Six Dogs Compete in Piedmont Park Dog of the Year Finals

Sookie, 2-year-old Samoyed, crowned winner

The contest took place in Piedmont Park’s small dog park and the finalists were all visibly excited to showcase their abilities. The doggos were to be judged on their behavior and charisma. While the finalists prepared for their routines, attendees enjoyed the wide array of goodies available including free King of Pops. As the humans mingled and the dogs played with the tennis balls scattered across the park, anticipation mounted for which pup would become Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.

At 11 a.m. the finalists lined up behind the stage, eager to strut their stuff. One by one, the dogs crossed the stage to cheers and hollers from the growing crowd for a pooch parade. After the parade, the finalists went into their individual performances.

Charlie, a golden doodle from Chamblee, showed off his sitting and walking skills. A 5-year-old Siberian husky named Azlan sang along to his owner’s harmonica and Bear, a 1-year-old Australian and German shepherd mix demonstrated his handshake skills. Sookie the Samoyed surprised the crowd by jumping through a hula hoop to catch her favorite toy—a tennis ball. Showcasing her expert running skills, Barefoot, an 18-month-old Siberian husky sprinted across the park. Finishing out the routines was Boston, a golden retriever who shook paws with his owner.

Ponce, our honorary judge and the winner of last year’s contest joined judges from Bark ATL, Dancing Dogs Yoga, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy to make final deliberations. After a short wait, Sookie was announced as the winner!

Sookie swept the judges off their feet with her hula hoop performance and charming charisma. We are so excited to have her as our Dog of the Year and look forward to having her help in promoting the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s vital role in enhancing one of the best places in Atlanta for pups—the Piedmont Park dog parks. For more information on our dog-friendly events and to support the dog parks visit: piedmontpark.org/dogparks

Photo Credit: OldSpeak Creative

Recap: Runaway Bride 5K!

If you were in Piedmont Park last weekend and thought you saw a woman running in an ankle-length wedding dress, you weren’t just seeing things. Atlanta’s Run Away Bride 5K, a wedding-inspired race hosted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, took place in the Park on Sunday, July 22.

Race participants, a medley of married, engaged and single folks, wore wedding attire of all kinds for this unique race benefiting the Conservancy. Many dressed up in fun veils and bowties, while others took it up a few notches, clad in full bridal garb. Park visitors were treated to a wedding processional of sorts as the runners made their way past! There were tutus, bouquets, bridesmaid’s dresses, and a 20-year-old bridal gown worn by its original owner, Carol, who also held an impromptu bouquet toss.

Thank you our runners for dressing up for the occasion; Exhale Spa for sponsoring the event; and W Hotel (Midtown), Spa Sydell, Urban Body Fitness and Dancing Dogs Yoga for providing prizes for our winners.

Ryan and Sammi: A Dockside Proposal

Ryan and Sammi met as law students at the University of Florida. Friends at first, they grew closer when they both ended up moving to Orlando to begin their careers. Soon after, Ryan realized Sammi was the “one!”

With an engagement now on the horizon, Ryan set out to look for the perfect place to ask Sammi to marry him. He decided Atlanta would be an excellent option, a unique choice considering neither of them live in the city.

He scoured the net for the perfect place to propose, eventually deciding on Piedmont Park. Nestled in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, the Park offered a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Ryan wanted someplace that offered an air of seclusion, but wasn’t too much of a departure from typical outings in Atlanta’s midtown area.

Where in Piedmont Park did the proposal take place?

Ryan decided to propose to Sammi at Dockside, a lakeside location surrounded by a gorgeous array of trees.

“Aside from its undeniable beauty, the Dockside gave us an opportunity to have a fairly private moment in an outdoor setting,” he said.

The area was closed off and decorated with romantic standing flower bouquets and lit candles.

Sammi couldn’t believe how well Ryan had done at choosing a place that allowed them to feel like they were in their own little world.

“I’m still a little in shock at what a great job Ryan did at planning the proposal and what a gorgeous location he picked.  It was fairly private in that when we walked down the steps and onto the dock, the trees surrounding the water hid all the other people in the park.  It really felt like our own private moment.  And then when I said yes and Ryan stood back up, everyone who could see us through the trees clapped and yelled congratulations.  It was adorable!”

How did the Piedmont Park Conservancy help?

Jane Rollo, Director of Facility Rentals at the Piedmont Park Conservancy, was instrumental in helping to realize Ryan’s dream proposal. She directed him to Courtney Surber Paz, an Atlanta-area event planner, who assisted in coordinating the details.

“She helped me visualize the proposal setting, select and utilize the right florist to create a romantic proposal setting (and have the flowers moved back to our hotel room after the proposal itself), procure a driver, a violinist, and, of course, a photographer,” Ryan said.

Sammi was positively thrilled with the way the day turned out.

“Honestly, everything about it was amazing.  I was so surprised and overwhelmed in the best way possible, and the beauty of the park definitely contributed to that. It was the perfect proposal location.”

Final Verdict?

“We’re going to make a point of coming back to Atlanta, probably annually at least, to celebrate our special moment there. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience with the Park. From start to finish, the Conservancy staff helped Sammi and I have a wonderful experience in a wonderful setting. I trusted them with one of the most important moments of my life, and I was right to do so.”

If you are interested in renting out Dockside or another venue for your special day, or if you would like to tour wedding venues please visit: piedmontpark.org/weddings

First Day of Summer: Are you in the know?

Although the heat has been blazing in Atlanta for the past couple of months, June 21st marked the first official day of summer. Now that the season is finally here, the question is how to spend it? To make this summer one to remember, head to Piedmont Park and involve the family in some outdoor fun! Whether it’s swimming the afternoon away or going to one of the Park’s many events, Piedmont Park has plenty of options for how you can make the most of the warm weather and clear skies–all in Atlanta’s backyard.

Events, Events and More Events

For an exciting weekend activity, rally up your crew and add a Park event to your summer schedule. For starters, the Horizon Theatre will be performing their hit musical, “Freaky Friday” on the Promenade through June 23. Attendees can bring blankets, low-back chairs and a picnic packed with dinner for a night of song, dance and boisterous laughter! With July arrives our Runaway Bride 5K, an event dedicated to the brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and “always-a-guests” out there looking for an excuse to flex their running/walking chops (and get a free t-shirt while they’re at it.) Dog lovers should check out a pup-friendly dog contest happening in early August at which one lucky dog will be named Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

Grab your towels and pool supplies for a cool down at Piedmont Park’s popular Aquatic Center, which features a pool with four lap lanes and plenty of shaded tables. There’s also the Legacy Fountain Splash Pad, a popular spot for kids who enjoy zig-zagging through its 70 jets. When you get hungry, check out our concessions: King of Pops, offering ice-cold popsicles or The Market where you can indulge in a savory lunch with options like the “Slow Pork & Mango Cuban” sandwich and the “Heart of the Park” hot dog.

Bikes R Us

Imagine this: You’re on a bike, cool air graces your face with each tire rotation and you’re surrounded by lush greenery. This could be you at Piedmont Park, where visitors can pedal on paved paths that lead to every corner of the Park for ample exploration. No bike? No problem. Atlanta’s low-cost Relay Bike Share bicycles are available to rent, allowing anyone to hop off their ride at seemingly every turn to take in the beautiful scenery.

Learn Something New!

Take a leisurely stroll through the Park and learn some interesting tidbits about the Park’s storied past by going on one of our free docent-led history tours. Lead yourself on a self-guided tour to explore the most photographed locations in the Park or make a game of spotting the some of the oldest trees in Atlanta. Bird walks are offered in collaboration with the Atlanta Audubon Society; hone your observation skills and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of unique bird calls.

Don’t Miss Our Future Events!

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Pitch in for Piedmont Park by Volunteering

From events to park beautification to history tours, volunteers were there for it all. Without them, Piedmont Park could look quite different! For instance, a year ago the perimeter of Lake Clara Meer was shrouded in bushes that obscured views of the Atlanta skyline. Volunteers were essential in helping to clear the shrubbery to reveal the picturesque cityscape thousands flock to see annually.

“Volunteers are critical to the enhancement and preservation of the Park. I think the great thing about volunteering is the tremendous impact you’re making on the community.”

Kalia Edmonds, Community Involvement and Events Manager, Piedmont Park Conservancy

This past year, the Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomed over 3,487 volunteers who logged in over 9,649 hours towards the care and upkeep of Atlanta’s favorite park.

With 200 plus acres in the Park, there is no shortage of opportunities for those looking to get involved.

  • Volunteers at the Green Market might find themselves helping vendors set-up their booths or assisting in the education garden.
  • For those who are well-versed in history, try your hand at leading walking tours as a Tour docent! Docents teach visitors unique facts as they explore the Park.
  • Many volunteers assist with the Park’s frequent events, which often bring in thousands of visitors each year. Some of those include the Landmark Luncheon, Splish Splash Doggie Bash and Party for Piedmont Park.
  • For one of the most visible ways to pitch in, come aboard our Park beautification team to work on projects like laying down mulch (95% was done by volunteers last year!), pruning, or removing invasive plant species.
  • Sometimes the Piedmont Park Conservancy has a special projects for which they need a few extra hands. For those who still want to help but would rather do so indoors, check out becoming an administrative volunteer.

How you can you get involved?

The Conservancy is always looking for motivated individuals or groups who are eager to help make the Park even better. Volunteers simply choose the area where they’d like to contribute or where they feel their skills would be most beneficial. All skill levels are welcome and all are appreciated! Those who’d like to volunteer on a more consistent basis should consider attending Pull for Piedmont, a monthly park beautification effort where attendees enjoy refreshments and meet others in the community.

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Piedmont Park Aquatic Center Celebrates 10 Year Restoration Anniversary

Northside Hospital Sponsorship Enhances Pool Experience

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is celebrating the Aquatic Center and Pool’s 10 year anniversary of its restoration in 2008! The past decade has been filled with fun and excitement at the pool, serving over 50,000 visitors each year.

The pool restoration added features: a children’s splash area, accessible beach entry, a current channel, water jets, four lap lanes, large pool deck, shade arbor, grassy area, and new showers and changing rooms. The pool also offers a concession stand for drinks and snacks in the hot summer sun. The massive restoration allowed the pool to flourish into the perfect summer getaway for local Atlantans.

In celebration of its 10 year restoration anniversary, Northside Hospital has committed to a yearlong sponsorship to further enhance Piedmont Park’s Aquatic Center.

“Piedmont Park is one of the Atlanta Region’s greatest assets, and one of the reasons Northside Hospital sought out this partnership. We believe that urban greenspace is a key part of healthy lifestyles. So for our employees, our patients, and their families, connecting Northside to Piedmont Park makes sense.

Our support of the Aquatic Center is especially important to us, as it provides awareness of both swimming and skin safety during the warm months. Northside is excited to expand our outreach in Midtown Atlanta, where many of our patients live and work. Piedmont Park, with its proximity to the Beltline and other city parks, is experiencing a surge in popularity – Northside is proud to join with them.”

– Lee Echols, VP of Marketing and Communications, Northside Hospital

With the new sponsorship, Northside Hospital will be collaborating with the Piedmont Park Conservancy to use their mascot – Sammy the Stork – to interact and engage with children and families about health, fitness and other wellness facts and fun.

Learn more about the pool and how you can join us this summer! – https://www.piedmontpark.org/things-to-do/aquatics-pool/

Lauren and Martin’s Piedmont Park Wedding

After meeting in college, Atlanta couple Lauren and Martin Avery got engaged and set out on a journey to find the perfect Atlanta wedding venue!

Without a recommendation from a catering company, the young couple would have never known that Piedmont Park is home to a variety of unique wedding venues. “The park is beautiful and presents so many opportunities for great pictures. I loved the flexibility of the venue,” said Lauren after seeing what Piedmont Park had to offer.

The Park was a memorable place for the couple, and they decided to hold their ceremony at Greystone. Lauren explained why Greystone was the perfect venue for her, “Greystone has so much character, you don’t have to go all out with decorations because its stone walls and high ceilings are so unique.”

Couples looking for a beautiful wedding venue, surrounded by nature, in the middle of busy Atlanta: Piedmont Park is the perfect spot. “If you want a memorable venue, you should look into getting married at the Park…you’re not just getting the venue; you’re getting the Park and its beauty,” says Lauren.

Consider Piedmont Park for your wedding and check out some of the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s venues – https://www.piedmontpark.org/weddings

Lauren and Martin’s Love Story:

It was a beautiful day in downtown Atlanta on the campus of Georgia State University. Lauren found herself on a street she never took at that time of day, as she walked back from missing her teacher during her office hours. On her way to the library, she saw a handsome young man she had never seen before named Martin, who was on his way to class. Catching each other’s eye, Martin and Lauren passed one another, walking in different directions. However, Martin came back and introduced himself. And three years later, Martin surprised Lauren, with the help of his family and her parents; he proposed on Thanksgiving in November of 2015.

Working with the Piedmont Park Conservancy Staff and Vendors:

It was very easy to work with the Piedmont Park Conservancy staff and the vendors. They were easy to reach by email and phone. Jane is very competent, accommodating and fun to work with.  It’s obvious the staff and vendors want you to have a memorable experience.

Favorite Part of Wedding:

The ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding. It was the prettiest day, perfect for an outside wedding. I was able to see all of our friends and family gathered to see us exchange our vows and marry each other.

Green Market is So Close We Can Taste It!

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is making the final arrangements for 2018’s Green Market. March 24th is quickly approaching, and the Conservancy is excited to get this year started right! With over 40 vendors, Green Market will be the place to be on Saturday mornings.

You can look forward to walking into Piedmont Park on a beautiful spring morning and experiencing live music, occasional chef demonstrations and all the best local products to choose from! We can look forward to seeing all the smiles and conversation that will happen at Green Market!

The hand-picked vendors provide Atlantans with the highest quality products in the heart of the city including: fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses, pastas and more. Food won’t be the only product available. There will also be pet supplies, bath and body products, handmade goods, and candles. For those who come hungry, there are prepared food and beverage options including baked goods, popsicles, food trucks, and other tasty eats.

For families, there is a child friendly activity area and the nearby Noguchi Playscapes for little ones to play and engage with other children. For dog owners or fans, Green Market is a well-known activity for on-leash dog visitors. Stop by the dog vendors, grab a coffee and some food, and then head over to our off-leash Dog Parks.

Find the list of our vendors, musicians and other information at our website: piedmontpark.org/green-market

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

Experience the Doggie Dash & 5K

Celebrating its 5th year anniversary, dogs and humans alike are getting excited for Piedmont Park’s famous Doggie Dash & 5K. Tails are wagging and tongues are out as dogs all over Atlanta eagerly prepare for the big event!

This year, the Piedmont Park Conservancy expects to see pups of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels, as they are adding a shorter one-mile dash to the event.

Imagine.

Dogs tugging on their leashes and owners warming up beside them.

The horn blows and the race for top dog begins!

As the feet and paws of the runners flash by, people watch anxiously from the outside to find out who will come in first!

People with their four-legged friends will enjoy park and lakeside views before the dog (or human) drags their partner past the finish line.

But the excitement doesn’t end there. Dogs can be seen everywhere picking up treats and toys from the participating businesses and vendors, making new friends, or laying out on the grass.

Finally, the top dog is announced! The top dog gets their name displayed on the Top Dog bone at the Piedmont Park Dog Parks. Winners will also be announced for those without dogs.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity! Sign up for the Doggie Dash & 5K with your furry friend! The event benefits the Piedmont Park Dog Parks and is hosted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy. The race is open for humans with or without dogs.

Make sure to register by March 8th for the early registration discount:  Doggie Dash Website

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

22nd Landmark Luncheon to Celebrate “Power of Play”

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is excited to celebrate The Power of Play at this year’s Landmark Luncheon! The annual Landmark Luncheon will be held on Thursday April 26, 2018 from 11am to 1pm at The Promenade in Piedmont Park. People gather from all over Atlanta in their best spring attire for this loved event. This year’s special theme ties into our outstanding program for the event; Arthur Blank, Owner of Atlanta United FC will be speaking about how important sports are to the Atlanta community. The Atlanta Track Club will be honored with the Legacy Award for continuing to make Atlanta a more active city, and The Coca-Cola Company will be receiving the Green Giant Award for its support of recycling and water stewardship programs within the park.

Piedmont Park is considered Atlanta’s playground with activities offered for children and adults alike. With 200+ acres of space to roam it is hard not to stay active in the park, from the Active Oval sports, and dog parks, to the playgrounds and picnic tables, everyone has an opportunity to find their niche! This year the Landmark Luncheon wants to promote the active lifestyles of Atlantans supported by Piedmont Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy hopes to see you under the tent! This year’s presenting sponsor is Cox Conserves. Guests will enjoy complimentary champagne at the reception sponsored by Georgia Power as well as lunch catered by Dennis Dean.

By supporting the Piedmont Park Conservancy, you are helping Piedmont Park to continue to be a place full of life and natural beauty in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Atlanta. The Piedmont Park Conservancy raises $3 million annually to maintain the beautiful park and all the programs and activities it has to offer.

Please join us for this time-honored tradition! Tickets available at https://www.piedmontpark.org/landmarklunch

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton