Twice a year, the Smyrna Jonquil Festival is held at the Village Green in downtown Smyrna and is full of arts, crafts, local businesses, food, and fun! Here’s my guide to the Smyrna Jonquil Festival:
First Things First – What Is a Jonquil?
If you’re new to Smyrna, the Jonquil City, you might be wondering what the heck a jonquil even is. A jonquil is a yellow trumpet-shaped flower with dark green tube-shaped leaves that are in the same family as daffodils. You’ll find jonquils all around Smyrna because ever since they were brought to the are in the late 1800’s, the flowers have popped up each spring with very little care. Here’s hoping my jonquils will bloom next spring so I can be part of the tradition!
Twice a Year Means Twice the Fun
The Smyrna Jonquil Festival happens twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. Both festivals take place on a Saturday and a Sunday. The main part of the festival takes place at the Village Green, a big grassy patch off of Atlanta Road with a roundabout where games, booths, and entertainment are set up. The festival spills over into the Market Village where there are even more games and food stalls running along King Street in the back.
This year’s Spring Jonquil Festival had 175 arts and crafts booths, 15 food booths, local Smyrna businesses, an entertainment stage, and a lots of children’s activities.
The Jonquil Festival is great for a day of family fun, even the family dog, and best of all – it’s free!
Where to Park
Parking is also free at the Jonquil Festival. You can find parking around the Market Village, behind City Hall and the Smyrna Public Library, on the neighborhood roads surrounding the area, all the way down to the Smyrna First United Methodist Church parking lot. We’ve never had any trouble finding parking for the festival.
What to Do at the Jonquil Festival
The Smyrna Jonquil Festival has a variety of entertainment, from the kids’ area to shows and performances. There are a bunch of areas for kids to play: the main kids’ area is on the Village Green with games and bouncy castles and inflatable obstacle course “rides”. There are more of these “rides” by the food, and there are also games at the Market Village. You will have to purchase tickets to get on the “rides” though.
The shows and performances are great as well. This year, they had Lady Houdini, an escape artist who is able to get out of a straight jacket, magically take off a man’s jacket and put it on under her ropes and bindings in under 10 seconds, and escape Henry Houdini’s famed Water Torture Cell. Not only has she broken Houdini’s record for number of times escaped, but she does it all in full view instead of hidden behind a curtain.
Of course the main event for me this year was A Grizzly Experience, an educational showing of three brown bears – Yogi, Dottie, and Leah. While the presenters talk about bear facts and bear safety, the three bears play around, munch on treats, cool off in their pool, and steal hearts. And I sat right up front, pressed against the fence, getting as close to these bundles of pure joy as possible.
With nearly 200 arts and crafts booths, there’s plenty of shopping to do. Vendors have unique hand-made items from wood work to organic beauty supplies. The bug eating plants seemed popular this year; we walked by their tent a couple of times and by the time we were leaving, nearly all of the plants had sold out. There are also local businesses represented at the festival, with plenty of them giving away freebies, as well as a couple pet adoptions.
Our favorite thing to do is shop the Smyrna Public Library book sale. Books are incredibly cheap, all sold for under $3, so you can stock up on must-reads or even maybe-reads. If you go later on Sunday, they will usually have marked down the book prices so you can get most for $1. All proceeds go the the Friends of the Smyrna Library.
Food & Drinks
The food vendors at the festival are cash only. If you forgot to bring spare cash, there are ATMs set up nearby. The vendors sell your usual festival food fare: fried Oreos, fried chicken, pizza, funnel cakes. There are also other fun foods to try like the noodle vendor, Jamaican vendor, New Orleans vendor, and lots of dessert options.
The Jonquil Festival sells beer at the end of the food vendor walk. The bars and restaurants are also open at the Market Village during the festival. Smyrna has a new open container policy for the downtown area, which means you can walk around the Jonquil Festival with alcohol, and you can walk around the downtown restaurant district with open containers from bars and restaurants any time now!
What’s your favorite spring festival in Atlanta? Let me know in the comments!