Sandy Springs sits in the heart of the Atlanta Metro Area but boasts its own distinct identity. Located a few miles north of downtown, Sandy Springs beckons with a friendly, small-town feel—as well as several unique events and festivals that you just can’t experience anywhere else.
From seasonal offerings like a popular fireworks display to a magical lantern parade to a new winter wonderland, these events showcase local arts and culture and are deeply rooted in the Sandy Springs community. The next time you’re in the North Metro area, be sure to catch one of these eight awesome events.
1. Sparkle Sandy Springs
A new city tradition for the winter holidays, Sparkle Sandy Springs is an immersive experience built around the spirit of the season with generous community involvement. Local groups, businesses, and schools paint and decorate miniature houses that are trimmed with twinkling lights, creating a magical pop-up wonderland that’s a joy to explore. The opening celebration for this month-long display at City Green (the outdoor lawn at City Springs) features live music, hot chocolate night, and a menorah lighting.
2. Food That Rocks
Like a buffet showcasing the best of Sandy Springs’ culinary scene, Food that Rocks is a foodie’s dream come true. Held each June, the food festival includes more than 20 chefs and restaurants, so sampling from each is a challenge, but it’s certainly delicious to try! Plus, it’s a feel-good affair, as a portion of ticket sales benefit local charities. Craft beer, wine, and cocktails are also in the mix, plus live music from hometown talent. To celebrate the summer weather, organizers hold the gathering outdoors on the City Green lawn at City Springs. (Insider tip: Be sure to wear stretchy pants for this one.)
3. Sandy Springs Festival
More than 30 years running, the Sandy Springs Festival is an iconic two-day fall celebration drawing upwards of 20,000 attendees. From the Artist Market of 50-plus artisans to the pre-festival Lightning 5k/10k race, arts, culture, and community are the driving forces of this beloved festival.
Onstage, local musicians rouse the crowd, and emerging acts compete in the Battle of the Bands showdown. There’s also a Pet Parade that’s as artistic as it is adorable. Following a tradition that began in 1987, locals take special pride in gussying up their furry friends for their time in the spotlight. Meanwhile, kids can let loose on inflatables and rides at the Children’s Park, while adults grab a bite to eat and stroll through the Art Sandy Springs Chalk Walk.
The festival is the primary fundraiser for Heritage Sandy Springs, the nonprofit organization that stewards the grounds on which a portion of the celebration is held. The HSS Museum is also open during the festival, so you can take a break from the outdoor activities and learn about the history of Sandy Springs.
4. Spooky Springs
Halloween can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for little ones, but Spooky Springs offers a way for families to get into the spirit with more smiles than scares. Held at Abernathy Greenway Park, the event features a cast of friendly costumed characters like pirates and fairies, plus face painters, trick-or-treating stations, and local food trucks.
5. Sandy Springs Independence Day Fireworks Display
Each July 4th (give or take a day), the Sandy Springs sky illuminates with fireworks booming overhead, while the Atlanta skyline glows in the distance. During the annual Stars and Stripes celebration, revelers gather on the expansive lawn of the Concourse Corporate Center to enjoy a brilliant fireworks display. Before the big show begins, families sprawl out on blankets to listen to live music and enjoy a picnic dinner (you can also grab bites from local food trucks). While 4th of July events take place across the country, it’s an especially beloved community tradition in Sandy Springs.
6. Sandy Springs Lantern Parade
Created as a tribute to the Chattahoochee River and the surrounding community, the Sandy Springs Lantern Parade is a beloved summer tradition for locals. It kicks off about an hour after sunset at Steel Canyon Golf Club, with a crowd carrying lanterns of all kinds—globes, flowers, herons, flying pigs and many other indescribable creations—that begins a nighttime walk to Morgan Falls Overlook Park. When they arrive, paddlers from High Country Outfitters take the magical light display onto the river and create a glowing flotilla of fanciful creations like frogs, lily pads, swans, and a 25-foot albino alligator.
7. The Elegant Elf Marketplace
Each winter, the joy of gift giving is amplified at the Elegant Elf Marketplace. Here, shopping doubles as a benefit for the event’s organizers, the Sandy Springs Society, a charitable organization that supports local arts, education, heritage, environmental causes, and social services. Since its founding in 2011, the Elegant Elf Marketplace has raised more than half a million dollars for grants to organizations that keep the vibrant Sandy Springs community thriving.
Held just before the holiday season kicks off, this two-day event draws eager shoppers from Atlanta and beyond to check out vendors offering art, handcrafted pieces, gourmet treats, and other specialty items. A bonus for any holiday shopping you may want to knock out? Customers can opt to have items wrapped and sent for delivery to friends and loved ones.
8. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market
It makes sense that the Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market takes place on Festival Row at City Springs—it’s practically a festival in its own right. Held each Saturday morning from mid-April to December, the farmers market is the place to find the freshest local produce, premium pasture-raised meat and pork products, and farm-fresh eggs and dairy products. If you arrive hungry, don’t worry—you can also feast on prepared foods. Local string bands and children’s choirs add to the lively atmosphere.
Meanwhile, you can also snag pro tips and recipe ideas during food demos by celebrated local chefs, and the little ones can develop their growing green thumbs with gardening lessons organized by Little Diggers.
Over time, the farmers market has transformed into something that not only entertains but also brings people together to build a real sense of community. In Sandy Springs, you’ll find that sense of togetherness throughout the year, as a diverse group of events—from the food festival to the lantern parade—spotlight all of the wonderful things that make this such a special place to visit.
Written by Jhoni Jackson for Matcha in partnership with Visit Sandy Springs and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.