Whether you are a University of Georgia student or resident of Athens, no matter what time of year it is, the city is always exploding with nightlife and events. Whether it be a speaker breezing through town, a new restaurant opening, music blasting throughout Pulaski Street or a celebrity commenting on the charisma of the town, Athens’ charm is on everyone’s lips.

Here at The Red & Black, we decided to give a list of seven unforgettable moments that took place in 2018 that we had the pleasure of covering this past year.

1.  Clarke Central High School’s prankster praised by comedian John Mulaney

Clarke Central gained some quick social media fame in April of last year, due to a 45-minute uninterrupted marathon playing of Tom Jones’, “What’s New Pussycat,” —  a known bit in John Mulaney’s stand-up. After the school alerted parents of the incident, celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, who is the parent of a student attending, posted a screenshot of the email to Instagram. After Acheson posted it, Mulaney was soon to follow with a quick “Bravo” to the brave soul who committed this act.

2. The 22nd AthFest consumed downtown Athens for the weekend

The famed festival has returned annually for over two decades and crowds still flock to the city from all over to check out the talented multi-venue line-up that comes to perform at the AthFest music and arts festival. Last year, the festival took place from June 22–24. With the festival covering almost every square inch of downtown, performers braved the summer heat and played on through the storms. Performers ranged from Kishi Bashi to The Connells, and the music that filled the streets left something for every audience member.


Kishi Bashi performs at AthFest Music and Arts Festival in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, June 23, 2018. (Photo/Jason Born)

3. 20th anniversary of Athens PRIDE draped Pulaski Street in all the colors of the rainbow

In September, members and allies for the LGBTQ community came in droves from Athens and surrounding areas. Organizations like Georgia Equality and the Athens Area Humane society came out to provide information on resources available to the community and share their support. Dance music rang through the festival while multiple drag performers — including members of the community and Latrice Royal from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” —  came together to celebrate the growth of the PRIDE festival over the years.

4.  Above Athens Balloon Festival took to the skies

As spirals of colors filled the air, a crowd of residents came to wander through Sandy Creek Park to look at hot air balloons rise in the Athens skies. On Sept. 22, 2018, the event gave attendees the chance to sit and view the balloons take flight, allowed children to get their face painted or even the chance to take a tethered hot-air balloon ride.


All 5 hot air balloons light up at the end of the Above Athens Balloon Festival at Sandy Creek Park in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, September 22, 2018. (Photo/Caroline Barnes, caroline.barnes3710@gmail.com)

5. Annual Wild Rumpus weekend allowed for spooks and spectacle

The annual Halloween two-day celebration called upon “all freaks” to show up, show out and parade in their costume best, and took place from Oct. 26–27. Last year, the weekend kickoff party featured singer and comedian Unknown Hinson and many Athens residents marched through the streets of downtown, disguised in the outfits of their choosing. The weekend closed out with the Royal Rumpus Ball featuring Linqua Franqa, and on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre, a performance by The Booty Boyz.

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White Rabbit Collective performs on the street before the 10th annual Wild Rumpus Parade on Saturday, October 27, 2018, in downtown Athens, Georgia. The Wild Rumpus Parade is open to all who want to participate, including animals, so long as they come in costume. (Photo/Miranda Daniel, mirandadanielphoto@gmail.com)

6. Chick-fil-A replaced Five Guys on the corner of downtown

The news on the street for the past year was the replacement of the downtown Five Guys with a walk-in only Chick-fil-A. While many were curious about the details of the new restaurant — like its times of operation and its close proximity to the Chick-fil-A located at Tate Student Center — the restaurant chain has since infiltrated downtown Athens, so all residents can get their chicken sandwich fix. The official opening took place on Nov. 5, 2018.


Kieth Metcalfe from Chick-fil-A’s Support Center looks at his laptop before the grand opening of the new Chick-fil-A on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in downtown Athens, Georgia. This new Chick-fil-A location at 101 College Avenue is experimenting with a grab-and-go concept, where customers will be served through windows rather than indoors, and later hours on Thursday and Friday nights. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

 7. “Queer Eye’s” Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown filled Tate Grand Hall for inspirational advice and insight into their personal lives

The electric atmosphere of the sold-out talk was an unmatched experience and quite possibly one of the most anticipated events of the year, which took place on Nov. 30, 2018.  “Queer Eye,” a show about not only making over an individual’s looks but helping them to improve their lives, quickly took the world by storm in 2018. The show offers charismatic and genuine hosts, including none other than Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown. Brown and Porowski presented “An Evening with Queer Eye” for free to University of Georgia students. Throughout the night, they divulged information on their personal lives, the show and even took questions from fans in the audience.


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