Atlanta History Center Prepares for Fall Harvest with Fall Folklife Festival

Celebrating All Things Southern that Come with the Changing of the Seasons

A highlight among Atlanta’s fall festivals, the Fall Folklife Festival at the Atlanta History Center marries the Southern ways of good food, local brews, friends and family, and the joy of making memories. Held each year during the first weekend of autumn, guests spend the day exploring the sprawling 33 acre campus and learning how Southerners prepared for the changing of the seasons in years past. With a cool crisp feeling in the air, attendees experience and participate in an assortment of scheduled and ongoing activities in the museum and at the Atlanta History Center’s 1860s Smith Family Farm.

WHAT: Fall Folklife Festival, Atlanta History Center’s annual family program

WHEN: Saturday, September 27, 2014; 10:30 am to 4:30 pm

WHERE: Atlanta History Center; 130 West Paces Ferry Road; Atlanta, GA

INFORMATION: 404.814.4000;

ADMISSION: This program is free to members; included in the cost of general admission for nonmembers. Purchase admission tickets at

SPONSORS: This program is sponsored by Macy’s; Publix; Fulton County Arts & Culture; Poppy Garden Club.


The heart of the festival takes place at the Atlanta History Center's 1860s Smith Family Farm where festival-goers of all ages find enjoyable, engaging activities that provide a thorough explanation of the fall harvest and preparation for the colder months ahead – before the invention of central heat.

Find out why food just seems to taste better in the South through garden tours as well as cooking and preserving demonstrations that showcase our region’s foods. Woodworking and blacksmithing activities teach not only the necessity of these skills during the 1860s, but also the creativity that went into shaping the materials into useful everyday tools.

For a complete festival experience, enjoy live musical performances while indulging in delicious local refreshments. Atlanta’s favorite food truck vendors provide tasty treats for purchase, and a selection of local craft beer is available at cash bars. Don’t forget to participate in the photo contest for a chance to win a Fall Folklife Festival prize-pack!


Featured Lecture: Joe Dabney, Mountain Spirits

2:00 pm

Mountain Spirits is a scholarly yet entertaining look into this staple of Southern Appalachian history. The folklore of moonshine whiskey is full of fact and fiction, but the real characters tell stories even more humorous and exciting. Dabney's interviews with actual moonshiners and his documented history allow readers to take a trip through the mountains - and through history - to discover both the origins and development of the art of making whiskey. With a complete glossary, photographs, illustrations, and interviews, Mountain Spirits offers a most complete exploration of this craft, from distilling for personal use to the moonshining gangs that emerged during Prohibition.

A book signing immediately follows the lecture.

Atlanta History Center Museum Activities

Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Join Joe Matera, a life-long folk-arts enthusiast, in the Shaping Traditions exhibition as he shares insights about the antique and contemporary artifacts that display the evolving character and tradition of Southern folk culture. This exhibition illustrates aspects of “A Handmade Life,” including pottery, woodwork, textiles, metalwork, and Foodways.

Smith Family Farm Activities

Smokehouse Demonstration by Allan Benton


Recipient of Southern Foodways Alliance’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, Allan Benton, of Benton’s Smoky Country Hams, and his employees demonstrate how they have honed the dry-curing of hams and bacon into a culinary art and catapulted the products from a simple breakfast mainstay into the world of gourmet cooking, where they have been praised for their characteristic flavor. Benton is passionate about slow-curing pork, using traditional methods established in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, to ensure the best quality culinary experience possible.    

Will Harris of White Oak Pastures


Join Will Harris, a fourth generation cattleman who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866, as he discusses their multigenerational family farm that cooperates with nature to produce artisan products that are healthy, safe, nutritious, and delicious. Care is given to ensure that all of their production practices are economically practical, ecologically sustainable, and that their animals are always humanely treated. They never falter in their determination to conduct their business in an honorable manner, for the sake of their animals, land, and the people who eat their produce.

Johnnie Gabriel, How to Cook Like a Southerner


Partake in Johnnie Gabriel’s cooking demonstration – she makes it, you taste it! Johnnie Gabriel started baking cakes alongside her grandmother as a young girl in South Georgia. Today, Johnnie is known as Atlanta’s “Cake Lady” for her mouth-watering red velvet cupcakes, award-winning wedding cakes, and other delectable desserts.

In her book, How to Cook Like a Southerner, Gabriel isn’t just sharing her recipes; she’s taking her Southern expertise to the next level, offering step-by-step photos for thirty-five of the most iconic Southern dishes, curating and testing over one hundred recipes from some of the best and most gracious cooks in the South, and offering tips to help you dress up even the most basic recipes for special occasions.



PeachDish is excited to share information about their meal-kit subscription service. An Atlanta-based start-up, PeachDish ships packages right to your doorstep filled with fresh ingredients and a recipe to make a dinner-for-two. Learn about how this company has worked to source their ingredients directly from Southeastern farmers and artisanal producers to create a unique, healthy, and convenient meal service.

Phickles Pickles


Hear Phickles Pickles owner, Angie Tillman, talk about the history and art of pickling. Phickles Pickles is a gourmet pickle company from Athens, Georgia that is family owned and operated using the freshest, closest produce – and taking pride in every hand-packed jar!

Sampling and Seed Talk by Slow Food Atlanta


Slow Food discusses their organizations goal to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.

Rasmussen Honey


Join Mark and Steve Rasmussen as they discuss their journey from backyard beekeeping to twenty-five organically managed hives on Dillwood Farms. Their goals are to produce local honey for friends and neighbors while doing their part to sustain the honeybee population, provide improved pollination of local plants, and encourage others to try this rewarding hobby!

Slavery & Food Discussion

11:00 am, Noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm

Learn about the vegetables that evolved from African cooking to the dishes we think of as traditionally Southern today.

Smith Family Farm Garden Tours

11:00 am, 1:00 pm

Explore the historic and cultural roots of each of the Smith Family Farm’s interpretive gardens with our resident Historic Farmer.

Storytelling, Betty Ann Wylie

11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm

Enjoy hearing traditional Southern folktales and learning about the history behind them. Betty Ann Wylie, a local storyteller, is a gentle Southern belle with a mischievous imp hidden deep inside who will bring these tales to life!

Additional Ongoing Smith Family Farm Activities:

  • Petting Zoo, by Little Red Barn
  • Blacksmithing
  • Woodworking
  • Cornhusk Dolls

Musical Performances

Sourwood Honey

Smith Family Farm – Noon, 2:00 pm

Sourwood Honey takes no prisoners as they kick up some traditional old time tunes, tip their hats to incredible artists, and end up creating a sound that borders folk, Americana, and old time. Toe tapping to nearly tear jerking tunes and a rotating medley of banjo, ukulele, banjukuitar, washboard, and guitar keeps this duo picking, grinning, and singing.

Grits and Soul

Mabel Dorn Reeder Amphitheater – 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Grits & Soul are based in Asheville, North Carolina, and fuse mountain bluegrass with soul and blues. At the heart of Grits & Soul are Southern song crafters, Anna Kline and John Looney. Grits & Soul was recently a featured showcase artist at the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, performing in a series of showcases sponsored by Merlefest, Pinecastle Records, and The Mast Farm Inn.

In-town Down-home Dulcimer Band

Garden Overlook – 11:00 am, 2:00 pm

Listen to the musical styling of the In town Down Home Dulcimer Band as they play a variety of folk instruments and sing traditional North Georgia melodies. Having been together for over ten years, this group proudly associates themselves with the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Organization. The mountain dulcimer has been an integral part of North Georgia culture since the 1850s, and the In Town Down Home Dulcimer band uses it to brings to life the hymns and old-time songs of Appalachia.

Food Vendors

Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen

Pressed for Time Paninis

Coca Cola Café, serving Chick-fil-A Noon – 2:00 pm

Honeysuckle Gelato

Local Craft Beers  


About Us

The Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum; two historic houses, 1928 Swan House and 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; Kenan Research Center; Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and the Goizueta Gardens, featuring 22 acres of gardens, walkways, paths and trails. In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House located in Midtown Atlanta.