Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dunwoody Arts Festival - DAY 1 - Earns an 'A'

The first annual Dunwoody Arts Festival launched today with great weather  and nice-sized crowds. No official estimates available for Day 1 but I'll make an unofficial estimate of 14,000 people (based on conversations with an undisclosed Dun PD Source and Arts festival Lady).

One more day to go for this event. Lots of celebrities in attendance today.  Farmer Bob and his lovely wife were seen browsing as was the Honorable Mayor Wright and family.

Due to three soccer games (two at Dun Baptist and one at Galloway School) I arrived late to the festival, some time around 4:15.  I was told the crowd was at its maximum around 1 PM today.  There was still a good crowd on hand from the time I arrived to the closing at 7 PM.

I volunteered to sell T-Shirts for the festival.  I was in the T-Shirt booth between Burger King and Hickory House.  I want to thank all three of Dunwoody Talk fans for stopping by and buying a shirt from me.  I sold eight shirts in all, and I'm entered in the volunteer drawing for a free facial from some spa.  I was not alone in the T-Shirt booth as it takes at least two volunteers to handle such a task.  My co-volunteer outsold me by two T-Shirts, so I think I need to retake my Dale Carnegie sales course and dust off my Zig Ziglar books.  My co-volunteer in the booth was a member of the Chicken Posse.  She was pleasant company to have for the two hours.  (I think she texted relatives, having them stop by and buy shirts, thus my reasoning for being out sold by two).  The T-Shirts are a good deal for $10.  

I want to thank the Kent Tekulve clan for stopping buy and buying 25% (2 shirts) of my total sales.  They live in Dunwoody and are good people. No way will he strike me out again in backyard Wiffle ball.

The booths at the event have a wide selection of art (pottery, paintings, fabric stuff, funky stuff, garden things, art stuff, etc.).  I saw lots of people buying stuff.

I saw more people walking and biking around Dunwoody today than any other day of the year, except for the annual July 4th parade.  That in itself is a good thing. 

I talked to a couple of vendors (I did not walk the entire festival, that's on tomorrow's agenda) and asked about sales.  A couple said sales were great and said the event is already a success.  They look forward to future Dunwoody Arts Festivals.  One was cautious to declare a successful show until tomorrow, but said they were on track to have a good event.  With an event like this, with a large variety of art displays, some things will sell better than others.  Just like in any other open market system.  Dunwoody folks will buy different items than folks in other areas.

Not sure how local businesses did today.  After the Festival ended (7 PM) I walked over to Mellow Mushroom and had a pitcher of Hoegaarden and ordered some pizza for the wife and kids (the kids did not drink the Hoegaarden).  The lady at Mellow Mushroom told me they did well today.  She said they got their usual lunch crowd, but things did not slow down between lunch and dinner as they usually would.  She said the dinner rush was a little later than usual, and overall she thought business was up a tick.  Not sure about Hickory House or The Tavern or Mudcatz.  I'm sure Ace Hardware had an off day.  Smoothie King probably did OK, even thought there were a few other 'Smoothie' vendors in the food court area.  Starbucks seemed to be busy.  Fresh Market was slower than normal due to traffic.

I think next year the businesses in the festival block will be prepared to do lots of marketing and set up their own tents and lure in folks.

I heard the music but did not have time to go check it out.  The music is back behind the Chamber of Commerce building (close to Mudcatz).  I'll check it out tomorrow.

Dunwoody's W Hotel is the host hotel, with about 50 rooms or so rented to exhibiting artists. That's what they call 'Heads in Beds'.

I saw some non-profits exhibiting at the Festival, including Dunwoody's CVB and the Spruill Arts Center. A group was taking bids on chairs (chairs I think that were decorated by local school kids) and a fund raiser for a local Odyssey of the Mind team.  I suggest you stop by and bid on the chairs and make a flower thing for the Odyssey kids. Back in my teacher days in Cobb I helped out with my school's Odyssey of the Mind team.  I'll stop by there tomorrow and have my kids make a flower for Mom.

This is year one for this event, so I'm sure Arts Festival Lady was already taking notes on things to modify for next year.  We'll probably hear about a few things people did not like, and we'll hear great things as well.  What's important is that lots of people were in Dunwoody today, outside, at arts festival with quality vendors.  I'm no Lawrence Alloway, but all the vendors seemed to have unique, quality art.

The festival is more than just a block of Main Street.  It is also in parking lots in Dunwoody Village and also other areas.  One section was set up with food vendors, another area had kid activities.

Dunwoody Police Department had a nice showing.  I don't think arts festivals are a magnet for trouble makers, but you never know.  Not sure of this fine piece of John Deere equipment is owned by the city or on rental, but it was cruising around the festival.

Tomorrow I plan on taking a tour of the FarmHouse and checking out the inside of that Chamber of Commerce building (former cell phone store / former train depot or something like that).

Hopefully you can get out tomorrow and check out the art tomorrow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5 Story Buildings and 12 Apartments per Acre in Dunwoody Village?

Monday City Council will take a look at the handy work of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan committee. If you support or object to anything in The Plan, show up and he heard Monday night at City Hall.

From The Plan:

Dunwoody Village

Page 31:
Height: 3 stories, but allow potentially up to 5

Page 32:
Residential (2nd floor up to 5th floor) up to 12 units to the acre, although age-restricted projects would be granted consideration for additional densities

 Page 12
Height:  5 stories maximum anticipated, but potentially up to 8 stories
Residential: Up to 18 units to the acre for a mix of condominium and townhouse, only on the interior and along I-285; up to 30 units to the acre for age-restricted, senior housing

Jett Ferry

Page 15
Height:  Up to 3 Stories
Residential:  mixed-use, allowing residential up to 8 units to the acre

Thanks to all members of the committee that put this plan together.  Lots of hard work, some of it likely to be changed by Council over the next few meetings. I like most of what is in the plan, but do object (as do some of the hard-core No Growthers) to some of the density and height limits.

The city will have time for citizens to come in and review The Plan and give feedback.  Most likely these public review sessions will be held conveniently from 5 AM to 7 AM and then 11 PM to 11:30 PM on odd-numbered Tuesdays of the next Leap Year.

Garden Tour

Need a nice activity next weekend?  Check out local Secret Gardens via the Secret Gardens Tour being put on by the Dunwoody Nature Center.

The tour features a rare look at five wonderful gardens in the Dunwoody / Sandy Springs area, one being a three acre garden with courtyard and herb garden.  Proceeds benefit Dunwoody's Nature Center.

Although a tour of Archibald Craven's garden is not included, Mary Lennox would surely buy a $20 ticket to this event (were she still living in the Dunwoody area).

Rumor has it The Dunwoody Community Garden will be a bonus stop on the tour.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Everything is 'For Profit'

I heard a few grumblings about the upcoming Dunwoody Arts Festival.  A complaint or two may be legitimate, others are not.

First, some people do not like the banners posted on Dunwoody's Main Street (formerly named Chamblee Dunwoody Road).

I'm not a big fan of this type of advertising either.  The signs seem to send two messages:
1.  This road will be closed Mother's Day weekend.
2.  There is an arts festival in town Mother's Day weekend.

However, I've been told theses signs were put up with approval from city staff.  If you have an issue with the signs, your issue is with city staff, not the Arts Festival.

Side Note:  these arts festival signs (temporary as they are) are no more offensive than the blatant advertising sign at the Bridge to the Future, and that sign is permanent (no permits required, of course)

The other complaint I've heard is the 'for profit' part of this event.  It's no secret that some people intend to make money from this event.  The organizer hopes to profit from her time, as do all the vendors.  The festival also has a lengthy list of sponsors, most of whom probably expect something (advertising) in return.  Of course the event does have volunteers who will not profit from the event.  I volunteered to sell T-shirts on Saturday 5 PM - 7 PM (and except for the free T-shirt I was promised, I won't profit from the event).

I'm not sure why there is such a fuss over this issue of profit.  The first time this event was brought before Council, a councilman made a point to point out that this event's organizer was doing it for a profit.  His point was to make the organizer out to be some sort of scam artist (pardon the pun). 

Looking at another local event, Lemonade Days, I see that event as having the same goal as the Arts Festival; they want to make a profit (an inside source tells me that Lemonade Days will report record profits proceeds from this year's event).  The Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) does not host the carnival simply for the enjoyment of local residents. They want to make money.  They use the money for special projects around Dunwoody.  I know that none of the DPT folks profit personally from Lemonade Days (unless they are a vendor and also a member of DPT).  But I know some people try to gain more political power from the event.

DPT contracts with Peachtree Rides for Lemonade days.  Peachtree Rides makes a profit from the event.  As does the funnel cake people, as does The Varsity, as does nearly every vendor there. These vendors are not setting up shop at Brook Run so the FarmHousers can install new toilets at their headquarters (intersection of Mt Vernon and Chamblee Dun Rd).  The vendors sign up to come make a profit.

I understand DPT is a non-profit, and the organizer of the Arts festival is not.  But I think both events have a positive impact on the community, and I hope to see all the famous FarmHousers over at the Arts Festival.  And hopefully council members will show up as well.  You wants 'heads in beds'? This event is a start.

The 'profit' factor is present in both events, but with Lemonade Days it is one step removed.  All the Lemonade days vendors profit, and so do the contractors hired by DPT to work on the FarmHouser HQ, and the contractors and vendors hired by DPT for their varied projects. 

'Profit' is not a bad word.  See you next weekend.  Come buy a T-shirt from me late on Sunday Saturday.