Timing is everything - Early morning shopper (above, left) avoids crowded paths while later shoppers contend with everybody
Fast Facts: Where: Stone Mountain, GA
When: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day
What:Highly regarded craft fair with food and entertainment
Journey to Stone Mountain early in September and its pretty easy to find what craft and folk art professionals consider one of the top events in the United States. Simply look for a lot of activity, follow directions from the Stone Mountain Park police or follow any group of three or more people. Each year attendance increases, and in the afternoons on the weekend the festival area approaches pedestrian grid-lock.
Vendors, mostly from the Southeast, take time to display their wares to the thousands who attend this yearly event. Examples of the many disciplines represented at the Yellow Daisy Festival are pottery, basket-weaving, map-making, photography, wood carving, and art on various media. All vendors are judged based on submitted works, hence the name "juried show."
Strolling banjo player entertains in the vendor area
Named for the Confederate Yellow Daisy (sometimes called the Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy) this perennial North_Georgia_Events is a great way to get some significant exercise while checking out the work of the exhibitors, for while both the food and entertainment is centrally located near the festival entrance, the crafts/folk art vendors that make the event so unique are placed along paths that require about a mile and a half hike to visit all of them. Additional stages, plus another food venue are on the extended loop trails with the event vendors.
About the flower
The Confederate Yellow Daisy was discovered in 1846 on an outcrop of granite on Stone Mountain, by Rev. Thomas Porter, according to the National Garden Club. A couple of years after the start of the festival the club got into the swing of things, adding their own flower show which runs concurrently with the festival.
About the Yellow Daisy Festival
Throughout the festival, information is available from assistants in high chairs with yellow umbrellas.
There is definitely something for everyone at the Yellow Daisy Festival, whether you are young or old, man or woman, rich or poor. Start with a taste of the food located at the entrance and in the Dogwood loop (in the vendor area), listen to a local DJ or put your feet up in a special lounge chair area (this is really for dads waiting for wives to finish shopping). Take in the entertainment on the main stage for polished regional bands playing country, bluegrass and rock and roll. Then its off to the vendors. Throughout the festival area there are "watering holes" where you can purchase soft drinks (you are near Atlanta, so the selection is limited to Coca-Cola products).
Artist captures portrait
There is no discernible rhyme or reason to the location of the vendors throughout the massive festival area, although the setup works. A supposedly one-way path is often walked the wrong way by neophytes, but nobody really cares because power shoppers are really only interested in the next booth. Bathrooms are centrally located and if you get lost there are information "booths" throughout the park. Maps are provided at the entrance to the festival, which are key if you are looking for specific vendors. They are cross-referenced by name to the booth numbers.
Our advice: Go on Thursday or Friday to avoid the gridlock. It is still crowded, unless you get there early, but this is better than the weekend.
Wear good walking shoes with comfortable socks. To visit each of the booths will require a level hike of about 2 miles at the event, but it will seem like more. Additional walking may be required to get to the event or to one of the convenient buses that pick visitors up. Also be sure to bring sunscreen and/or a hat to protect you from the sun (Its still summer).
Bring something to carry your purchases.
Just as with most festivals, bathroom waits can be extensive, although the last time we were at the festival (2003), management had made tremendous improvement in the situation.
Charges There is no charge for the festival, other than the entrance fee to the park
Getting to Stone Mountain
The easiest way to get to the festival is to get on I-285 east to exit 239b (U. S. 78 or the Stone Mountain Freeway). Follow this east to exit 8, Stone Mountain Park entrance.