Six events to check out this Labor Day weekend in Atlanta

Dragon Con, Chick-fil-A Kickoff, Art in the Park, and more
Photograph by Dave Nelson

Photograph by Dave Nelson

Whether your enthusiasms lean toward the literary, the leisurely, or death-defying speed, you can find a way to indulge them over the long weekend. Here’s a roundup of ways to spend the holiday.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff
8/28, 8/30
Nothing helps you bid farewell to summer and welcome fall like a double dose of college football at the Georgia Dome. The 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff features two first-ever matchups: Boise State versus Ole Miss on Thursday evening and Alabama versus West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

AJC Decatur Book Festival
The country’s largest independent literary festival includes signings, readings, panels, and, of course, countless book-filled booths. This free extravaganza isn’t bookworm exclusive; stroll Decatur for live music or cooking demos. A highlight: a screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, a contest pairing kid filmmakers with children’s books that won the Newbery Medal.

Night Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Start your engines, and prepare for three nights of pedal-to-the-metal competition billed as the “Biggest Labor Day Party in the USA.” On the lineup: a Friday night qualifying race, Saturday evening’s Great Clips 300, and the Sunday night 500-lap Sprint Cup Series race.

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival
The sixteenth annual festival at Callaway Gardens provides activities for enthusiasts of music, fitness, photography, and pyrotechnic skydiving. You can keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, mesmerized by the Friday Night Balloon Glow, or take to the sky for a daytime balloon ride.

Dragon Con
Sure, you never miss the iconic parade, but why not actually attend the pop culture/sci-fi convention this year? The 3,000-plus hours of programming include: workshops (belly dancing, anyone?); costume contests (who will be crowned Miss Star Trek Universe?); and chats by authors, artists, and actors (Star Trek/X-Men fixture Patrick Stewart and Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus Fring, to name two). Along with recognizable celebs, meet folks you’ve heard but not seen, such as the voice of Disney’s Goofy and Pluto or Granny from Squidbillies.

Art in the Park
Paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other works by 175 artists fill booths in and around Marietta Square. Be sure to set aside time to meander through the boutiques, restaurants, and galleries in the town’s historic district.

For more things to do this weekend, check out this roundup from Central Atlanta Progress, which also includes an interactive map and tips for getting around town.