In­ter won­der­lan­wwwd.

Don’t miss th­ese fa­vorite ATL hol­i­day tra­di­tions

GA Voice - - HOLIDAY GUIDE - By Laura Dou­glas-brown ld­brown@the­gavoice.com

At­lanta may not be a typ­i­cal win­ter won­der­land, but the sea­son is still filled with events and at­trac­tions to get you in the hol­i­day spirit. While not as LGBT-spe­cific as Toy Party or gay cho­rus con­certs, you’ll also find plenty of “fam­ily” at th­ese beloved tra­di­tions. Nov. 17-Jan. 5 at the At­lanta Botan­i­cal Garden www.at­lantab­otan­i­cal­gar­den.org

“Garden Lights, Hol­i­day Nights” at the At­lanta Botan­i­cal Garden is among the new­est tra­di­tions on our list, de­but­ing last year. By turns whim­si­cal and ethe­real, this lovely lighted walk through the 30-acre garden uses more than 1.5 mil­lion low-en­ergy lights to cre­ate a vi­sion that is noth­ing short of de­light­ful. Among the new features this year are the Vin­cent Van Gogh-in­spired “Starry Night Walk and “Liq­uid Lights,” a lighted foun­tain dis­play in the Cas­cades Garden de­scribed as “an icy cool vibe.” Fa­vorites from last year also re­turn, in­clud­ing the “Or­ches­tral Orbs” dis­play set to hol­i­day mu­sic on the Great Lawn. Nov. 22-Jan. 1 in Pied­mont Park www.pied­mont­park.org

LGBT At­lanta’s unof­fi­cial back­yard gets into the spirit with the sec­ond-an­nual Sea­son of Magic. En­joy hol­i­day lights through­out the park, along with a carousel and horse-drawn car­riage rides. While you’re there, don’t miss the ice-skat­ing rink now in its third year at Park Tav­ern. Open­ing Nov. 23, the rink is in a heated tent com­plete with mu­sic and rink-side din­ing. En­joy din­ner from MetroFresh and cock­tails in the Glow Bar. Nov. 21-Jan. 27 in Cen­ten­nial Park www.cen­ten­ni­al­park.com

Billed as the only out­door skat­ing rink in At­lanta, Cen­ten­nial Park’s rink has been a fa­vorite for more than a decade. As you skate, and af­ter, en­joy the Hol­i­day in Lights dis­play, with 20 miles of lights and a nearly 60-foot Christ­mas tree. Dec. 13, 7-8 p.m. in De­catur Square www.de­catur­dba.com

A fa­vorite with fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing many with two moms or two dads, the De­catur Bon­fire warms you up with marsh­mal­low roast­ing around a huge bon­fire and vis­its with Santa in the com­mu­nity band­stand. Nov. 30, 8 p.m. Cobb En­ergy Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre www.cobben­er­gy­cen­tre.com

Sax­o­phon­ist ex­traor­di­naire Dave Koz, who just hap­pens to be gay, brings his Christ­mas Tour to the At­lanta area for the 15th year. “Friends” join­ing Koz this year to of­fer fresh takes on hol­i­day fa­vorites in­clude per­cus­sion­ist and singer Sheila E., known for her work with Prince and Cyndi Lau­per, among oth­ers; “The Voice” win­ner Javier Colon; pi­anist David Benoit and singer/song­writer Margo Rey. Christ­mas with the ASO: Dec. 6-8 ASO Kid’s Christ­mas: Dec. 9 & 16 Han­del’s Mes­siah: Dec. 13 & 15 ASO Gospel Christ­mas: Dec. 14-15 A Very Merry Hol­i­day Pops: Dec. 19, 21-22 www.at­lanta­sym­phony.org

The al­ways-lovely At­lanta Sym­phony Orches­tra of­fers hol­i­day con­certs in mul­ti­ple mu­si­cal styles. Christ­mas with the ASO features 400 singers and mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing the sym­phony, the More­house Col­lege Glee Club, and more. Han­del’s Mes­siah is a tra­di­tional spir­i­tual fa­vorite, while the Gospel Christ­mas of­fers both mod­ern and tra­di­tional pieces. The an­nual Hol­i­day Pops con­cert prom­ises a va­ri­ety show with ev­ery­thing from “the sea­son’s mer­ri­est songs” to Santa danc­ing the jit­ter­bug. Nov. 22-Feb. 18 Stone Moun­tain www.stonemoun­tain­park.com

It’s the least-gay tra­di­tion on the list, and it’s packed with fam­i­lies and kids vir­tu­ally non­stop. But c’mon, it’s snow, in At­lanta! Bring your kids, your nieces and neph­ews, or heck, just round up a group of friends for a day of tub­ing, roast­ing marsh­mal­lows and more. Look up at the Con­fed­er­ate carv­ing on the moun­tain, then look around at the di­verse crowd around you, and see how far the South has come. That’s some­thing to be happy about, at the hol­i­days and year ‘round.

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