Getting ready for last year’s Lantern Parade.

By Annie Kinnett Nichols

I love Atlanta, but y’all know that. There’s always so much going on I can barely keep up, but there is one event that has become a permanent tradition for my family – Art on the BeltLine.

Art on the BeltLine opens Sept. 7 with the phenomenally gorgeous Lantern Parade along the Eastside Trail from Irwin Street to Piedmont Park. Bring a creative lantern or light and dress up in a costume. Tailgating begins at 7:30 p.m. at Irwin and Krog, and part of the fun watching everyone line up and get their costumes on and lanterns lit. The parade steps off at 8:30 p.m.

The Lantern Parade is organized by New Orleans transplant Chantelle Rytter’s Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, modeled on her love of the Mardi Gras parades in the Big Easy. Even if you don’t want to participate in the parade, line the trail or watch from one of the trail bridges. It’s like an evening in the French Quarter meets Alice in Wonderland by way of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Art on the BeltLine exhibition continues through Nov. 11 along eight miles of the BeltLine featuring work by 70 artists. There will also be two months of live art performances with art, dance, theater, poetry and song.

Kyle Brooks whimsical painting underneath the Highland Avenue bridge.

Last year there were a lot of interactive art pieces and some became permanent. Bring a blanket, picnic basket, your bike, your dogs and spend an afternoon wandering up and down the BeltLine. So many wonderful people are passionate about making the 22-miles of trail a safe, beautiful part of Atlanta.

The BeltLine is game changer for Intowners. I, along with thousands of others, now use the BeltLine to get to work, exercise, bike or just enjoy the urban spaces outdoors. An estimated17,655 bikers and pedestrians used the BeltLine this past Mother’s Day alone. Very impressive.
I hope to see you out on the trail in the coming months. I will most definitely be there – with lights on – on Sept. 7.

For more about Art on the BeltLine and the Lantern Parade, visit art.beltline.org.

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.