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With coronavirus concerns, canceled festivals suggest a bizarrely un-Atlanta spring

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On the bright side, could locals find their own ways to welcome the changing of seasons?

A group of men in a parade use umbrellas over their heads.
Inman Park’s lovably off-kilter festival and parade won’t be happening next month, officials have said.
Photos by Josh Green, Curbed Atlanta

Bunching up in massive crowds to sip cocktails, dance, and celebrate the changing of seasons—a decades-old Atlanta tradition—has become virtually illegal as a novel coronavirus makes its way around the world, changing nearly every aspect of daily life.

And though some locals don’t seem to be heeding public health officials’ insistence that they should steer clear of large gatherings, many of the city’s iconic (sanctioned) spring events have been canceled or postponed until the spread of COVID-19 is contained.

Still, some might wonder if a global pandemic is enough to keep Atlantans from partaking in the revelry to which they’re so accustomed.

Annual St. Patrick’s Day parades across the state were shut down due to concerns of the virus.

However, some “renegade revelers,” as WSB-TV put it, took matters into their own hands and let the show go on.

A walking trail with people all spread out along it and a sign in blue and orange at right.
The Beltline has added signs along trails—including the Eastside Trail, the scene of St. Patrick’s Day revelry last week—with clever reminders to practice social distancing.
Curbed Atlanta

The famous Inman Park Festival and Homes Tour, once voted by Curbed Atlanta readers the city’s very best neighborhood party, has been postponed, or possibly canceled.

It could be the first time in more than 45 years that the neighborhood’s legendary spring fling won’t happen.

It’s unclear whether Inman Park residents—or Atlantans in other communities, loyal to other annual extravaganzas—will set up their own socially safe, guerrilla gatherings in these parties’ stead. (Or possibly, somehow, virtual versions.)

One of Atlanta’s largest music festivals, Shaky Knees, has been bumped from May to October.

Its country music sister festival, Shaky Boots, also slated for May, was nixed entirely.

There’s no word yet on what the plans are for the Atlanta Jazz Festival, although organizers said on Facebook that the Nicholas Payton Trio’s concert had been pushed from early April to late May “out of an abundance of caution and regard for the public’s safety amid the threat of COVID-19.”

A gathering of Atlanta Streets Alive in downtown.
A gathering of Atlanta Streets Alive in downtown.
Curbed Atlanta

Other events that have been cancelled or forced to reschedule include the Chastain Park Arts Festival, the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. The latter, an 84-year tradition, was supposed to begin April 17 but has been postponed with no new dates declared.

Atlanta Streets Alive, which typically includes a springtime street-closure program, has yet to announce specific dates. The popular event’s cross-city route last summer set a record with an estimated 145,000 in attendance.

The Atlanta Beltline Northside 5k initially planned for April 4 has been postponed until this fall.

And April’s giant SweetWater 420 Fest has been postponed and could be canceled.

Federal officials have said the pandemic could last until July or August.