City of Sandy Springs’ seasonal celebrations bring variety to local culture

From fireworks to parades, the City of Sandy Springs offers a variety of seasonal celebrations and commemorations that have become staples of the local culture.

The following free events have become annual traditions in the city. Note that exact dates, formats and locations may change year to year, especially as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest info, see the official City calendar.

Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration

One of the oldest City events, this annual tribute to the Civil Rights movement icon has changed over the years, originating with a “humanitarian award” ceremony and later shifting into a nonprofit showcase. Today, the tribute is a “family-friendly” event with interactive art projects and a film about King and his activism on equality and equity. Usually held on the official federal holiday at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs.

The glow from the Take It to the River Lantern Parade. (Credit: Visit Sandy Springs)

Take It to the River Lantern Parade

A recent addition to local traditions, this spring event is participatory, with attendees invited to make or buy paper lanterns and parade with them to the Chattahoochee River at sundown. Lantern-making workshops precede the event, which includes food, entertainment and children’s activities. Folks are also welcome to just watch the parade. Usually held in early June at Morgan Falls Overlook Park.

The “Stars & Stripes” fireworks fill the sky at their former location at the Concourse Center. These days, the July 4 display is held at City Springs. (Credit: Visit Sandy Springs)

Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration

This major annual favorite is a fireworks show with picnicking, food trucks and live music. Long held at the Concourse Center near the King and Queen skyscrapers, it is now based at the City Green park at City Springs. It’s traditionally held on Independence Day, July 4.

Children enjoy some not-so-scary Halloween trick-or-treating during “Spooky Springs” at Abernathy Greenway. (Credit: Visit Sandy Springs)

Spooky Springs

Another relatively recent addition to local celebrations, Spooky Springs provides a fun and “not-so-frightful” trick-or-treating event for younger children. It includes costumed characters, children’s activities and food trucks as well as the trick-or-treat candy stations. Usually held at Abernathy Greenway Park.

Veterans Day Tribute

This annual observance of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, typically includes a keynote speaker and a color guard and is well-attended by local veterans. Long held at the Concourse Center, it now typically takes place at City Springs, either at the City Green park or indoors in a theater.

The “Village” of miniature houses at Sparkle Sandy Springs. (Credit: Visit Sandy Springs)

Sparkle Sandy Springs

Sparkle is an all-purpose holiday celebration centered on a “Village” of decorated miniature houses on outdoor display at City Springs from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. In early December, a community parade with floats comes to the Village, culminating in the lighting of a tree and a menorah. Music and other entertainment are part of the event.