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Amber Mack


Atlanta Falcons host a bicycle build day at the East Lake YMCA

Atlanta Falcons build-a-bike
Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff (right) helps one of the kids build her bike.

Photograph by Amber Mack

On Monday, Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff shared his passion for bicycling with 25 kids and teenagers, giving them an opportunity to start their own cycling hobby.

Dimitroff, in partnership with Future Wheels LLC, hosted a bicycle build day at the East Lake YMCA. Scattered across the gymnasium floor were boxes of dissembled Trek bicycles provided by Dimitroff and local shop Free-Flite Bicycles, along with screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and bike tool kits. The kids, who were all a part of the Y’s summer program, would take home the completed bicycle, a helmet, and a bike lock.

Dimitroff’s passion for cycling started when he was a kid and grew into his high school years, when having his own car wasn’t an option. He has competed in mountain bike races, several metro Atlanta charity cycling events, and is a part of the nonprofit advocacy group, People for Bikes, which is dedicated to getting more people out riding, whether for fitness or sheer enjoyment.

Dimitroff said this build-a-bike event was inspired by other charitable groups who provide free bikes to children in African countries. “We decided to take it to a smaller level and give bikes to an area of Atlanta that would really benefit from them,” he says.

The event began with an opening how-to demonstration led by the Future Wheels staff. The kids watched as the instructors showed them step-by-step how to put on the handle bars, pedals, seat, and wheels of the bike using the bike tool. Volunteers helped pump-up the wheels after the bike was fully assembled. Once they’d learned what to do, the kids eagerly ran to their boxes, ready to get to get started.

“Out of the 25 kids here, maybe 10 of them will leave here and say that they really enjoy this activity and want to do more,” says Dimitroff. “Maybe one or two of them will become avid riders or use the bike to train for football and maybe even become a cyclist.”

An instructor demonstrates how to build the bicycles.

Photograph by Amber Mack

Excited voices and laughter filled the room as Dimitroff, YMCA and Future Wheels staff, and other Atlanta Falcons team members supervised and assisted each kid until all wheels were pumped and everyone was ready to take their new vehicle out for a spin. The finished product: bright turquoise bikes for the girls, black bikes with blue accents for the boys, and plenty of smiles.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: June 21-27

Old 4th Ward Arts Festival
The Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival takes place again this weekend

Photograph courtesy of Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival

A Reading by Roxane Gay
Where: Agnes Scott College: Presser Hall, Gaines Chapel
When: June 22, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $28.30 (includes a copy of her memoir)
Details: “Bad Feminist” Roxanne Gay will be reading from her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, which dissects Gay’s relationship with her body and learning to accept and take care of yourself. Gay will answer questions after the reading and sign copies of her book.

West Midtown Pub Crawl
Where: Six Feet Under Midtown
When: June 24, 1 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $22
Details: Grab a few friends and head to the Westside with your bar crawl souvenir cup for $3 shots, $4 beer, and $5 cocktails at Ormsby’s, Barcelona Westside, 5 Seasons, One Rooster, Piju Belly, and more.

Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
When: June 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; June 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Details: Celebrate the arts with over 150 local and regional and national painters, photographers, sculptors, and other artists. Enjoy live music from Atlanta musician Emma Gullo and food from local eateries.

Atlanta United vs Colorado Rapids
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium
When: June 24, 7 p.m.
Cost: $45 to $111 (see seating chart and tickets here)
Details: Atlanta United FC will play against the Colorado Rapids in their seventh home game this season when they return home from Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium.

Shakespeare on Draught Presents: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Where: 97 Estoria
When: June 26, 8 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Cost: Free
Details: Get a couple drinks and watch Atlanta actors perform a “barely rehearsed” rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There will be a live band, and every time an actor forgets a line, you take a drink.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: June 14-20

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gladys Knight performs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this weekend

Photograph by Joey Ivansco/Courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden

ASO Performance in the Park
Where: Piedmont Park: Oak Hill
When: June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Details: With the evening’s theme of “Song and Dance,” the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform Brahms’s Hungarian Dance, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, and . . . David Bowie? (No, seriously, they’re playing “Just Dance.”)

Summer in the City: Where Beach Meets the Street
Where: Decatur Square
When: June 16, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: Free
Details: This mix of the annual Decatur Beach Party (free for the first time!) and a cultural community festival brings summer fun into the heart of downtown Decatur. Spend the evening with live music from Bogey and the Viceroy snacking on funnel cakes and kettle corn and enjoying pop-up performances from MBond Afrika African Dance Group, Apu Inka Peruvian Band, and more. (Plus, someone mentioned there will be 60 tons of sand.)

2017 Atlanta Summer Beer Fest
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
When: June 17, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $45 ($55 day of the event)
Details: An epic Saturday night: Hanging out with your best friends, tasting 200 beers from national, international, and local Atlanta Breweries, listening to live music from Coast Guard and DJ Qtip, and eating food from King of Pops, Meatballerz, Dominic’s NY Pizza, and more. Sounds pretty good, right?

Juneteenth at Historic Oakland Cemetery
Where: June 17, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
When: Oakland Cemetery
Cost: Free
Details: Celebrate the abolishment of slavery in the South with guided walking tours through the cemetery’s historic African American grounds and a self-guided cultural scavenger hunt for the kids. End the morning with captivating stories and songs from LaDoris Bias-Davis.

Concerts in the Garden: Gladys Knight
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden
When: June 18, show starts at 7 p.m., gates open at 6 p.m.
Cost: $67.50 ($65.50 for members)
Details: Enjoy the scenery as you listen to the legendary Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, sing her hits during this quaint and intimate summer concert series.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: May 31-June 6

Candler Park Music and Food Festival
Where: Candler Park
When: June 2 and 3 (see lineup for showtimes)
Cost: General Admission: $25; VIP: $80 (21+ only)
What: Listen to live performances from Lake Street Drive, Chelsea Shag, Ripe, and more while playing adult field games and noshing on snacks from some of Atlanta’s favorite food trucks. Need a little exercise to burn off the beer? Sign up for the Candler Park Stroll ($15) or 5K race ($25) on Saturday morning. (And if you want to get pumped up ahead of the party, queue up the festival’s Spotify playlist.)

ICE: Summer Craft and Vintage Market
Where: Colony Square
When: June 3 and 4. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $5 cash at the door; Kids 12 and under: free
What: The popular two-day shopping event is back with over 90 vendors selling some of the Southeast’s best vintage and craft pieces. Do a little shopping then grab a sweet treat from Ashley Sue’s Baked Goods or one of Buena Gente’s great Cuban sandwiches (on Sunday only).

Andy Warhol at the High
Where: High Museum of Art
When: June 3 through September 3
Cost: Ages 6 and up: $14.50; Ages 5 and under: free
What: The High’s latest exhibition showcases 250 prints of Warhol’s pop art, including his iconic Campbell’s can and portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Mao Zedong. If you can’t wait until opening day, come dressed as a Warhol Factory celebrity and see the exhibit a day early at the High’s Warhol Factory Party (June 2; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; free with museum admission). There will be a DJ, screen-printing, cotton candy, and a photo booth to document the night’s wildest get-ups.

Virginia-Highland Summerfest
Where: Virginia Avenue
When: June 3, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; June 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free admission; 5K race: $35, Tot Trot: $10
What: After the Saturday morning 5K and Tot Trot, take the kiddos over to the Kidsfest area for face painting and other activities, then head over to the juried Artist Market to pick up some unique gifts. There are also multiple stages of live music and, of course, plenty of festival food.

Sunset Session Presents: Jamestown Revival and Colter Wall
Where: Park Tavern at Piedmont Park
When: June 4, 7 p.m.
Cost: Free (21+ only)
What: Hop off the BeltLine and have a drink at Park Tavern while listening to live music from Austin indie-rock band Jamestown Revival and folk singer Colter Wall. Good music, half-price sushi, and views of the Midtown skyline are not a bad way to end the weekend.

12 things to do on Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta

Atlanta Jazz Festival
Piedmont Park
When: May 26-28 (see lineup for showtimes)
Cost: Free
What: Listen to more than two dozen top jazz musicians, from Macy Gray to Freddy Cole, play at this funky jazz fest. (Plus, did we mention it’s free?)

Memorial Day Weekend Festival
Callaway Gardens
When: May 26-29
Cost: Adult: $20, senior: $25, children aged 6-12 $15, children aged 5 and under: free
What: Spend the weekend at Robin Lake Beach with live music, paddle boats, movies on the beach, and watch athletes compete in the annual Masters Water Ski and Wakeboard Tournament.

Memorial Day Weekend at Stone Mountain
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: May 26-29, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; lasershow and fireworks: 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $23.95; active duty, veterans, and retired military personnel can get a free Adventure Pass, plus 30 percent off admission
What: The Lasershow Spectacular fireworks show is always the biggest draw at Stone Mountain Park’s annual celebration, but don’t miss the 5k on Sunday morning.

Brew at the Zoo
Where: Zoo Atlanta
When: May 27, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Cost: Non-zoo member: $50; zoo member: $45; VIP: $100
What: Sample more than 70 beers and a few wines while enjoying live music and visiting your favorite zoo residents, including giant panda twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun and new tiger Emerson.

Alpharetta Arts Streetfest
Where: Alpharetta Historic District
When: May 27-29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: Shop for jewelry, paintings, pottery, and more from more than 90 artists. There will also be crafty activities for the kids (think sand art and clay painting) and live performances from Julie Gribble, Ben Wade, No Solution, and more.

Where: Georgia World Congress Center
When: May 25-28
Cost: 4-day pass: $70; Thursday or Sunday pass: $30; Friday or Saturday pass: $45.00
What: If Dragon Con still feels too far away, don your best cosplay and get your geeky fix at this 4-day salute to all things anime, gaming, and comic books. Meet voice actors and artists, shop at the exhibitor hall—there’s even a show for fanmade replica cars from different movies and TV shows.

Yaarab Shrine’s Shrine Circus
Where: Jim Miller Park in Marietta
When: Through May 29
Cost: General admission is $7.00 (children 10 and younger are free), midway rides are $1.25 each
What: Watch high-flying trapeze acts, bmx bikers, elephants, and clowns, and enjoy carnival rides while snacking on fried Oreos and snow cones. Veterans get free general admission on Memorial Day.

Decatur Arts Festival
Where: Decatur Square
When: May 26-28
Cost: Free
What: The weekend-long festivities, hosted by the Decatur Arts Alliance, include live performances, a children’s art festival, a juried art market featuring more than 150 artists, a book sale, and more.

Atlanta Game Festival
Where: Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center
When: May 25-29
Cost: 5-day passes are $50 each, $90 per couple, and $100 per family
What: If the thought of spending the long weekend playing nothing but board games sounds like a dream, this is the place to be. Meet up with fellow gamers and even compete in the Southeast Regional Championships for Diamonds, Skull King, Nevermore, The Game of 49, Letter Tycoon, and Dimension.

Gwinnett Braves World War One Centennial Game
Where: Coolray Field in Lawrenceville
When: May 29, 1:05 p.m.
Cost: $8-$40
What: The Gwinnett Braves (as they’re still currently called) are teaming up with the World War One Centennial Commission for this special game against the Syracuse Chiefs. There will be a mini-flag giveaways and military vehicles on display.

Roswell Remembers
Where: Roswell City Hall
When: May 29, military program 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; picnic following
Cost: Free
What: The Memorial Day military ceremony includes a wreath laying, reflections from veterans, and 21-gun salute, followed by a barbecue picnic lunch and live music from the Chuck Nation Band.

VetFest Memorial Day Car Show and Health Fair
Where: Dave & Busters Duluth
When: May 27, 10 a.m-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: Get up close and personal with some snazzy vehicles. There’s also a free health fair that offers a variety of screenings.

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