When I posted something about wanting folks to join me at the Atlanta BBQ festival on Facebook a couple months ago, and Doug (who lives in Ann Arbor) expressed interest in coming down, I thought for sure he was kidding. Turns out, he wasn’t, because a few hours before the festival, he was sitting in my office.
We went to Atlantic Station for the festival and began the critical task of trying as much of the different bbq ribs, pulled pork, and brisket as we could possibly hold. And, since our tickets included the “bourbon experience,” we sampled some ryes, whiskeys, and many bourbons. The “pork” in “pork and persecution” was well under way.
(artsy bourbon picture taken from Doug’s Instragram feed)
My bride joined us late, and we met up with my neighbor’s colleague (and amateur bbq competitor), Joey, who had an RV, fans, several coolers of beer, and lots of smoked meat for us to sample. We were the last non-competitors to leave the area, and we would have stayed longer, had our babysitter not had a midnight curfew.
Saturday began the “persecution” in “pork and persecution,” as neither my wife nor I–despite living in Atlanta since the late 1990s–had ever visited the many landmarks of the Civil Rights movement, and my activist 9-year-old daughter has been asking to go for years. Having an out-of-town guest staying with us provided just the impetus we needed, so we started at the MLK Jr national historic site.
We then walked across the street to Ebenezer Baptist Church and went downstairs to hear a presentation about the > 100 year history of the church that concluded with our guide’s (Stephon Ferguson) reciting nearly all of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech in character. It was so moving that I didn’t want to watch it from behind my phone, but I somewhat regret not recording it. It was perfect. We walked over to MLK’s birth home and then visited the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum I believe to be the most impactful of any I’ve ever visited (including the Holocaust Museum in Washington).
Then, it was more pork via Twin Smokers BBQ and off to Turner Field to see the Braves lose a close game to the Diamonbacks–my kids’ first pro baseball game.
They really got into the tomahawk chop.
Then, a heated chess competition broke out between Doug and my youngest.
The match ended in violence.
Luckily, the siren song of fried chicken and bourbon led us to Horseradish Grill and Chastain amphitheater to see Jim Gaffigan.
It was a great show. We stayed up late talking about all sorts of stuff I was too tired to recall, but the weekend was great, and I recommend having a guest from out of town come visit you for a chance to do things in your home city you might not otherwise do. Get on that, readers.
Find some rosebuds to gather while ye may.