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
The Poke Salat Festival is held throughout Historic Downtown Arab, Alabama. The Festival includes Artisan Avenue, which is an area dedicated to handcrafted items, civic group and commercial vendors, multiple areas of entertainment, interactive displays and demonstrations, a fun pet parade, a food court, Corn Hole Tournament, and more fun. The Chamber of Commerce hosts a Bluegrass Band Competition on Saturday with cash prizes for the top bands. The Festival centers around the dish “Poke Salat” which is cooked poke weed, a plant that grows wild in the region.
20th Anniversary Soulstock
Soulstock is the largest Christian Concert Festival in North Alabama. It all started 20 years ago by putting on a free concert for a few local youth groups. Each year we have grown and now are hosted by the city of Decatur, AL, and now has more than 25,000 people in attendance! Soulstock is sponsored by individuals, churches, and businesses mostly in the surrounding communities. It’s a time for people to come together, listen to great music, celebrate God, and hear the message of Jesus. Please bring new or gently used tennis shoes for the homeless. Vendors and Food Trucks will be on site with food; no coolers, please. We encourage young children to have ear protection.
32nd Annual Arts Alive
The 32nd annual Arts Alive juried fine arts and crafts festival is May 19 and 20 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. 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.
Since 1994, the Daikin Festival has offered festivalgoers of all ages an opportunity to experience Japanese culture through music, exhibits, and food. Throughout the evening, festivalgoers can participate in Japanese folk dances and enjoy traditional Japanese music as well as dance away to country, Cajun, rock & roll, and big band. The highlight of the festival each year is when Daikin employees take the stage with their amazing Japanese Taiko Drums performance. During the festival, festivalgoers can enjoy both traditional festival fare as well as traditional foods, and learn more about Daikin America from various displays of product exhibits. Free tethered hot-air balloon rides are also available, weather permitting. In addition to free parking around the fairgrounds, free round-trip shuttle service will be provided to the fairgrounds from Decatur Mall and Austin High School.
Madison’s Disc Dog and Art 4 Paws Festival
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 and in the evening 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 on the newly renovated course, visit opening day for the swimming pool, and rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards! RV and tent camping are available.
Madison Police Foundation Spring Carnival
Location: Spencer Square Shopping Center, Madison (map)
Date(s)/Times: May 29-May 31 from 6-10PM; June 1 from 6-11PM; June 2 from 1-11PM
Cost: $2 admission; kids 5 and under are FREE; ride wristbands $15-$18
More Info: Facebook
The Madison Police Foundation has brought back it’s 2018 Spring Carnival, May 29th-June 2nd at the Spencer Square Shopping Center, 8760 Madison Boulevard. The Carnival will have rides, food, music & games for kids, teens, & adults of all ages. The James Gang Amusements group will be here to provide the carnival entertainment. Proceeds from the Carnival benefits the Madison Police Foundation
14th Annual Cigar Box Festival
Join us for Concerts on the Dock, featuring Dave Gallaher, aka Microwave Dave, and Hymn 4 Her. This concert is part of the 14th Annual Cigar Box Guitar Fest, which will continue the following day, Saturday June 2nd in the Flying Monkey Arts. 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.
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
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! You can also learn about fly fishing and have a safety inspection performed on your boat by Ditto’s Coast Guard Auxiliary crew. Enjoy our new trails and find out how you can contribute to the Angel of Hope statue being placed along the River at Ditto Landing.
Project Sweet Peas Jamboree
The 3rd annual Project Sweet Peas Jamboree features carnival games, inflatables, a train ride, food and local vendors for shopping. There will also be a silent auction which includes Talladega Superspeedway race tickets, a signed Nashville Predator’s puck, a gift basket from Pinot’s Palette, a Shakalaka birthday party, Autobahn Indoor Speedway tickets and Huntsville Escape Room passes. All proceeds from the Project Sweet Peas Jamboree will benefit families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Huntsville and Birmingham.
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. Con Kasterborous often features past cast members of Doctor Who as well as other familiar faces and industry pros. 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!
North Alabama Homeschool Expo
Join us for an awesome day filled with learning activities for both youth and adults alike. Hear practical advice and encouragement from speakers across the country while your children participate in fun filled learning workshops from our leading experts. Whether you are new to homeschooling or have years of experience this is THE can’t miss event to connect you to resources from the county, state and more!
40th Annual Hellen Keller Festival
Location: Downtown area and Spring Park, Tuscumbia (map)
Date(s) & Time(s): Thurs. June 21 from 6-10PM, Fri. & Sat. June 22-23 from 10AM-10PM; Sun. June 24 from Noon-10PM
Cost: Most events are FREE; some events charge admission of $3-$6; Spring Park Festival concerts are $5 per day
More Info: Website | Facebook
The annual Helen Keller Festival, one of the largest festivals in North Alabama, begins on Thursday with a parade at 6PM in downtown Tuscumbia. This festival pays tribute to America’s “First Lady of Courage” with four days of more than 100 activities including an outdoor marketplace, Keller Kids educational activities, and various musical artists performing evening concerts. Be sure to bring lawn chairs! Note that coolers, alcohol, and dogs are not permitted inside Spring Park. Parking is very limited; take one of the free festival shuttle buses!
Location: VBC South Hall (map)
Date(s) & Time(s): Fri. June 22 from Noon-Midnight; Sat. June 23 from 10AM-midnight; Sun. June 24 from 10AM-5PM
Cost: Daily and weekend passes from $10-$65; Parent passes can be purchased for $5 (limit one parent pass per child under 16)
More Info: Website | Facebook
HAMACON, which stands for “Huntsville & Madison Anime Convention,” is the Rocket City’s anime con! This 3-day event features panels and guest stars, a big ol’ gaming area for both video and tabletop games a Dealer’s Room with vendors selling a huge variety of collectibles, costume pieces, props, figures, key chains and more, an Artist Alley, Cosplay, and more. Parents, be sure to read the information on this page before attending!
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 Fireworks Show
Now in its 52nd 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. Don’t miss this spectacular fireworks show!
37th Annual 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, including the DaDooRunRun 5K and Family Fun Walk, the traditional Street Strut Parade, a play about the life of WC Handy, the Courting the Blues parade, car, truck and bike shows, music history discussions and so much more!
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.