohol will be on sale at the track, it cannot be brought into the venue.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance. Check online for ticket prices.

5 Things Everyone Attending TomorrowWorld Needs to Know

The Gathering | TomorrowWorld 2015

Photo courtesy of Joe Silberzweig, TomorrowWorld

You don’t have to rent a car. If you’re flying into Atlanta for TomorrowWorld, you won’t have to rent a car or worry about dealing with public transportation to the TomorrowWorld site (about 20 minutes from the airport) because there are quick, convenient TomorrowWorld specific shuttles. Get your shuttle pass in advance to ensure they have a space for you here.

You don’t need to bring cash. There’s no need to worry about bringing cash to TomorrowWorld. Your TomorrowWorld Bracelet serves as your entry ticket to the festival and Dreamworld plus it’s the only form of payment accepted inside TomorrowWorld. You can load your bracelet before you go or at Top Up stations throughout the event.

You can store your stuff and charge your devices all at once. Want to keep your possessions safe while you party? Both TomorrowWorld and Dreamworld will have lockers for your convenience. Also, each locker has a charging device inside that is compatible with most major devices.

TomorrowWorld isn’t just about the music. It’s the full event experience that makes the festival unique. Don’t miss spin class, yoga, a full body workout incorporating EDM called Bass Bodies, meditation, pilates, speed dating and more!

House of Books | TomorrowWorld 2015

Photo courtesy of Joe Silberzweig, TomorrowWorld

It’s a great excuse to Explore Georgia. TomorrowWorld is in Chattahoochee Hills, about 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta, home of the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Very close to the event location is Serenbe, a live/work/play community focused on sustainable country living. You can tour their farm, go for a horseback ride or indulge in their regular wine and beer tastings. Their local restaurants, The Farmhouse and The Hil, are worth making a reservation for.

Just minutes away from Chattahoochee Hills is Historic Banning Mills where you can zipline on the World’s Longest Zipline, drop down the 100-foot power free fall and watch a birds of prey show.

Also close is the town of Senoia where The Walking Dead is filmed. Tours of filming locations are regularly offered. In the same town, TV host Rutledge Wood’s parents have a restaurant, Katie Lou’s Café where he can be often found when he’s in town, and musician Zac Brown owns Southern Ground Social Club.

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.

September in Savannah

Savannah Bacon Fest

Bacon Fest | Photo courtesy of the Savannah Waterfront Association

September in Savannah is filled with festivals and fun. Every weekend there’s a new reason to explore one of the state’s most historic cities!

Bacon Fest – Rousakis Riverfront Plaza plays home to the second annual edition of the popular pork-filled festival on September 4-5, 2015. While you’re in town for the festival, be sure to check out some of Savannah’s great breakfast locations where you can get bacon like Henry’s on Drayton Street.

Savannah Craft Brew Fest – On September 5 200 different beers from 68 different breweries are able to be tasted during the annual event. While you’re in town for the Craft Brew Fest, be sure to check out some of the city’s local breweries like Moon River Brewing CompanyService Brewing Co. and Southbound Brewing Company.

Savannah Craft Brew Fest

Savannah Craft Brew Fest

Tybee Island Beach Bash – Though not properly in Savannah, if you’re in town you won’t want to miss the kid-friendly event featuring live music during the day and fireworks at dusk. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beach and pier scene at sunset.

Savannah Pride Festival – On September 12, everyone is invited to celebrate the diversity of the city during the annual Savannah Pride Celebration in Forsyth Park.

Savannah International Food and Wine Tasting – This September 13 event features 50+ wines and dishes from nearly 20 of the city’s most beloved restaurants with proceeds benefiting Meals on Wheels.

Coastal Arts Fair – The first edition of this Tybee Island festival kicks off September 26 in Memorial Park. Artists from across the Southeastern U.S. will be showcasing their work. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out local artists’ work at galleries in City Market in downtown Savannah or at Art by the Sea on Tybee Island.

2013 Savannah Jazz Festival in Forsyth Park

Savannah Jazz Festival | Photo courtesy of the Coastal Jazz Association

Savannah Jazz Festival – For eight days, September 20-27, individuals and families are invited to listen to the sounds of the festival, all for free! While you’re in town, be sure to check out Savannah’s nightlife when live acts play in local clubs and bars around town.

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.

Labor Day Outdoors!

Labor Day Weekend is coming up quick. Make your plans for the last blast of summer! Here are some ways to enjoy the outdoors September 5-7.

Labor Day Paddle at SweetwaterThe beautiful blazing colors of fall are almost upon us. Get ready to experience the seasonal change in a brand new way by learning to kayak! Imagine taking in the breathtaking scene of trees topped with brilliant golds and reds reflected along the banks of lakes and rivers. Sweetwater Creek State Park offers the perfect chance to prepare with Introduction to Kayaking Classes this Labor Day Weekend. Women, join qualified instructors on Sunday, September 6 or join the co-ed class on Monday, September 7. Reservations are required: 770-732-5871

Biking & Blading
Labor Day on the Silver Comet TrailHead to Rockmart to ride the Silver Comet Trail with Georgia’s Rails Into Trails Society. This annual Labor Day event brings cyclists, runners and rollerbladers together to celebrate the multi-use paved trail. Several options for participating include 13 miles to Brushy Mountain Tunnel, 27 miles to Cedartown, and a 62-mile ride to the Georgia-Alabama state line. Register online or on-site.

Labor Day Camping at Stone MountainMake camp near Stone Mountain Park‘s tranquil lake and enjoy the last blast of summer this Labor Day Weekend! Spend the day exploring the 5-mile Cherokee Trail, enjoying the view from the top, and playing with the kids on the Crossroads attractions. When night falls, relax on Memorial Lawn for the special Labor Day Lasershow Spectacular.

Labor Day Hiking at Tallulah GorgeJoin the Canyon Climbers Club at Tallulah Gorge to enjoy the last swim of summer near Bridal Veil Falls. This is a strenuous trek that takes hikers from the overlooks deep into the gorge. Along the way, hikers encounter a suspension bridge, river crossings and new hiking friends. The 3.5-mile hike takes most of the day, so pack some snacks and wear sturdy shoes! Space is limited, so register in advance for one of the hikes happening Labor Day Weekend. Sept 5, 6, and 7. 706-754-7981

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.