By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

One of the crowd-pleasers each year at the Sandy Springs Festival has been the Kiwanis Pet Parade, featuring family pets all dolled up by their owners.

It is visual and it’s fun. But if you don’t get to the festival by 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, you likely will miss the experience.

Don’t despair. There will be many elements to stimulate the senses during the two-day, 25th-anniversary Sandy Springs Festival, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 26.

Features of the festival include the Doug Kessler Lightning 5K/10K race, a juried artists market, a business and civic expo, a children’s park, the Porsche Cars North America Collector Car Show, the Kiwanis Pet Parade, Heritage Crafters, live entertainment, the Optech food court, the Whole Foods Heritage Hhomegrown Market, a Saint Joseph’s Hospital health and wellness area, and more.

The festival is held in the area surrounding Heritage Green, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, which is next to City Walk. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Single-day tickets for adults (18 or older) cost $5. For youths (ages 6-17), tickets cost $2. A two-day pass for adults costs $7, or $3 for youths. Heritage Sandy Springs members receive free passes, and children age 5 and younger are admitted free.

The Sandy Springs Festival is the primary fund-raiser for Heritage Sandy Springs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the city’s historic and cultural identity. “The 25th-anniversary Sandy Springs Festival takes on a special significance in light of the commitment of the city of Sandy Springs to fund the completion of the lower level of the Bluestone Building in 2011,” said Lori Evers, Heritage Sandy Springs board president.

“This renovation will be a wonderful addition to the Heritage Green park site, which was saved, preserved and built by Heritage Sandy Springs volunteers over the past 25 years,” Evers said. “The first Founders Day celebration in 1986 celebrated the ‘Save our Springs’ movement. This year we can celebrate another major enhancement to the site, helping Heritage Green become our community gathering place.”

The first Founders Day celebration, on Nov. 2, 1986, included a barbecue lunch, a bake sale, an arts and crafts show and a tour of the original springs. About 600 residents attended. People who lived in Sandy Springs before 1955 were recognized.

That Founders Day has grown into the Sandy Springs Festival and draws more than 20,000 people over two days. “The festival serves as a testament to the volunteers who joined together to champion causes and improve the quality of life decades before Sandy Springs became a city,” said festival director Christy Nickles. For more information about the festival, visit www.sandyspringsfestival.com or e-mail cnickles@heritagesandysprings.org.

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Events scheduled for the Sandy Springs Festival

Saturday, Sept. 25
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Exhibitor booths open
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Kiwanis Pet Parade  Registration
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Kiwanis Pet Parade and Award Ceremony
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
New Horizons Band of Sandy Springs
12:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Riverwood International Charter School Singers
1:00  – 2:00 p.m.
Atlanta Irish Music Band
2:00  – 2:30 p.m.
Muse for Life Kids Music Interactive
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Muse for Life Dance Interactive
3:00  – 4:30 p.m.
The Flying Mystics
4:30 – 5 p.m.
Ridgeview Charter School
5:00  – 7:00 p.m.
The CatDaddies
Sunday, Sept. 26
11:00 a.m. – noon
Exhibitor booths open
noon – 1:00 p.m.
Craig Martin Canedy & Friends
1:00  – 2:00  p.m.
Aviva & the Flying Penguins
2:00  – 2:30 p.m.
Sandy Springs Plaza presents Act 3 Productions
2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
North Springs Charter High School Marching Band
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
The Mixx

John Schaffner

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.