What started off as a neighborhood block party in 1980 has evolved into one of the biggest festivals in Alabama, and it’s taking place this Saturday right here in Madison. The Madison Street Festival is celebrating its 32nd birthday this year and promises to be bigger and better than ever!
We’ve put together an event guide below that will help your family not miss a moment of this annual event.
Morning Parade & Crowd Tips
If you have a choice, get to the event early and in time for the Parade at 8:30AM. It will take some time to park and find a good spot, but it’s well worth it. There’s free parking at the city stadium off Hughes Road and a free shuttle runs to downtown Madison from the stadium. Crowds at the festival are thinest in the morning and (portapotties cleanest!) and get more dense as the day progresses and soccer games are over. Also keep in mind there’s no Fall Break this year for local schools, and that might make the festival an even more popular weekend destination.
New & Improved Children’s Area
Family festival-goers of the past might remember that there is lots to do for kids, but that there was a cost associated with some of the activities. That’s not the case this year – all of the activities have been underwritten by local sponsors so that your little ones can frolic for free. Animals of all sorts will be there for cuddles at the petting zoo, and the pony rides are new this year and sure to be a hit. You can bounce around in Jump To It’s inflatables, and make crafts with the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, the Madison Police Department, Burritt Museum, and Sci-Quest. Play parachute games with The Little Gym of Providence, and get your hair & nails styled at the Paul Mitchell kid’s booth, or swing by the Rocket City Mom booth (#F45) for a session with Gabrielle’s Face Painting. If that wasn’t enough, a Magic Show with Darrell Osbourne and a Reptile Show at the Exhibit tent will all but guarantee a HUGE nap Saturday afternoon. And it’s all free! Click here for a detailed list of kid’s activities.
Have you ever had a fried Oreo? You won’t be disappointed. All the other staples will be there too – sno-cones, cotton candy, burgers & hotdogs, popcorn, nachos, BBQ, gyros, gumbo, ice cream, funnel cake, lemonade, and so much more. Everything will be reasonably priced, and packing wet wipes in your purse is a must.
Arts & Crafts
One of the best things about the Madison Street Festival is strolling around downtown Madison and perusing all the incredibly talented local artists and crafts booths. It’s a great time to pick up some unique holiday gifts for friends, family, and teachers, and support local small businesses at the same time. There are gorgeous hand-made children’s clothes & accessories, gifts for the sports lover, pottery, paintings, jewelry, holiday and home decor.
There will be three locations in the festival to enjoy live entertainment: the Norfolk Southern Church Street Stage, the Gazebo Concert Stage, and the Alabama Telco Credit Union Exhibition Area. To make it easy for you to narrow down your choices, here are our Kid Picks!
- For animal lovers there will be three Reptile and Amphibian Shows at the exhibition area: 10:30AM, 12:30PM, and 3:00PM.
- Our favorite Irish Dancers from the Fitness Arts Center perform at 11:00AM on the Church Street stage, then a short break and Tina Turner (aka Dorothy Cole) will take the stage for a fiesty show.
- For some live music the whole family can groove to you must check out The Thumbless Hitchhikers at the Gazebo Stage at 10:30AM.
- Throughout the day at the exhibition area you might spot the Rolling Arsenal of Derby Girls, the Alabama Ghostbusters, a Car Show, or Tom Robichaux, a local graffiti artist demonstrating what they do best.
These are just the highlights – of course there is much more music, demonstrations, and dancing to be had! Check out the complete festival stage schedule for details or leaf through Madison Living’s event magazine about the Street Fest.
Saturday, October 6th on Main Street in downtown Madison, AL
Parade begins at 8:30AM; event closes at 5:00PM
Free and open to the public