By Tim Sullivan

Reynoldstown resident Catherine Woodling is carrying the heavy load in adding a startup 5k to one of Intown’s favorite annual events.  This humble scribe heartily recommends a kickstart to the feel good vibes of the Wheelbarrow Festival with a 3.1-mile tour.

It’s been said that so much depends on a red wheelbarrow, glazed with rainwater, beside the white chickens…is that what is at play here?

The wheelbarrow is a symbol of the working class railroad workers and freed slaves who settled Reynoldstown in the 1860’s. It is also an homage to the first half-decade of the Reynoldstown festival when neighbors and friends came together with supplies in their wheelbarrows to construct the performance stage. It was a memorable visual.

Alright, well, I lifted that little opening ditty from the poet William Carlos Williams but it seems he would relish the fact that the sentiment is alive and well. Wheelbarows, chickens – who knew?!

We count among our animal neighbors many a feathered fowl. Their contributions to the community – eggs, pillows, well-timed wakeup calls – are invaluable. I’m glad you’ve called attention to our often underappreciated companions – and wheelbarrows. People like wheelbarrows, too.

Indeed they do. A wheelbarrow is like a really helpful uncle – perhaps rickety but useful. I’ve been to the Wheelbarrow Festival several times myself and know it is a rollicking good time but for the folks who have not, can you describe it?

The festival represents the neighborhood – electrifying, diverse, quirky, and one heck of a good time. The music ranges from Colonel Bruce Hampton & Grant Green Jr., Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Noot d’ Noot, Atlanta Funk Society, 3052 Dub Collective, Dante Harmon and many more. Festival-goers will also enjoy an artist market, health fair, Atlanta’s best food vendors, and a Wheelbarrow Jr. for the kids. (wheelbarrowfestival.com)

Wait’ll Noot sees us! He loves us! Actually, I have no idea who that is but I dig the name and must see for myself. Now, this is the first year a 5k race is being put on in conjunction with the 16 year old festival. How did it all come together?

After many years of organizing a parade that more people enjoyed participating in than watching, adding a 5K race to our festival activities was a no brainer. We wanted to jump on the Atlanta running movement bandwagon as a way to bring our community closer together and to introduce other Forrest Gump-ian Atlantans to Reynoldstown.

What should people expect to see on their jaunt through the streets of Reynoldstown?

Reynoldstown is known for its craftsman cottages juxtaposed with modern homes, civil war relics in old pecan orchards and street art that is equally loved and loathed by many.  You’ll get a taste of everything that makes Reynoldstown and nearby Cabbagetown distinctive, eccentric and captivating neighborhoods.

Not to mention a close-up gander at Stein Steel!  Who are the early favorites to garner fastest male and female Reynoldstown resident accolades?

My good friend Evan Strange would be upset if I didn’t peg him as the fastest male in the neighborhood. Fastest female is a toss-up. Which one of you readers is up for the challenge?

And just to clarify – would you say it is required, recommended, permitted or forbidden to push an actual wheelbarrow for the 3.1 miles? Because if I’m going to win this thing I might need to replace ol’ red…

While the unimaginative agents at the insurance company frown upon racing actual wheelbarrows, we strongly encourage the use of red strollers, red tennis shoes, red sweatbands and faces red with healthy exertion. Feel free to wear that chicken costume again and break out into the Chicken Dance after you cross the finish line. How did this become all about chickens?

That wasn’t me (blushing).

 

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.