Open Streets 2018: A Splendid Time for All

What a difference a year makes! With Mother Nature’s help and lots of preHalloween fun things to do, this year’s Open Streets Emory Village on October 28 was a rousing success. Blue skies and plenty of sunshine attracted crowds of princesses, soldiers, ghosts and ghouls; one estimate put the crowd at more than 2,000.

Several new events made a big impression on Open Streets fans, so expect to see them again next year. Crowds of all ages watched the multiple tracks set up by the Piedmont Division of the National Model Railroad Association. Everybody had an opportunity to drive a train or grab a lollipop from a box car.

Thanks to the environmentalists from the South Fork Conservancy, many more people now realize there is a creek beside the parking lot at Panera Bread Company. Children (and adults) cheered as bright yellow rubber ducks raced down the creek toward the North Decatur Road finish line manned by Georgia Representative-Elect Becky Evans. The first three finishers, marked with numbers tying them to sponsors, received prizes.


The Georgia Bubble Man delighted children of all ages as he released his multiple-sized bubbles into the streets, creating a festive atmosphere enjoyed by all. Some drifted high into the sky before disappearing with a pop, while others encountered more immediate threats, like children’s fingers or signposts.

Several restaurants brought their food outside to the streets so neighbors could taste their wares. The climbing wall, always a huge hit, had a run on young women climbing the hard way – in skirts.

As usual, Glenn United Memorial Methodist Church’s Trunk or Treat was a huge hit. Trunks included the Eyrich family farm, a pirate ship (requiring treat seekers to walk the plank), and an authentic German Root Bier Garten serving root beer and pretzels.

Volunteers from Druid Hills High School spread through the streets, painting children’s faces, helping carve pumpkins, and generally making everyone happy. One of the more creative carved pumpkins featured the spire of Glenn Memorial Church.

Always popular, neighborhood dogs competed for several prizes, including best costume and best-in-show. Celebrity judges—DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader, State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and State Senator Elena Parent — doggedly assessed the fierce competition. There was Darth Vader, a chicken, ghosts, skeletons, a hot dog, a firedog, a pirate, and many others. Penelope, the pearl-adorned pig, watched events from her pen as her mom, Sarah-Reilly Murphy, hawked her homemade animal toys, which also served as prizes for the contests. 

And what’s an event without music, celebrating neighborhood and intown talent, and the daring, flexible performers of the OPA Imperial Circus? The Center for Puppetry Arts Puppet Factory, a crowd favorite, again mesmerized the little ones.

Once again, Emory Village Alliance thanks its sponsors, especially DeKalb County and the Druid Hills Civic Association. Come visit the shops and restaurants of the village soon!

                                                                          —By Sarah Banick.  Photos by Lisa Hill




Pre-Halloween Fun Today at Open Streets Emory Village

Model railroads and a floating duck race arrive Sunday October 28, 2018 at Emory Village’s annual Open Streets party on at the roundabout on North Decatur Road.

“The model trains are going to be a huge hit with kids young and old,” predicts Todd Hill, Emory Village Alliance president. “The Piedmont Division of the National Model Railroad Association is bringing several trains to circle during the event and entertain the crowd from 2 to 6 p.m.” 

The duck race at 5 will bring families to the bridge over Peavine Creek. Environmentalists from the South Fork Conservancy will launch a flotilla of bright yellow ducks from the edge of the Druid Hills Golf Club. Prizes will be rewarded to the sponsors of the first ducks to reach the finish line at North Decatur Road.

“These new additions join the fun we’ve had since Open Streets Emory Village began six years ago,” says co-chair Becky Evans.

“It is always fun to introduce new people to model railroads,” says Sally Bando with the local train group. “Our garden-scale train will let children see the trained up close, and even pick up lollipops from some of the model freight cars.”

“We are glad Emory Village is promoting the beautiful creek running between the roundabouts on North Decatur Road,” says South Fork Conservancy Executive Director Kimberly Estep. “Reminding people of the beauty of this natural creek is an important part of restoring and maintaining it.”  

A Halloween costume parade for all ages of people launches the party at 2, with costume and best-in-show contests for dogs at 3. Another new activity this year is a pumpkin carving contest, beginning at 2:30 with judging at 4:30. Pumpkins are available for sale on site, or you can bring one from home. 

Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church sponsors “Trunk or Treat” from 2:30 to 4. Last year’s event included a dozen car and truck trunks decorated as haunted or otherwise-themed destinations for treats. 

Live music, food, brews, circus performers and street games draw hundreds of neighbors and friends each fall to enjoy car-free Emory Village streets near the main entrance to Emory University.If you must drive a car to get there, park for free in Emory’s parking deck at Barnes & Noble.

There will be non-stop music from a variety of performers, as well as dance demonstrations, a fire truck for children to touch, and games and activities for kids of all ages. Some activities may require a small fee.

Open Streets Emory Village is a pedestrian-friendly event presented in collaboration with DeKalb County by the all-volunteer Emory Village Alliance—a partnership of businesses, neighbors, and Emory University, whose mission is to continue to improve the vitality and accessibility of Emory Village as a work, play, and dine destination.


See the full schedule with more details.