Festivals – Big Shanty Festival


The Big Shanty festival was a little closer to home. We live in the town of Kennesaw (which is a Cherokee word for burial ground). Kennesaw was previously known as Big Shanty, because it used to be a Big Shanty town built on the railroad.




The town was the beginning point of the famous Great Locomotive Chase of 1862 during the Civil War.

The General was a steam train that ran between Atlanta and Chattanooga (home of the Moon Pie). In 1862 members of the Union army snuck into Marietta (just down the road) and then on to Big Shanty where they waited for the General to arrive. Once the passengers and crew had exited the train the raiders hijacked the train and headed north toward Chattanooga. As they went along they tore out telegraph lines and damaged bridges in an effort to disrupt the rail link. The Confederates gave chase and eventually got their own train, the Union guys in the General ran out of water which makes it difficult to do the steam part of a steam train and were captured.









Now days the General lives in a Smithsonian affiliated museum in downtown Kennesaw (Big Shanty). What all of this has to do with the Big Shanty festival I am not sure – but I hope you enjoyed the history lesson.

The festival was held in downtown Kennesaw and consisted of a parade complete with School marching bands and some business and community group floats.



As these groups went past, we were showered with lollies (candy), not sure why but obviously a tradition – we scored quite well.

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As this is an election year there were also candidates who are running for District Attorney or County Judge etc, etc walking along kissing babies and shaking hands and giving out more candy. After they had come up to and gone through the hand shaking process and asking for our vote SWTTM took delight in telling them we could not vote any way so they were really wasting their time – most took it well.P1490297P1490280P1490279P1490271

We wandered around the trade displays and craft displays and soaked up the cultural experience that the festival was.

PS – we haven’t visited the museum or actually seen the General yet, I guess that will be for a future post.




Festivals – Dogwood Festival


The annual Atlanta Dogwood festival is held in Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta. I think Dogwoods are the trees that are all through the park, and no connection to Dagwood Dogs.


It was an art and music festival. We enjoyed wandering through the art stalls. We could hear music but we never found the stage.


We sampled a Funnelcake – a Dutch Pennsylvanian “cake” made by drizzling dough mixture into a circle shape in frying oil and then covered in either icing sugar or chocolate or strawberry topping. We shared one between four of us, definitely not something you could eat by yourself – although plenty of people seemed to doing OK by themselves.


It was also interesting because we had recently watched a movie which had a number of scenes in Piedmont park.


I Have No Idea What is Going On


I was driving to work one day and I noticed a billboard advertising a pre-season football game at Georgia Tech. In a previous blog post I wrote about us watching a short amount of the Superbowl, but other than that we have had no real exposure to American football. So we decided to go along to a game.

We thought it would be a cultural experience  – even though we didn’t know much more about the game than that there would be two teams, they wear lots of padding and they throw the ball forward a lot.

It was also free, so we really had nothing to lose.




The game was held at one of the stadiums on the Georgia Tech campus in midtown Atlanta. We had not been to this part of town so the whole thing was an adventure.

We found some parking on campus and then made our way toward the stadium – we had no idea where we were going but just followed people and ended up at the stadium.

On the way to the stadium we walked through a section of the college where the fraternity houses are, and it was just like the movies – load music, empty bottles and cups on the lawn from the previous night’s parties, and in front of one of the houses a bunch of guys playing drinking games.




The football game was between two Georgia Tech teams so they were going pretty easy on each other, but that didn’t stop the cheerleaders and the band (maybe 150 – 200 strong) getting into it.




The game started and stopped and players swapped on and off and the 4, 15 minute quarters took almost two hours to play through.

We were later told that because it was a pre-season game it was fairly tame and that we would need to go to a real game to really experience American Football – we will see.



One thing that was interesting was when the national anthem was played before the game. Everyone stood and took their hats off and many people stood with the their hands on their hearts – very different from an Aussie sporting event.

Next we need to check out a baseball game.

Love Riot – Newsboys





Our family has enjoyed listening to the music of the Newsboys for years. We of course share a connection because of our Australian and Queensland  roots, although there is now only one Aussie left in the band.

When we heard that they were playing in a nearby church we thought it was an opportunity to good to miss. Plus we could get up close and personal since it was just a small church that seated about 6000.


It was great to sing along to the old DC talk song “Jesus Freak” as well as “Gods Not Dead”.


We had a great night and it was good to have a quick chat to the band after and be able to say gidday to Duncan Phillips the drummer who was from the Sunshine Coast.





The reason we moved to the US was for work, so I had better include a post about that.

We have an office – which looks like an office.


I have had to visit some interesting places for work so far. The Kennesaw Courthouse, council offices and Police station – all in one building and I wasn’t there for the courthouse or the police.


I have also been into downtown Atlanta to the Georgia Secretary of States office, which is across the road from the Georgia Capitol building, and just down the road from the 1929 Fox theatre (The Fabulous Fox).


And we have been to a trade conference with some more to come.


Birthday Girl


Along time ago SWTTM had a birthday. Our family tradition has been to head down to Suttons Beach at Redcliffe and have a BBQ breakfast.

Since we are about 5 hours from the nearest beach we couldn’t do that this year.

We also did not really know where may be good to go for breakfast. We looked at the menus for a few places and decided that Cracker Barrel may be an option for a bacon and egg cooked breakfast.


I was a little worried about what to expect inside when I saw this sign at the door.


There were a few interesting additions (grits may be an acquired taste) but on the whole it was pretty good.



After breakfast (which was almost lunch) we went ten pin bowling which we hadn’t done for a long time. They say McDonalds restaurants are all the same around the world, but there are actually lots of differences, but somehow there seems to be only one bowling shoe supplier.



On the way to the bowling alley we saw a gathering of cars which we decided to stop and have a look at. It was surprising to learn that all of these cars had been driven here and there were no problems with that, despite the fact that some had no mudguards, or only had about 50mm ground clearance.


On the way home from the bowling alley we dropped into the Marietta Diner. I had driven past this place a few times when I was out and about for work and when I realised we were in the neighbourhood I had to stop in and show everyone. It is an iconic American diner from the fifties, and apparently it has great food, so we will have to go back some time.



It was a bit of a different birthday for SWTTM, but they all have been for the last few years.

Kennesaw Mountain



Some of you may have heard that there was a civil war in the United States, before it became the United States.

Near where we live is Kennesaw Mountain. This was a strategic battlefield during the civil war and the location of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (creative) in 1864, during the Atlanta campaign.

The mountain is the highest peak in the Atlanta metro area (551 metres) and has a number of walking trails to the peak.

Like most of my posts the events of this post happened some time ago.


We visited in early spring, before the leaves starting to grow back onto the trees, so the landscape was very bare.

It was also pollen season so there was a fair bit of pollen around, and our car was well coated when we got back.



There were a group of civil war soldiers camped at the base of the mountain – I am pretty sure these were guys who were just dressed up for the weekend.



The mountain is a very popular walking and running trail and was surprisingly busy, but it was an easy walk up and back. At the top there were a couple of cannons and a good view around the area and back toward Atlanta.