2017 has been a busy year for Explore Gwinnett. March brought our inaugural Burger + Brews Week, and in May we kicked off our new “Seoul of the South” Korean food trolley tours (also in June, August and September). Summer showcased Gwinnett’s top chef-driven restaurants as we hosted the 13th Annual Gwinnett Restaurant Week, where over 4,000 diners enjoyed three-course dinners for just $25/$35 per person. So, now as the summer heat fades away and the cooler fall temperatures begin to prevail, it’s hard not spend your days and nights at one of Gwinnett’s many outdoor events, festivals or concerts or parks.

And choosing what to do every weekend can be a challenge – so at Explore Gwinnett, we decided to make a month of it! Celebrating arts, culture and entertainment, every October we kick off ‘ARTober” – our celebration of all things arty in Gwinnett. Through ARTober, our goal is to celebrate the arts, engage our visitors in local arts, elevate events by adding nightlife elements, and highlight through social media, email marketing and website the 100+ arts, cultural and entertainment events going on in Gwinnett during the month. ARTober Gwinnett also coincides with National Arts + Humanities Month, now in its 31st year.

While some of our planning + programming is still in progress, we are especially excited about a couple of new events we are planning for October. And no surprise to anyone who knows us, we like to eat. And drink. A lot.

So with our friends at the award-winning FUMI, we are going to celebrate the culinary arts with “Sake + Sushi,” combining culinary education with food demonstrations and, well, beer. (fun fact: sake, while known as rice wine, is actually beer). Our website calendar of events,, will also highlight some of our favorite culinary events throughout the month, from craft beer tastings to chef’s tables.

Another event we are supercharged to host was created in partnership with the Aurora Theatre. Known affectionately as “Spirits + Spirits,” (And yes, we realize that there is a theme forming, and it’s alcohol). But we all know – Gwinnett needs more nightlife options!

Nationally known storyteller Milbrey Birch, for whom storytelling is truly an art form, will headline “Spirits + Spirits,” where Birch will bridge the mythic and personal, and bringing an evening of original works to our Aurora Theatre. Other partner events include the North Gwinnett Arts Association Jazz Fest in Suwanee, the Norcross Arts Splash and the stunning Diwali Festival at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn. There will be other featured events, and we’re finalizing our programming this month. We can’t wait to announce it on our ARTober website,

Other ARTober activities to look forward to include buskers, live performers and other artists gracing our cool downtowns and outdoor theatres throughout the month. We’ll have great ticket giveaways on our social media pages (Facebook. com/exploregwinnett) to enjoy mainstage performances of Abigail/1702, Lawrenceville Ghost Tours, or ARTRAGEOUS, the nationally touring interactive art and music experience that will at Infinite Energy Center on October 10 for a one-night performance.

Our destination website, will promote and showcase a full range of arts, cultural and entertainment events on our October events calendar – over 125 event days will be featured. We can’t wait to celebrate all that art brings to Gwinnett, elevating every experience that our cities and towns offer. Painter Pablo Picasso summed it up best of all. Simply put, “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”


—Lisa Anders

Lisa is the Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett’s official tourism office, and also serves as Gwinnett’s Camera Ready/film liaison representative to Georgia’s film/TV industry.