Alabama has some of the best festivals around, and even though this year is nearly half over, you still have time to check out many festivals before the year ends. Let’s take a look at 14 Alabama festivals that visitors keep coming back to every year.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic - Decatur
The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic will be held May 23-24 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Decatur. In addition to more than 60 hot air balloons taking off, visitors will enjoy a tractor parade, a pedal tractor pull, and the popular Alabama Jubilee Fireworks Spectacular.
2. Hank Williams Festival - Georgiana
A tribute to the late country music superstar Hank Williams, the Hank Williams Festival will take place June 5-6 on the grounds of Williams' childhood home and museum in Georgiana. At this festival, visitors will enjoy live musical performances, arts and crafts, and lots of delicious food.
3. 9-1-1 Festival - Haleyville
The 9-1-1 Festival celebrates Haleyville's role in making the first 911 emergency call, which took place on February 16, 1968. This festival is a family-friendly event that honors Haleyville's police, fire, rescue and emergency personnel. A parade, car show, and concert are just a few of the events visitors will enjoy. The 9-1-1 Festival will take place June 5-6.
4. Magic City Brewfest - Birmingham
The Magic City Brewfest, held at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, will take place June 5-6. Visitors will learn all about craft beer at this festival and will get to sample the best beer Alabama has to offer. There will be over 200 individual beers available this year. If you attend this festival and plan to drink a good bit, don't forget to bring along a designated driver.
5. Helen Keller Festival - Tuscumbia
Held in Tuscumbia at Spring Park, the Helen Keller Festival pays tribute to "America's First Lady of Courage." Just a few of the things visitors will enjoy include: a parade, musical performances, arts and crafts, historic tours around Tuscumbia, trolly rides, and "The Miracle Worker" play at Ivy Green - the birthplace of Helen Keller. This year the festival will take place June 23-28.
6. W.C. Handy Music Festival - Florence
The W.C. Handy Music Festival, which takes place July 17-26, is a week-long celebration honoring the legacy of the "Father of the Blues" at various locations throughout the Shoals area. Festival goers will enjoy a parade, concerts, athletic events, music in various venues, and so much more at this festival.
7. Sweet Tater Festival - Cullman
Celebrating all things sweet 'tater, the Sweet Tater Festival, in Cullman at Smith Lake Park, will take place September 6-7. Just a few of the things visitors will enjoy include: arts and crafts, entertainment, a street rod car show, and of course sweet 'taters cooked any way imaginable.
8. Athens Grease Festival - Athens
Enjoy all things fried at the Athens Grease Festival, taking place in Athens on September 26. Sure, eating healthy is important, but for one day out of the year, festival goers are encouraged to try foods such as fried Oreos and fried bologna sandwiches. Also, don't forget to grab a bed sheet for the annual toga contest.
9. Alabama Butterbean Festival - Pinson
Every October, butterbean fans flock to Pinson for the Alabama Butterbean Festival. This festival debuted in 2006 and is home to the "World's Largest Pot of Baked beans." The Alabama Butterbean Festival will take place October 2-3 and some of the events include: Alabama Butterbean Pageant, fireworks show, 5K race, car show, camel rides and music. Food vendors will be selling everything from BBQ to, of course, butterbeans.
10. BayFest Music Festival - Mobile
Alabama's largest music festival, BayFest Music Festival, will take place October 2-4, in downtown Mobile, and is expecting a crowd larger than 200,000 guests this year.
11. Alabama Festival of Flavor - Foley
The Alabama Festival of Flavor, which takes place on October 3 in Historic Downtown Foley, features the many flavors of local and regional foods, wine and craft beer. Festival goers will enjoy watching cooking competitions and taking an evening stroll down the streets while sipping wines and savoring food favorites from local restaurants.
12. National Shrimp Festival - Gulf Shores
Visitors will enjoy fresh-from-the-gulf seafood at this four-day National Shrimp Festival, taking place October 8-11 in Gulf Shores. Just a few of the things festival goers will enjoy include: musical entertainment, a sand sculpture contest, and 200 pounds of shrimp per day prepared by some of the area's best chefs. 200 pounds of shrimp per day? It's no wonder this festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors annually.
13. Peanut Butter Festival - Brundidge
Brundidge was once home to two of Alabama's peanut butter manufacturers, Johnston Peanut Butter Mill and the Louis-Anne Peanut Butter Company, and on the last Saturday of October, the town honors its heritage with the Peanut Butter Festival. Just a few of the events visitors will enjoy include: 5K Peanut Butter Run, Peanut Butter Recipe Contest, Nutter Butter Parade, old-time demonstrations, and the construction of Alabama's largest PB&J sandwich. This year the festival will take place on October 31.
14. National Peanut Festival - Dothan
The National Peanut Festival, which just so happens to be the nation's largest peanut festival, will take place November 6-15 in Dothan - the "Peanut Capital of the World." At one time, this festival, which began in 1938, only lasted 3 days. It now lasts 10 days and more than 150,000 guests attend annually. Some of the activities visitors will enjoy include: animal attractions, concerts, amusement rides, livestock shows, and the Miss National Peanut Festival Pageant.
This list is only a small fraction of the festivals held in Alabama, so I’m sure y’all can add to it. Is there a festival held in the town/city where you live? Do you plan on attending any festivals during the remainder of this year?