There are two months in the year when festivals are the most popular in North Alabama. One is May because it’s finally warming up. September is the other because it is finally cooling down. As the temps dip down below scorching, make plans to attend some or all of these fun North Alabama festivals to celebrate the arrival of fall.
More than 70 artisans and craftsmen will make their way to Scottsboro to participate in a juried show and offer their artworks and crafts for sale when the Scottsboro Three Arts Club hold their annual Art Sunday event this weekend. Along with arts and crafts, the event offers musical entertainment, children’s activities, photography contests and food and beverage vendors. This year will be the 49th annual event.
Set for Sunday, September 4 at King Caldwell Park, Art Sunday features nationally recognized artists and emerging, local creators from across northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to shop the work of 70-plus artists and makers between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The art exhibition is held rain or shine. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for students.
Two photography contests will also be held, one for youth and one for adults. The first place winners for the youth contest will win a digital camera donated by Unclaimed Baggage and the second and third place winners will receive a Walmart gift card. Winners for the adult contest will receive a Walmart gift card.
General Joe Wheeler Birthday Celebration
Don't miss the General Joe Wheeler Birthday Celebration on Saturday, September 10 from 10am-2pm. There will be horse and buggy rides, crafts for the kids to make their own souvenirs, guided tours of the grounds, and music provided by local country & oldies group The Remnants, and Southern gospel group Joyful Noise! Food will also be available for purchase from Effie D's Pop-Up Restaurant.
Over 100 barbeque experts and connoisseurs are expected for the return of WhistleStop on September 9-10, Huntsville’s two-day battle of the barbeque. The event invites professional and amateur grill masters to show off their barbeque expertise as festival goers experience the excitement of a cook-off while live music and the smell of barbeque fills the air. This year the annual fundraising event for the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum is embracing a football tailgating them, Tailgate Throw-down.
WhistleStop 2022 offers a menu of music, barbeque and fun in a tailgate atmosphere and this year’s event will take place again at John Hunt Park in Huntsville. The barbeque competition features a professional division sanctioned by Kansas City Barbeque Society; the Shadetree (amateur) division, judged by certified judges; and a WhistleStop Wing Thing where the public decides the winner. Amateurs will serve up chicken and ribs, while the professionals will showcase their best chicken, pork, ribs and beef brisket to see who will be proclaimed the winner. Kansas City BBQ Society Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday with Shadetree BBQ awards following at 8:30 p.m. Many of the backyard cooking teams competing in the Shadetree competition will have samples available for tasting and everyone attending WhistleStop on Saturday between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. will have a chance to vote for their favorite where $1 equals one vote. To vote for the People’s Choice Awards, place coins or cash in the jar provided at the cook-site. The team with the most money will be announced as the People's Choice Award winner during the awards presentations at 8:15 p.m. on the main stage. Participating teams will have a sign at their cook site.
For the first-time visitors can upgrade their general admission ticket and gain access to the new WhistleStop Tasting Tent. A Tasting upgrade includes exclusive access to the Tasting Tent area, along with special samplings of craft spirits, local beers and select wines. Throughout the course of the festival, Tasting Tent patrons will also be treated to an alternating delectable sampling of smoke-inspired small-bites. The Tasting Tent will be open on Friday from 8 to 10:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 11a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Only a limited number of upgrades are available. Cost is Friday $10/person and Saturday $20/person.
Another public tasting will be available in the Tasting Tent on Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with the Wing Thing competition where festivalgoers will choose the winner of the best chicken wings. Tickets are $10 and include 10 wings and a soft drink.
In addition to the barbeque competition, this year the festival will offer a new non-competition tailgate spot for groups that just want to come out and enjoy the atmosphere. Set up like a huge outdoor sports bar, the Tailgate Throwdown Zone will have three super-sized LED screens showing football games throughout the day and night. There will also be live music beginning at 5 p.m. both nights, classic cars on display (Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.), food trucks for those who prefer other food options and the Family Fun Zone, featuring an inflatable bounce house and the EarlyWorks STEM Tinker Tent filled with an array of hands-on activities that are sure to entertain and educate. Tail gate games will also be available for those that want to test out their backyard game skills. This area is included in the festival admission.
All activities take place at John Hunt Park located at 2151 Airport Road Southwest in Huntsville. Festival hours are Friday 4 to 11 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission per person is $10 per day. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.whistlestopweekend.com beginning Aug. 12. Parking is provided on the north side of the festival grounds and is $5 per car or $25 for an RV. Serving as the principle fundraising event for the EarlyWorks Family of Museums, the Festival’s proceeds support the expansion of the Museum’s STEM education initiative. For more information, visit www.whistlestopweekend.com or call 256.564.8100.
A celebration of the culture and traditions of American Indians who once lived in north Alabama returns this year to downtown Tuscumbia for two days of educational and free family fun on September 9-10, 2022, with activities taking place in and around Spring Park in downtown Tuscumbia.
The Oka Kapassa: Return to Coldwater Festival is a free family event featuring Native American heritage, entertainment and education through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Friday, September 9 is school day at the festival. Approximately 1,000 students, from as far away as Walker County in Alabama and southern Middle Tennessee, will attend.
On Friday evening at 5:30 p.m., the Tuscumbia Roundhouse will hold a cultural history event presented by LaDonna Brown of the Chickasaw Nation. This program will be followed by a presentation of Tuscumbia history related to Native Americans and a trolley tour of the Tuscumbia witness sites of the Indian Removal Period. Festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Concessions will be available.
On Saturday, September 10, festivities get underway at 9 a.m. with grand entry at 10:00 a.m. Special crafts, fancy and traditional dance demonstrations, storytelling and music will all be on the agenda and authentic Native American artwork and crafts will be available for purchase.
Several well-known American Indian cooks will attend and prepare foods that were developed by their ancestors. Juanita Gardinski and brother Billy Thompson (Choctaw) are returning to Oka Kapassa to serve delicious and authentic Native American foods such as buffalo stew and burgers, fry bread, Indian tacos, fish and roasted corn. Gardinski will also demonstrate bead work and share Choctaw culture with attendees at Oka Kapassa.
Boom Days is a two-day festival centered on music, art, and historical artifacts and pays tribute to the City of Fort Payne’s humble beginnings and rich cultural past. Set for September 16-17 in downtown Fort Payne, Boom Days Heritage Celebration offers live music, a children’s entertainment area, arts and crafts, model train exhibit and museum tours at the Fort Payne Depot.
The two-day event kicks off Friday, September 16 with live music from 6-9:30pm. Live music returns Saturday morning, September 17, at 10am running continuously until 9:30pm and the streets and parks will be filled with arts and crafts, artists and artisans as well as numerous food vendors.
Over a dozen acts are slated to perform during the two-day event culminating Saturday evening with headliners DAD Company, CCR Tribute Band, Billy Dean, Joe Nichols, The Locals, Wildwood, Dusty Smith, Matty Croxton, John Sells, Gospel by Sara Roe, The Underwoods Gospel, The Underwoods Motown, and Elisha Tatum and Friends. All music is presented for free.
(photo courtesy of Boom Days)
Monte Sano Art Festival
The Monte Sano Art Festival has been an enjoyed tradition in Huntsville for two decades. The 2022 festival will be September 10-11 and will feature more than 150 of the region’s finest artists in an array of wonderful media. Along with the outdoor festival exhibitors, there will be local food trucks and musicians throughout the park. The Monte Sano Art Festival is always a highlight of the arts calendar!
Eva Frontier Days
A greased pig, frogs and a parade take centerstage when the town of Eva comes together in September for the town’s annual Frontier Days festival. Set for September 17-24, 2022, Eva Frontier Days feature a greased pig chase, a frog jumping contest, a parade, antique tractors, a hayride and much more, providing several days of family-friendly entertainment for all ages.
The Eva Frontier Days Beauty Pageant gets the weeklong celebration going on Saturday, September 17 at 10 a.m. at Charlie's Vineyard at Frost Farm located at 1684 Frost Road. A hayride is set for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20. Cost is $1 per person and includes a free hotdog and drink at the end of the ride. Eva Baptist Church will host an old-fashioned hymnbook singing on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. The agenda for Friday, Sept. 23 consists of music on the square at 6 p.m. Slated to perform under the entertainment tent is Another Town and admission is free.
The big day gets underway on Saturday, Sept. 24 beginning at 9 a.m. with an arts and craft show, food vendors and an antique tractor and car show. Additional activities include live entertainment by The Pylant Family, Dry Creek Bluegrass, Abby Huffnagle and Wildcat Ridge, a parade at 11 a.m. and a pig-calling contest at 3 p.m. The day wraps up at the ball fields with the frog-jumping contest at 4 p.m. followed by the greased pig chase at 5 p.m.
Hartselle Depot Days
The Depot Days Festival rolls into Hartselle September 17, 2022, bringing a day of family-friendly fun and entertainment to the historic depot and downtown area. Hosted by the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by Decatur Morgan Hospital, the free event is a tribute to the railroad industry and its contribution to Hartselle and the North Alabama region.
Now in its 41st year, the Depot Days Festival gets underway on September 17 at 8 a.m. with activities lasting throughout the day until 4 p.m. Activities include an art show, craft vendors, a tractor and engine show, a car, truck and motorcycle show and music performances by Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers, the Ray Sparks Band, and Brick Avenue. A children’s area stage has been added to this year’s festivities and will offer performances by the William Bradford Huie Library, Kim’s Star Twirlers, the College Street Players and BalloonMasterz. There will also be food vendors and a variety of fun and games for children.
In celebration of the upcoming festival, the public is invited to the Down Memory Lane program at the Hartselle First Christian Church on Monday, September 12, hosted by the Hartselle Historical Society.
For more information on the Depot Days Festival, visit www.HartselleDepotDays.com or call the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce at 256.773.4370.
Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride
Motorcyclists from across the southeast will come together on September 17 for a scenic ride across north Alabama to honor Native American Indians that once traveled through the region. Now in its 29th year, the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride travels from Bridgeport in the northeastern part of Alabama to the northwestern town of Waterloo, and along with the celebratory ride, there is a kick-off rally and a three-day Indian Festival for the public to take part in.
The Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride begins at the Alabama/Tennessee state line on U. S. Highway 72 in Bridgeport with riders departing at 8am on Saturday, September 17. The ride travels U. S. Highway 72 West to I-565 West arriving at Redstone Harley-Davidson at approximately 10:30am for an official ride rest and lunch stop. At 12pm, riders will depart onto Mooresville Road to Highway 72 and head west through Athens and Florence arriving in Waterloo at approximately 2:30pm.
Sizzle and Smoke
After a one-year break due to Covid-19 in 2020 and sluggish ticket sales in 2021, the annual Riverfest festival underwent a transformation and is returning next month as Sizzle and Smoke, a two-day competition promising exciting grilling action and good times. The inaugural festival is set for Sept. 23-24, 2022, at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Ala.
Mosaic Mentoring of North Alabama and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Posse have teamed up to offer Alabama's first triple steak cookoff, a Steak Cookoff Association (SCA)-sanctioned event. Anyone can take their skills to the grill and enter the competition as long as they are members of the SCA. Local businesses, organizations and weekend grillers are encouraged to register to compete. Membership to SCA is $40 to join and allows members to cook in as many steak events taking place anywhere in the United States.
For more information including a schedule of events, visit https://www.mosaicnorthal.org/sizzle-and-smoke.html.
Red Bay Founder's Fest
Red Bay presents its annual Founder’s Fest Saturday, September 24, and everyone is invited to the northwest Alabama town for a day of free family fun. Situated under the shade trees of Bay Tree Park, the one-day tribute to the town’s heritage offers contests, arts and crafts, sidewalk sales and live music.
The family-friendly event gets underway at 8:30 a.m. with the King and Queen’s Train Ride of the winners of the beauty pageant, which will be held Sept. 18 at Red Bay High School. At 9 a.m., live music cranks up and festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets and enjoy the sounds. A contest to see who has the best fried pie entries with the best tasting, most unusual and best of show taking home a cash prize, and there will be quilt, coloring and photography contests for participants to take part in.
Additional activities include arts and crafts and an antique car-truck-motorcycle-tractor show. The Red Bay Museum will be open for tours and Weatherford Library will host a book sale and will have entries for the quilt, photo and coloring contests on display. Merchants will offer sidewalk sales, specials and door prizes throughout the day. A variety of festival food will be available, and another crowd favorite are the giveaways to be presented. Prizes will be awarded to the largest family, longest distance traveled to the event, and youngest and oldest attendees.
Bay Tree Park is located between 2nd and 3rd streets, along 4th Avenue SE in downtown Red Bay. Festival hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the festival or to register as a vendor, contact Jennifer Garrett at Red Bay City Hall at (256) 356-4473 ext. 3. Registration forms are available at http://cityofredbay.org/events/founders-fest-registration-forms/. For the latest updates, follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedBayAlabama/.