atlanta (2)

Which are the worst fairs for parking?

I participated in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park Art Festival last weekend, and I found myself spending a lot of time worrying about something I don’t normally give much thought to: parking.   So I was wondering if there are other art fairs with parking situations as bad as Piedmont or perhaps even worse.

The promoter offered no parking for artists, but did post a list of local parking lots on their web page, and let us know where not to park to avoid getting tickets.

Piedmont Park is in Midtown, Atlanta, and most close-by hotels don’t have surface parking.  I had to start planning where to park when I made my hotel reservations.  The vertical clearance and whether trailers would be welcome in their underground lots is not clear in advance, and they charge dearly or insist on valet parking.  So my search for a hotel with free parking and a surface parking lot led me to make a reservation about 12 miles (20-30 minute commute) from the fair with a hotel promising “truck parking”.

But that still left the question open as to where to park my SUV and small trailer during setup and breakdown, and my SUV during the show.  The promoter only offered parking in the park on Sunday, and only for trailers.  So I had to travel to Atlanta a day early just to figure out a parking strategy.  That included checking out all surrounding parking lots for vertical clearance issues and willingness to accommodate trailers.  Also, I had to drive around the local neighborhoods and carefully read their “no parking” signs to see if parking was at all possible on the streets.  Instructions and hours varied from street to street.  Finally, I had to check out a local high school where the promoter said that they might (“unconfirmed”) sell tickets to their parking lot as a fund raiser.  It turned out that school was in session already, so parking in their lot would not be possible on Friday, but might be on Saturday and Sunday.  My driving around discovered that parking on neighborhood streets was possible on Friday, even with a trailer, as long as I removed it by 5PM.  Even so, it was a 20 minute hike between my booth space and the car/trailer.  On Saturday, such parking was not legal, but the local high school did go into business selling $10 tickets to their parking lot presumably only for normal size vehicles.  Again, a 20 minute hike was in order.  On Saturday, I had to leave the trailer at the hotel.  On Sunday, we were allowed to park our trailers in the park, if we arrived at 9 AM.  But we had to unhook and park our tow vehicles elsewhere.  So after breaking down the booth on Sunday night I had to hike to the high school to collect my SUV, then drive halfway around the outside of the park in city traffic to get to the approved entrance, and drive at 5mph halfway through the park to get to my trailer, hook up, then drive at 5mph to my booth.  Total time: 30-45 minutes.  And that was without encountering any traffic in the park.

Although this all worked out in the end, it cost me considerable time and effort, plus at least an extra day’s hotel expenses.  Note that all of this was for a small SUV pulling a 5x8 trailer.  I can’t imagine what the drivers of bigger rigs did (maybe not participate?).

It also had additional consequences: it was impossible to use the trailer for backup inventory storage or to store packing material for breakdown.  Fortunately, there was space behind the booth, and nobody bothered my containers sitting there overnight (this in a neighborhood with high crime statistics).  Also, I have to wonder how parking problems affected attendance, especially from other parts of the city and the suburbs.

So parking was a big issue with this fair.  It probably does not faze the locals, but for me, I would prefer to avoid fairs with similar parking issues. That begs the question: what other fairs are as bad or worse from a parking standpoint?



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Hi! My family and I are moving to Atlanta, (Suwanee) Georgia in a few weeks. I am wondering if you may recommend any shows in that area?

I make handcrafted jewelry (non-beaded, $20-$60 range). My schedule is full through October here in the Midwest area, but I'd love to add a few shows from November through May.

Any suggestions or advice would be SO appreciated. We are completely unfamiliar to this area.

Thanks in advance,


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