Every Atlantan knows that Labor Day Weekend in the city is a special, wonderful kind of weird: Legions of Cosplay freaks commingle with college football drunkards and Black Gay Pride enthusiasts while barbecue aficionados and studious, literate readers of books overtake other divisions of the ITP universe.
But according to the Atlanta Police Department, this long weekend could be the biggest — and ostensibly weirdest — yet.
APD predicts that more than a half-million visitors will be converging on Atlanta, beginning today, for a total of 14 special events. That’s a jump from nine events last year.
Of course, officials are strongly advising everyone to use MARTA and to not leave valuables (especially firearms) where scofflaw Wookies can run off with them.
Beyond that, here’s a detailed list of Clusterfest events that Atlanta police think locals and visitors to the ATL should be most aware of:
(Note: All of this is in addition to the 75,000 expected in Decatur for the three-day AJC Decatur Book Festival. The nation’s largest independent biblio gathering kicks off Friday).
Through Tuesday, the annual Black Gay Pride hurrah (aka Atlanta Pride Wknd) is expect to see crowds of 30,000 congregate in both Midtown and downtown.
- Pro football
A generous estimate of 50,000 is expected for Thursday's final Atlanta Falcons preseason game at the Georgia Dome. The Dirty Birds kick off against the Jaguars at 7 p.m.
Axl Rose is back in town fronting AC/DC for the "Rock or Bust" tour, where 13,000 are expected. Curtain goes up at 8 p.m., Philips Arena.
In the morning they start arriving. In earnest. Some 60,000 costumed revelers will descend upon the Big Peach through Monday. Keep eyes peeled for the real Captain Kirk, because William Shatner will be in the house.
- Georgia State
Georgia State University tackles Ball State at the Georgia Dome, 7 p.m. (Predicted crowd: 5,000)
Arrive well before the 10 a.m. kickoff, because 75,000 are expected for the 15th annual DragonCon Parade. It starts at Peachtree and North Avenue, heads south to International Boulevard, makes a left and then another left on Peachtree Center. Then it ends at Baker Street. Avoid driving in this area until after noon.
- UGA football returns
Rabid college football fandom returns to the South at 5:30 p.m., when UGA kicks off at the Georgia Dome against North Carolina. This game has been sold out since July. At least 70,000 predicted.
- PureHeart Festival
At noon, some 30,000 are expected to gather at Midtown’s Piedmont Park.
Meanwhile, in Grant Park, officials expect 15,000 house music fanatics at the House in the Park fest.
A crowd of 500 is predicted, beginning at 2 p.m., for the EAV Runfest.
Atlanta Dream versus the Storm at 6 p.m. sharp, Philips Arena.