Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade
Spooky season is everybody’s favorite time of the year, but if you feel otherwise you should re-prioritize. Spooky Season is certainly a big deal here in Atlanta which has been anticipating the return of the Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade for the first time in 3 years. In 2019 the event was rained out, 2020 was an awful year, and the 2021 festival stayed on the safe side without a parade and with a more dispersed event in the form of a self-guided boozy monster hunt. This year, the festivities and the beloved parade are back, taking place just around the corner from Monk’s Meadery the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd from noon to 7:00 pm.
Featured image credit: @l5pbiz
Saturday & Sunday:
- Bizarre Bazaar Vendor Market with food trucks and booze on Euclid Avenue
- Music at the WRFG 89.3 Stage at the L5P Community Center
- Skate Ramp at Stratosphere Skate Shop
- Rainy Day Revival Old School Freak Show (whatever this is, I’m in)
- Monster hunt where you explore Little 5 for hidden monsters created by local artists. You can officially enter by getting a map at the L5P Biz tent at Findley Plaza for a $10 donation. The first 300 people to take a selfie with all of the monsters win a limited edition monster magazine prize.
- Drag queen karaoke 3:00 – 5:00 pm
- Performances by FLAP and Gateway Theater
- The Parade returns with a new route down Moreland Avenue starting at the Moreland jug handles (intersection of Moreland and Austin Ave by Wrecking Bar Brewpub) and ending at Freedom Park, just a short walk away from Monks Meadery.
One can say that the Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade has been happening for over 20 years since 2001 while others have photos of floats going through the neighborhood from the 1970s. Either way, we can thank Little 5 Points Business Association for putting on this awesome event every year and preserving this once streetcar suburb.
Atlanta’s Coca-Cola Sign atop the Walgreens in Five Points, Downtown Atlanta, photo credit to Wiki user Keizers.
History of Little 5 Points
The story of little 5 points goes back to the late 1880s and the beginning of the streetcar suburbs in Atlanta. At the time, Atlanta’s business district called five points was downtown at the intersection of Peachtree Street, Decatur Street, and Edgewood, where the Walgreens and the Coca-Cola sign are today. Being a highly visited destination, many street car routes emerged connecting surrounding neighborhoods to Downtown Atlanta. Inman Park was one such neighborhood conveniently located at the end of the Atlanta and Edgewood Street Railroad Co., This route traveled downtown along what is now Edgewood street, where the old Trolley Barn still stands today as an events venue.
At the time, today’s Edgewood and Candler Park neighborhoods were their own city of Edgewood. When they were incorporated into the city of Atlanta in 1908 the streetcar route extended east from Inman Park down Dekalb and McLendon Avenues but also north to what is today Virginia Highlands and Druid Hills. The intersection of Moreland, Euclid, and what was Seminole Avenue emerged as a commercial district for Inman Park, Candler Park, and Druid Hills neighborhoods becoming known as Little 5 Points. Here you could get your groceries, pick up your prescription, go to the barber, or see a movie without going all the way downtown.
Fun Fact: Atlanta’s public transportation system was booming 100 years ago with over 200 miles of streetcar routes connecting downtown as far as Stone Mountain and Marietta.
Atlanta’s extensive streetcar transportation system in 1946, photo credit to Wiki user Keizers.
However the arrival and popularization of the automobile in the 1920’s set in motion the “white flight” to Cobb, Forsyth, and Gwinnett. The economic prosperity took a downturn not only in Little 5 Points but also in surrounding neighborhoods. The crime was on the rise even in Inman Park. To add to the problem, in 1961, the “white flight” families needed a “quick way” to get back downtown and this cluster of neighborhoods was facing the construction of the proposed highway I-485 through them. Ever wonder what the purpose of Freedom Parkway’s awkward cut-off is? Picture GA-400 running straight south instead of merging to I-85, then intersecting Freedom Parkway to Langford Parkway.
While we know today that this highway was never built through these more prosperous and better politically connected neighborhoods, the neighborhoods where GA-400 and Langford Parkway were constructed didn’t receive such a fortunate fate.
In 1972 a young individual by the name of Don Bender joined the Little 5 Business Association intending to revitalize the Little 5 business district and put an end to the city’s demolition of homes for the proposed freeway, which already had a tally of 554 homes. To do so they were recruiting young people into the neighborhood and the association. They weren’t able to get loans for homes in city neighborhoods at the time and had to scrape by borrowing money from friends and families to make cash offers. They even established their own community credit union to combat this problem (Bond still exists today). The residents were pitching in to buy and remodel old homes to make the neighborhood more attractive. In contrast to “flipping” the profits were used to repeat the process for more homes in the neighborhood eventually moving on to revitalizing commercial properties. This applied to the L5P Community Building, and the strip where Corner Tavern sits today, which was converted from the Redwood Lounge known for gunshots and bar fights to the L5P Community Pub.
Little 5 Points Davis Plaza Where Seminole Avenue was the 5th intersecting point, photo credit: Pawel Loj.
Little 5 Points Today
Little 5 Points became known as Atlanta’s most eclectic neighborhood where you can feel truly free. But they had to fight to get there. The independent businesses in Little 5 weren’t opened by experienced businessmen, they were opened by passionate young people with little experience. The neighborhood bonded together to keep their independence from big box stores, highways and the government. In 2020 they were named Time Out’s 25th coolest neighborhood in the world, sitting among neighborhoods in Barcelona, Hong Kong, New York, LA, and Paris, ranked based on culture, community spirit, nightlife, food, drinks, and vibes. The Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade is one of the country’s top 10 Halloween Festivals and a staple in Atlanta’s culture. The proceeds benefit the Little 5 Business Association, a non-profit 501c(6) organization, dedicated to preserving Little Five, which today is more crucial than ever with the news of the Star Bar building redevelopment (petition link in the article).
Come let your weird out, Support Little 5 Points, and visit us for our seasonal Basic Witch mead.
Special thanks to Victoria Lemos from the Archive Atlanta podcast with the Streetcars, Inman Park-Part I, and Inman Park-Part II episodes.