Labor Day weekend has long been a crowded time on the Atlanta social calendar. It's as if, after months of being pulverized by the summer sun, Atlantans declare as one, "Fuggit, we want to have fun!"
Over the years, the first weekend in September has amassed annual events such as Dragon*Con, the Decatur Book Festival and Drive Invasion, but in 2011 the situation threatens to reach critical mass. Summer's last blowout delivers enough activities to appeal to every ATLien, from gay African-Americans to bookish nerds to NASCAR fans to gay, bookish, African-American, nerdy NASCAR fans.
It's a time when Atlanta truly celebrates itself, not some test-marketed concept for what a New South metropolis should be. We gun our engines at the Starlight Drive-In and the Atlanta Motor Speedway. We paint our faces to support the Georgia Bulldogs and emulate "The Walking Dead's" zombies. We put our hands in the air for raunchy rockabilly and crunk hip-hop. And we take our sweet time browsing for local artwork or books, T-shirts or trucker hats.
The estimated attendance at the events tops a quarter million, so expect the city and the surrounding environs to be crazy crowded. Basically, anyone not confined to an iron lung will be out this weekend. But rather than let the ClusterFest™ of competing activities overwhelm you, use the following guide to help you navigate the events and make the most of Atlanta's biggest weekend.