Apr 25-27, Birmingham. Magic City Art Connection, 31st Annual. 205-595-6306. www.MagicCityArt.com. Free, except for Corks & Chefs (ticketed event). Linn Park. This award-winning Top 20 Southeast Tourism event allows visitors to enjoy art from 215 juried artists from around the country, more than 40 interactive art workshops and activities for kids, mouthwatering food creations, 100 wines and many craft beers from around the world to sample, great live music and cultural performances on various stages, large scale art and architecture installations. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Apr 25-27, Orange Beach. 29th Annual Interstate Mullet Toss & Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party. 251-980-5118, 251-974-1510. www.florabama.com. Admission charged. Flora-Bama Lounge & Package--Fun, food and many activities on the beach. Gates open 9 a.m., children's toss at 10 a.m., adults at noon.
The Purdy Butterfly House, the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house, is full of fluttering wings, sunning turtles and dozens of shy, but happy button quail in! We invite you to come out and visit this sanctuary of beauty and serenity where you’ll see a variety of butterflies. On any given day, visitors will usually find at half dozen yellow and red eared slider turtles sunning themselves on the rocks of the Nature Center pond or a couple of box turtles digging in the dirt. And did we mention those adorable little button quail? A flightless bird, the button quail like to follow each other in and out of the landscaping in their lush green habitat. Not all of the wildlife is in the Garden! Come on over to the Purdy Butterfly House and see what’s growing on today!
Southern Makers is an annual one day 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.
May 3, Tuskegee. George Washington Carver Arts & Crafts Festival. www.carverfestival.org. Free. Downtown on the Square Annual community co-sponsored event celebrating the life and work of Dr. George Washington Carver with music, arts, crafts and other multi-generational activities. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. .
May 9-11, Springville. Homestead Hollow Arts and Crafts Festival. 205-467-2002. www.homesteadhollow.com. Homestead Hollow--Festival featuring handmade and hand decorated arts and crafts in a recreated pioneer village with demonstrators, children's activities, live entertainment, delicious food. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
May 11, Jasper. Art in the Park. 205-221-1711. www.artsofwalkercounty.org. Fee for participants only. Gamble Park--Juried art show of 80+ artists displaying paintings, sculpture, jewelry, and many other types of fine arts & crafts, along with entertainment, theatre, a silent auction and more. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
May 16-18, Gulf Shores. The Hangout Music Festival. 251-948-3030. www.hangoutmusicfest.com. Gulf Shores Beach, The Hangout. A festival featuring an impressive lineup of bands and musicians performing on the white, sand beaches of Alabama's beautiful Gulf Coast.
May 17, West Blocton. Cahaba Lily Festival. 205-938-7304 or 205-938-7622. www.cahabalily.com. Free. Cahaba Lily Center, Main St.--Morning program is held indoors and features a leading authority on the Cahaba Lily with other wildflower speakers. Lunch is provided, followed by a trip to view the lilies on the beautiful Cahaba River.
Jun. 21, Brewton. Alabama Blueberry Festival. 251-867-3224. www.alabamablueberryfestival.com. Burnt Corn Creek Park. This festival has original arts and crafts, car show, motorcycle show and ride. There is also a children's section, live entertainment, blueberries, blueberry bushes, cookbooks and food. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Jun. 22-28. Chilton County Peach Festival. 205-755-2400. Various areas. Join in as Chilton County celebrates Alabama peaches. Pageants and tournaments are held throughout the week, along with the "peach run," art exhibitions, a cook-off, fishing tournament, live music, parades, live and silent auctions, barbecue and much more.
Jul 4, Decatur. Spirit of America Festival. 800-232-5449 or 800-524-6181. www.spiritofamericafestival.com. Free. Point Mallard Park. Celebrate the nation's birthday at one of the state's largest patriotic festivals, featuring children's activities, live music, the Miss Point Mallard Pageant and a large fireworks show.
July 18-27, Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals. W.C. Handy Music Festival. 256-766-7642. www.wchandymusicfestival.org. The Shoals (Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals), various locations--week-long celebration honoring Florence native, W.C. Handy, "Father of the Blues," with over 200 events taking place including concerts, plays, art exhibits, picnics and more.
Jul 18-20, Dauphin Island. Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. 251-471-0025. More than 3,000 anglers from at least 24 states will fish in the Gulf of Mexico for three days for a chance to win more than $400,000 in cash and prizes across 30 categories.
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.
Oct 2014, Call or see website for exact date. Talladega 500 Weekend. 877-462-3342. www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. Admission charged. Talladega Superspeedway--NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series come to Talladega Superspeedway for a weekend of incredible racing..
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 5-12, Cullman. Cullman Oktoberfest 2013. 256-739-1258: 256-734-0454 www.cullmanoktoberfest.com. Free. Festhalle Market Platz--A week of activities with authentic German food, costumes and music. Other events include a dog show, arts & crafts, kid's fun area, entertainment and more. See website for locations and times.
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.