Fall Folklife Festival

Fall Folklife Festival

Celebrate all things Southern at the Atlanta History Center’s Fall Folklife Festival. Smith Family Farm provides the ideal backdrop for exploring our Southern foodways traditions with chef demonstrations and discussions in our open-hearth kitchens. Hands-on demonstrations explore Southern crafts, such as basket weaving, woodworking, pottery, food preservation, and candle dipping. Sip local brews while listening to the sounds of Georgia folk musicians, visiting with regional folk artists, and exploring signature exhibitions and the fall foliage in our Goizueta Gardens. 

This program is free to members; included in the cost of general admission for nonmembers. 

Festival Activities

The Whiskey Gentry
12:00pm and 2:00pm

This popular Atlanta band typically incorporates deep country, Americana, honky-tonk, bluegrass and a stiff shot of gritty rock ’n’ roll in their sets. For Fall Folklife Festival, they promise something special - stripped-down, acoustic/folk sets. 

Folk Art Marketplace

  • Becky Altman, paintings, jewelry and knitting, from Chickamauga
  • Christy Buchanan, painter, from Winnsboro, South Carolina
  • Claire Brightly, Atlanta artist who decorates tea towels, magnets and more with whimsical drawings and sayings
  • Dana Burrell, potter, Atlanta
  • Elizabeth Collins and Chuck Hanes, potters, Newborn
  • Tex S. Crawford, cut-tin sculptor, Hull
  • Charlie Dingler, blacksmith and whirligig-maker, Buford
  • Natalie Heath Flynn, embroidery with attitude, Atlanta
  • Mandy Grant, stained glass, Canton
  • Cleve “King Kudzu” Phillips, kudzu art, Mountain City 
  • Ann Pope Potter, paintings and photography, Atlanta
  • Polly the Potter (Polly Sherrill), potter, Atlanta
  • Kip Ramey and Coralie Hardman, painters, Comer
  • Kristen Ramsey, hand-made signs, Smyrna
  • Suzy Sue Smith, nature-inspired painter, found-object artist and photographer, Gainesville
  • Celena Schoen, Demorest folk potter who creates flasks, mini face jugs and jewelry pieces
  • Jim Shores, found object sculpture, Rome
  • Ellen Speed, jewelry and accessories from soda cans and bottle tops, Clayton
  • Mavis Stevens, Atlanta fiber artist who crafts pillows, kitchen towels, bags, and more
  • Eric Legge and Michele Humphrey, paintings and ceramics, Dillard

 Also featuring artisan food and drink by:

  •  JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting
  • Jimella’s Bakery

Cooking demonstration by Michael W. Twitty
10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm

Experience one-of-a-kind cooking demonstrations with author, blogger, and culinary historian Michael W. Twitty in the Smith Family Farm Kitchen.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touchpoints in our ongoing struggles over race. In his new memoir, The Cooking Gene, Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.

Michael Twitty also will appear in an Atlanta History Center author program to discuss The Cooking Gene at 7:00pm on Thursday, September 21.   


The sounds of the forge greet guests as museum interpreters demonstrate the historical method of blacksmithing while they make tools for harvest on the farm. 

Sachet and Poultices activity

Try your hand at curing ailments. Plants were used throughout history in homegrown remedies, herbal medicines, and natural household and personal care products. Explore the uses of these herbs as you prepare your own sachet or poultice and learn how they have been used historically.

Pottery activity

Create your own pinch pot and discover the methods used to preserve meats and other foods in early America. Afterwards, check out the famed pottery of enslaved South Carolina potter David Drake in our Shaping Traditions exhibition.

Corn Husk Doll activity

Make your own harvest-time toy and discover a part of agricultural history. Each part of the corn plant was used by Native Americans, and the corn husk was often shaped into dolls. This tradition was then passed down to early European settlers and continues today.

Seed swap

Browse through some of our favorite heirloom seeds, bring your favorite to share, and leave with a bundle of new varieties to try!

Other demonstrations include:

  • Woodworking
  • Candle-dipping
  • Musical instrument making
  • Natural dyeing
  • Open-hearth cooking 

Bee encounter
11:30am and 12:30pm
space is limited, so please arrive early

What’s all the buzz about bees? Learn how humans work with honeybees to share in their sweet harvest in this hands-on, meet-the-bees experience!

Seed Stories
10:30am and 1:30pm

Learn how our Georgia ancestors adopted plants from all over the world to grow their own food, fiber, medicine, and shelter. This interactive talk introduces plants from the forest, flower yard, kitchen garden, field, and enslaved people’s garden. 

Clay: Palm to Earth 
12:15, 1:15, 3:15 and 4:00pm
Duration: 20 minutes

This Meet the Past performance of Clay: Palm to Earth, by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, dramatizes the story of noted South Carolina potter David Drake. Born enslaved in 1801, Drake – who came to be known as Dave the Potter – was taught to turn large clay pots and learned to read and write, often signing much of his pottery and inscribing them with poems. This revealed his literacy at a time when it was illegal for a slave to read and write. The performance explores the notion of literacy as a form of resistance and its impact on the shaping of one’s identity. 

After the performance, admire two major Dave the Potter works on display in Shaping Traditions.

Mama Koku’s Stories 
10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm
Duration: 30 minutes

Lean in, watch, and listen, as Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares interactive Southern folk stories. If the spirit hits, she might ask you to step in front and help her tell it!  

Food and Drink

Cash bar

Local craft beers, wine, an artisanal Bloody Mary bar, and juice boxes for the kiddos are available for sale throughout the day.

Food for sale
Nerd Dawgs Hot Dog Cart
11:00am – 3:00pm

Specializing in super-sized, quarter-pound, all-beef hot dogs that are boiled in special seasonings and then char-grilled.

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