690 miles of bargain bliss starts here in Gadsden, Alabama. You should, too! Sale starts at Noccalula Falls Park and heads north up the Lookout Mountain Parkway toward Chattanooga. Gas up, empty your trunk and slather on the sunscreen. This is one funderful road trip that can’t be missed!
Aug 15-24, Statewide. Alabama Restaurant Week. 1-800-252-2262. www.alabama.travel. Various restaurants--Restaurants around the state, including many featured in the popular brochure "100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die," invite diners to experience the wonderful culinary scene of Sweet Home Alabama. Participating restaurants will offer specials throughout the week.
Aug 23-24, Eutaw. Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. 205-372-0525. www.eutawchamber.com. Free. Historic Greene County Courthouse Sq.--Unique celebration which brings together craft persons, musicians, dancers, storytellers, food specialist, artists and community workers--all of whom are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
This two-day event portrays the Attack on Fort Mims and marks the beginning of the Creek Indian Wars. Living history demonstrators include re-enactor settlers, militia, and Redstick Creek Indians. Experience battle re-enactments, and demonstrations of early crafts (basket weaving, blacksmith, pottery, skins, flint napping).
Sept 19-20, Decatur. Riverfest Barbecue Cook-off. 800-524-6181. www.decaturjaycees.com. Ingalls Harbor Pavilion Meeting & Event Center--10 a.m.-midnight. The Alabama State Barbecue Cook-off features barbecue teams from across the South and the entire country, all competing for a total of $20,000 in cash prizes - and bragging rights too, of course. Come enjoy live musical entertainment, children's activities and more.
Sept 27, Bayou La Batre. Taste of the Bayou, 26th Annual. 251-824-4088. www.bayoulabatrechamber.com. Admission charged. Bayou La Batre Community Ctr.--A seafood tasting event, featuring thirty-plus booths with succulent dishes prepared by local and professional chefs. Tickets are limited. 5-8 p.m.
Three days of expertly guided tours - on land and water - to prime birding spots on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail with evening speaker events and a free, daylong Bird & Conservation Expo. Trips and evening events require advance registration. www.AlabamaCoastalBirdFest.com
Oct 4-6, Mobile. Bayfest Music Festival. 251-478-5679. www.bayfest.com. Downtown--A weekend of entertainment on multiple stages, with music genres including country, classic rock, R&B, rock, pop, jazz, gospel and acoustic tunes. Special children's area. Weekend passes available; children 12 and under are free. Visit website for more information. Fri., 6 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 2 p.m.-midnight; Sun., 2-10 p.m.
Oct 4, Hoover. Bluff Park Art Show, 50th Annual . 205-822-0078. www.bluffparkartshow.com. Free. Bluff Park Community Center & Park--Always held on the first Saturday in October, this juried fine arts show attracts the best artists in the southeast and beyond for a one-day celebration of artistic talent. Meet the artists and enjoy seeing and purchasing their works of art in a beautiful wooded park setting. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. .
Oct 9 - 12, Gulf Shores. National Shrimp Festival. 251-968-6091. alagulfcoastchamber.com. Free. Gulf Shores Public Beaches--Held each year during the second full weekend in October, this event is one of the nation's premier outdoor festivals featuring more than 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace, children's activity village, 10K/5K run on the Saturday of the Festival, and of course, shrimp. Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m..
Oct 10 -11, Troy . Pioneer Days . 334-566-3597. www.pioneer-museum.org. Admission charged. Pioneer Museum of AlabamaHorse and wagon rides, trips on the Pioneer Express, Native American camps with demonstrations of candlemaking, spinning, weaving, quiltmaking, blacksmithing, drum, dance, etc. Friday is School Day. 9 a.m.-5 p.m..
Oct 11, Selma. Riverfront Market Day. 334-412-8550. www.riverfrontmarketday.com. Admission charged. Water Ave.--Various artisans and craftsmen market their wares along historic Water Avenue. Food vendors offer everything from spicy Southern-style barbecue to chicken on a stick, Oriental fare, Greek salads, Polish sausage, hamburgers, turkey legs, funnel cakes and curly fries. Experience the tunes of Dixieland, blues, Southern rock and country while you browse open-air booths piled with colorful quilts and handbags, wooden bowls and childrens toys. Shop beneath wrought-iron balconies for barnwood and cedar birdhouses, baskets woven with wisteria and kudzu, monogrammed gifts, handmade jewelry, pottery and much more. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Oct 25-26, Florence. Alabama Renaissance Faire. 256-740-4141. www.alarenfaire.org. Free. Wilson Park--The park is transformed into Fountain-on-the-Green for an entire weekend, with vendors, demonstrators and performers on location. Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun, 1-5 p.m.
Blount County Covered Bridge Festival. 205-274-2153. www.blountoneontachamber.org. Free. DowntownThe high point of the beautiful autumn season in Blount County, the Covered Bridge Festival brings the entire area alive with arts and crafts vendors, vintage cars, children's activities, food and music, tours of the renovated, historic covered bridges, a 5k run, quilt show, and pancake breakfast. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..
Magic City Classic. 205-977-9335. www.themagiccityclassic.com. Admission charged. Legion Field--The Alabama A&M University Bulldogs of Huntsville and the Alabama State University Hornets of Montgomery meet annually in Birmingham for this traditional football rivalry featuring exciting half-time band action. This is the largest black college football rivalry in the country. Please check the website for all the latest information, including pre-game activities.
Wiregrass Heritage Festival. 334-794-3452. www.landmarkpark.com. Admission charged. Landmark Park--Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of cane grinding, syrup making and other traditional farm activities. Plus food, music, antique farm equipment, an old fashioned tractor pull and parade, and the Landmark Park Quilt Show. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
334-793-4323. www.nationalpeanutfestival.com. National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds--The nation's largest peanut festival is held each fall to honor peanut growers and to celebrate the harvest season. Festivities include amusement rides, animal acts, agricultural displays, music concerts, beauty pageants, arts and crafts displays, contests, food, a two-hour parade, and tons of peanuts. Fri., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., noon until; Mon., 5-10 p.m.; Tues., 3-10 p.m.; Wed., 5-10 p.m.; Thurs., 4-10 p.m.
Frank Brown Songwriters Festival. 850-492-7664. www.fbisf.com. Various venues--The festival provides an atmosphere to promote all writers, whether they had written hit songs which made people open their eyes and view the world in a different way or they are aspiring writers and musicians who knew they could do the same but needed a forum in order to get their music out to the world.
Nov 27-Dec 31, Huntsville. Galaxy of Lights. 256-830-4447. www.hsvbg.org. Fee for attractions only. Huntsville Botanical Garden--A magnificent two-and-a-half-mile long holiday light extravaganza featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. Special exhibits include a holiday village, dinosaurs, wild animals, a magical twinkling icicle forest, garden scenes, animated snowmen and the twelve days of Christmas. 5:30-9 p.m..
Dec 13, Wetumpka . Christmas on the Coosa. 334-567-1384 or 334-567-4811. www.cityofwetumpka.com. Free. Gold Star Park & riverwalk--Christmas extravaganza with arts and crafts, parade, food, quilt show, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River culminating with a spectacular fireworks exhibition at dusk.
Jan. 3, 4, 5 Scottsboro. 1st Monday Weekend Trade Days. 256-574-3100. www.jacksoncountychamber.com. Free. Downtown Courthouse Square--A blend of antique show, craft fair and rummage sale, where bartering, haggling and swapping of goods has not passed on with time. Held the first Sunday and Monday of the month. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Mar 5-Mar 9, Selma. Bridge Crossing Jubilee. 334-526-2626. www.bcjubilee.org. Admission charged. National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. The weekend is a commemoration of the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" and the Selma to Montgomery March. Activities include a pageant, a dance, women and youth conferences, a parade, festival, interfaith service and National Voting Rights Hall of Fame induction.
Southern Makers is an annual event that celebrates creativity in Alabama. Our purpose is to bring together handpicked top talent - artists, chefs, breweries, craftsmen and designers - to one central place, making it easy for adventurers to get a sampling of Alabama’s best.
Jun. 20, Brewton. Alabama Blueberry Festival. 251-867-3224. www.alabamablueberryfestival.com. Burnt Corn Creek Park. This festival has original arts and crafts, car show. There is also a children's section, live entertainment, blueberries, blueberry bushes, cookbooks and food. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.