By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
By family, for family
Festival holds grand opening on Saturday
Meagan Hair, 11, bounces on a giant monkey at Monkey Joe's. - photo by Jennifer Sami
It may not be the official happiest place on Earth, but the children bouncing, climbing and jumping throughout Midway Family Festival on Tuesday didn’t know that.

With nearly 96,000 square feet of activities, and about 20 family-focused stores, Neal Freeman is expecting Saturday’s grand opening to be the first of many busy days.

“It’s the ultimate in family friendly. It’s the ultimate in mixed use,” said Freeman, president of developer Watkins Retail Group. “Ours is what a true family does, at least my family.

“We went to swimming meets, we went to ball games, we went to the playground, we went to birthday parties, we went to dinner — that’s what we did as a family.”

As a family, the Freemans now run Midway Family Festival. Daughter Kimberly handles leasing, while brother Woody works on the center’s operations.

“I must say it’s been one of the more rewarding things that’s happened to me in my business career is to be able to work with [my daughter],”
Freeman said. “And I think people, when we go on sales calls together, there’s an immediate comfort factor of a father-daughter working together, and it was fun for just the two of us.

“We didn’t plan it that way, but it did work out that part of the Family Festival was that it was being leased by a family.”

The center is anchored by Swim Atlanta, which opened October, and Monkey Joe’s, a party and play center, which debuted in November.

The other two anchor tenants — Discovery Point Child Development Center and Warehouse Ministry, a faith-based youth center with a recording studio, outdoor sand volleyball court and a concert hall — haven’t opened yet.

“But I think there’s going to be a lot more people that are aware of what this complex is all about, and not just Swim Atlanta and Monkey Joe’s,” said Brooke Hawkins, owner of Monkey Joe’s. “It’s all designed for family and kids.

“And with this community not having something like this, I think it’s just a welcome to attract families every day.”

Swim Atlanta was the first tenant of the center. Head coach Landon Harris said business started off well due to word of mouth from other locations, but it draws more swimmers with each company that opens.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “With the whole village opening, I think we’re going to do a lot for this area. We’ve already seen some growth with a couple of the other groups that are here already ... business has been great.”

Tutoring company E.nopi, World Champion Tae Kwon Do and S&S Team Sports are among the center’s other tenants. Restaurants include Pepperoni’s Pizza, Smoothie Daze, Smokejack Southern Grill & BBQ and Construct-A-Burger.

There is also an outdoor “boundless” playground for all children, including those with disabilities, as well as a baseball field leased by the West Forsyth Diamond Dawgs.

But it’s not all fun and games. The center also houses Vickery Orthodontics and Dentistry for Children.

“The nice thing about it is we’re right next to Midway Park,” Hawkins said. “While Billy’s playing baseball, Sally may want to come over here to Monkey Joe’s, or she may want to get a bite at another place.

“It’s a place you can go to and spend a considerable amount of your day here and enjoy each other’s company. That’s the whole purpose of this whole complex is family involvement.”