Many of you have already planned your summer within an inch of its life, but we’d like to encourage you to take a few days to enjoy the simple pleasures of summer. Stroll down a fairway, ride the ferris wheel, enjoy a game of cornhole, or just soak up some tunes while eating your weight in cotton candy. Below is a listing of area festivals, fairs, and carnivals happening this summer. Enjoy!
33rd Annual Poke Salat Festival
Arab, Alabama’s longest running festival, held annually on the 3rd weekend in May, features Poke Salat – a wonderful variety of dishes created from the “pokeweed,” which grows in early spring. Stages of entertainment and music, a pet parade, arts and crafts sellers and vendors are located throughout Downtown, with merchants featuring their wares with sidewalk sales and open houses. On Friday, vendors will be open until 7:30PM, allowing time for you to get out of school and off work and have time to attend. Friday night’s entertainment includes Michaela Hope, JED eye and Country Case, and food trucks will stay open until the bands end. On Saturday, the fun begins at 10 am and starts with a Bluegrass Jam and Competition, followed by Phillip Mulkey and Friends on stage Saturday afternoon. The winner of the morning’s competition will play a 1/2 hour set ahead of the evening’s entertainment which features Arab’s own Canaan’s Crossing and The Darrell Webb Band from Tennessee.
Lucky Duck Days
Join us for a weekend of family fun at Lucky Duck Days! Support the mission of the Greater Huntsville Humane Society as you play duck-themed carnival games to win prizes, shop our arts and crafts booths, enjoy food and beverages from local food trucks and participate in the Duck Derby for your chance to win a Fiat 500. Anyone can enter to win the Lucky Duck Derby by purchasing a racing ticket for $10 (a six-quack is $50). The race is held on Sunday May 14th at 4PM. Each racing ticket will be inserted into a plastic duck egg and dropped into the water at the Meridian Bridge at Bud Cramer Park and the Gateway Greenway. The egg with a racing ticket that reaches the finish line first will win a Fiat 500 donated by Landers McLarty/Frank Williams Dealerships. The Lucky Ducks are rubber duckies with personalities that can be purchased in advance for $1 at participating sponsors or at the festival grounds. No matter where you get it, a Lucky Duck is needed to participate in the festival games and activities!
30th Annual Arts Alive
The 31st annual Arts Alive juried fine arts and crafts festival is May 20 and 21 in downtown Florence, Alabama. The festival takes place in Wilson Park and at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts and features quality national, regional and local artists and crafters. Admission is free so bring the family and stroll through the park as you meet artists, find one-of-a-kind treasures to add to your collection, and enjoy good food. The festival showcases artists specializing in painting, stained glass, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, fiber art, woodwork, photography, and much more. Arts Alive T-shirts and posters will be available for purchase in the park and online. The Arts Alive juried gallery exhibition is in Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts right across the street from Wilson Park and is open the same hours as the festival.
Generation Z Arts Fest
Generation Z is an arts and music festival celebrating young local artists and entrepreneurs in Huntsville, AL. Attendees can enjoy art work, vendors, music performances, a fashion show, food, drinks, and interactive activities! Gen Z is an all ages event. Guests can also enter a raffle at the door to win a $20 gift certificate for Vertical House Records! Buy your tickets early to take advantage of pre-sale prices.
Every year, Decatur-based industry Daikin America hosts a community party in celebration of the company’s Japanese heritage. The annual Daikin Festival is held in May at the Morgan County Fairgrounds and features live entertainment, hot-air balloon rides, Japanese cultural displays and art contest. The festival is free and very family-friendly.
Rogersville Shades of Bluegrass Festival
Location: Rogersville Recreation Park (map)
Date(s)/Times: May 26, 6PM-9PM; May 27, 1PM-9PM
Cost: FREE for kids 12 and under; Adults $8 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday, or $15 for both days
More Info: Facebook
Visit Rogersville for a weekend of pickin’! The Shades of Bluegrass Festival is a celebration of bluegrass that takes place every other year in Rogersville, Alabama. This all-ages event features some of the best bluegrass bands in Alabama and also has a shade tree area for impromptu jams. The festival additionally showcases several arts and crafts vendors, buck dancing and tasty concessions. Electric hook-ups and camp sites are available.
Madison’s Disc Dog and Art 4 Paws Festival
Art 4 Paws back again at Dublin Park in conjunction with Dog Disc Days. This growing event brings the love of art and pets together for a day of fun the entire family will enjoy, right down to Fido! Local and regional artists will be selling unique, one-of-a-kind wares. You’ll find whimsical garden art, jewelry, paintings, plus fun pet items, just to name a few. If you are considering adding a canine or feline to your family, this is the perfect event to find a new addition. With several shelters and rescue groups on-site, you’ll have the opportunity to meet adorable four-legged friends who are looking to adopt a new family too!
A Memorial Weekend staple, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is the largest balloon race in Alabama. It features 60 balloons from around the country flying early in the morning (6AM) and in the evening (7:30PM) on Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting).Saturday morning is the ‘hare & hound’ race and during the evening there is the always popular Balloon Glow that lights up the night sky. Alabama Jubilee also features: food & merchandise vendors, live music, arts & crafts show, classic car show, tractor show. MOM TIP: Parking is free but can be far away so bring a few dollars to ride the shuttle ($1 per person).
Smith Lake Memorial Day Festival
Visit Smith Lake for the Annual Memorial Day Festival in Cullman! There will be arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, live music, and contests happening all day! You can also play putt-putt, visit the swimming pool, and rent kayaks, canoes, and new for 2017: paddle boards!
13th Annual Cigar Box Festival
The Cigar Box Guitar Festival returns for its 13th year at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment! Join in the fun at the longest running cigar box guitar festival in the world, celebrating all aspects of cigar box guitar culture with a variety of fun and engaging activities and performances. This event honors the makers, musicians, and fans of these unique, historic instruments with a two day celebration full of live music, engaging demonstrations and hands on workshops, folk art, vendors, food trucks, and more. For the 13th Annual Cigar Box Guitar Festival, Lowe Mill A&E will expand with a juried artist market! Bring chairs, picnics, friends, and pets on a leash and join us under the water tower.
Florence Frontier Days
Step back in time on the grounds of historic Pope’s Tavern Museum and see basket weaving, woodcarving, wool spinning, broom making, pottery making, quilting, chair caning and much more – all by artisans in costumes typical of the frontier period. Listen to local dulcimer players and walk through the museum free to complete your journey to the past. Pope’s Tavern Museum once served as a stagecoach stop, tavern and inn during the early years of Florence, It also served as a hospital during the Civil War.
Marina Day Celebration
Location: 293 Ditto Landing Road, Huntsville (map)
Date(s)/Times: June 10, 10AM-4PM
More Info: Facebook
Join in a celebration of all that makes Ditto Landing great. The party includes the Reelin-N-Smokin Barbecue Competition, lots of music, family fun, and more!
Rocket City Pride
Rocket City Pride is an inclusive, family-friendly community festival that celebrates the lives of LGBTQ people. Join thousands of individuals and families from diverse communities and dozens of organizations as Huntsville celebrates diversity and equality! Rocket City Pride 2017 (RCP) benefits the Free2Be Safe Anti-Violence Project, which provides direct services to minority victims of violence, bullying and abuse. There will be food trucks, live entertainment, community vendors, kid’s activities, and the biggest parade yet!
North Alabama’s Doctor Who Convention is THE destination for all things sci-fi and geeky! If you love the sci-fi genre, horror, geeky and nerdy things, come join the fun. Costumes are encouraged, and all cosplay is welcome. This year’s special guests include Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who’s Madame Vastra), Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood’s Into Jones), Kelly Yates (comic book artist), Ellie Collins (of The Originals and author of the novel Empire Valley), as well as other familiar faces and industry pros. There will also be a special Whovian silent auction benefitting the Madison Animal Rescue Foundation. Bring your cameras!
Family Fun Festival and Expo
A community event that offers face-to-face interactions with exhibitors that support families, fun, & learning! This family festival will feature a full day of face painting, inflatables and kids activities as well as many area businesses that cater to families. There will be live performances and free health screenings in addition to the children’s activities.
Imagination Place’s Family Expo and Kids’ Fair
This fun, family-friendly event hosts a wide variety of vendors showcasing services and products for children of all ages! Whether you’re planning your first child or sending your last off to college, there is something for everyone. Vendors will showcase goods and services for all things children and family. Food vendors will be on hand offering lots of delicious treats, and there will be activities, games, door prizes, performances, a live animal show, balloon animals, inflatables, and so much more!
Athens Kiddie Carnival
A carnival just for kids? Yes, you heard us right and it is NOT TO BE MISSED. Seriously, read our review and you’ll be lining up. Tokens to ride are just $.50 each and all monies go to local charities. A North Alabama tradition that needs to become your family’s summer tradition.
Spirit of America Festival
Now in its 51st year, the City of Decatur, Alabama is proud to host the Spirit of America Festival and provide free, family entertainment to thousands of area residents in celebration of the 4th of July. For many years, the Spirit of America Festival has attracted thousands of families to Point Mallard Park in Decatur for some free star-spangled fun. Festival goers will be entertained with an incredible lineup of live music, carnival rides, children’s activities, and more with the fun culminating in a spectacular fireworks show and a free concert.
WC Handy Music Festival
This 10-day long series of primarily music events occurs in and around the Shoals and honors William Christopher “W.C.” Handy. The Festival is presented by the Music Preservation Society and is intended as part of the Music Preservation Society effort to preserve, promote, and present the musical heritage of the Shoals in Northwest Alabama. There are always many events designed specifically with children in mind, such as ABC’s of Blues, Jazz & Beyond; Kidz Jamm; GeoBlues; End of Summer Reading Program; Blues-N-Bread Pudding; Musical Jazz Spelling Bee; events at the Children’s Museum and libraries; and the Youth Conference.
Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off
The competition is fierce and the flavors are rich as national award winning barbeque cookers will be cooking up the most unbelievably delicious barbeque ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and more – including a Kids Q competition. This is Top 20 Southeast Events winner is a KCBS sanctioned festival held annually. The Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off is also a member of the Alabama BBQ Association. Shop vendors’ booths, boutiques, and antiques and specialty shops throughout Hartselle. A great event for friends and family!
Main Street Music Festival
Billed as the premier music festival in North Alabama, Southeast Tourism Society has selected Main Street Music Festival as an “STS Top 20 Event.” Previous years have included a children’s inflatable water park, dog show, petting zoo, cooking competitions and demonstrations in addition to the music.