By Katie Fallon

Heritage Sandy Springs will continue a long-standing community tradition by hosting the 22nd annual Sandy Springs Festival Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16.

The two-day festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. One-day admission to the event is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 18 and free for children age five and younger. Members of Heritage Sandy Springs are admitted free.

The festival is held on the grounds of the Sandy Springs Historic Site, home to the Williams-Payne House, and its bordering streets, which include Sandy Springs Circle, Hilderbrand Drive, Blue Stone Road and Sandy Springs Place.

Visitors of all ages will find something of interest at the festival, including the Artist’s Market, Business and Civic Expo, Children’s Park, Collector Car Show, Food Court, Heritage Crafters, a pet parade, Teen Territory, a silent auction and various opportunities for live entertainment.

The inspiration for the festival, which will feature many local artists and entertainers, is to continue the grassroots efforts that saved the Sandy Springs Historic Site and the Williams-Payne House and started the quality of life journey the community has been on for decades prior to becoming a city in 2005.

The historic site, which includes the original spring for which the community was named, was first threatened with commercial development in 1985.

“Moving the Williams-Payne House to the historic site marked a very important day in Sandy Springs history,’ said Dottie Megel, president of the Fulton County Federation of Garden Clubs at the time of the move. “The county closed the roads and we christened the house that night with a celebration complete with champagne!”

Those efforts resulted in the formation of the Sandy Springs historic Community Foundation, which is now known as Heritage Sandy Springs. The festival is an expansion of the Founders Day Celebration started by the original organization.

“We hope to continue this tradition of community and history through a celebratory festival this year,” said Heritage’s Special Events Director Christy Nickles.

As always, the festival will be preceded by the Doug Kessler Lightning 10K. The race was renamed after the sudden death of resident Doug Kessler, the race’s founder, in 2005. Kessler included “lightning” in the race’s name because of the event’s fast route, which starts at Target, heads west on Mount Vernon Highway, right on Old Powers Ferry Road, left on Northside Drive and back east on Mount Vernon Highway to end at Target.

Kessler’s wife Margie has since continued his vision for a premier road race in Sandy Springs.

“I look forward to continuing to help grow the event that Doug held so close to his heart,” Kessler said. “It will be a great event for our city and will serve as a great reminder of Doug.”

In fact, race director Gary Jenkins said this year’s race will continue the fast-paced tradition begun by Doug Kessler. As usual, the race will also serve as a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race.

“For 16 years, the runners of Metro-Atlanta and Georgia have been treated to one of the fastest 10K races in the state,” Jenkins said. “This year, these same runners will also be treated to one of the fastest 5K races around.”

Registration for the race will begin at 6:30 a.m. in the Target parking lot on Johnson Ferry Road on Sept. 15 and the race will begin at 7:30 a.m. The 10K is also accompanied by a 5K and one-mile Fun Run, which are open to all runners, and a Tot Trot open to children age five and younger.

The Sandy Springs Festival is the largest annual event in the city and, according to Heritage Sandy Springs, is expected to draw 20,000 visitors.

For more information visit or call 404-851-9111.