ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — After skipping a year because of the pandemic, the three days of fine art and live music at the 85th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival starts next Friday. CW69’s Valencia Jones met with organizers for a sneak peak of what you can expect to find at the city’s longest-running festival.

Flamenco dancer Marianela Belloso-Pinto says members of the Flamenco Dance Company and Academy can’t wait to hit the stage at the 85th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival. “We’ve been doing Flamenco in Atlanta since 2003,” she said. “When we got that email that said the Dogwood Festival was happening, we were really excited.” Performers are ready to once again participate in the longest running and third oldest fine arts festival in the country, which will take place in Piedmont Park from August 6-8.

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“We didn’t actually know if the festival was gonna go or where we would be with the COVID situation,” said Brian Hill, the executive director of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Organizers say they’ve worked through several hurdles, and folks in Atlanta have a lot to look forward to at the event, including the 13th International Stage lineup on the Coca-Cola Main Stage. “We’ll have three days of a fabulous good time. We’ve got some excellent entertainment. We’ve got international performances throughout the weekend on the Main Stage,” Hill said.

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They’re planning for all the fanfare everyone has come to expect over the years. Kids and dogs will have their share of activities, and there’s also a 5K run. Artist Dawn Kinney Martin gave us a peek of some of the artwork festival goers will see. “This is plain air, which means painting what you see,” she said while doing a demonstration outdoors at the park. “It’s gonna be a great opportunity for artists to get back here and show and sell their work.”

Hill says the return of the festival comes with something new. “Friday night, we’re putting on a Midtown Burlesque and Cabaret, something we’ve never done at the Dogwood Festival before,” said Hill. In terms of COVID safety, he says people bring their own masks if they choose, and they will have some to provide as well. “We’re following the CDC guidelines and all the guidelines the city has put forward for us,” he said.

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They’re collecting $5 donations at the gate to help cover COVID financial constraints. Hill also said VIP tickets are going fast. For more information on the event, click here.