Those of us who grew up in the River City fondly call Decatur by many names, including (but of course not limited to) “Decatur Where It’s Greater,” “D-Rock,” and my personal favorite, “Home of America’s First Wave Pool.” So why would YOU cross the Tennessee River Bridge to visit a town famous for a water park named after a duck, the notorious Skate Castle, and world class Bar-B-Que snobbery (we really love our stuffed potatoes over here). I’m about to show you that Decatur-ites know how to (family-friendly) party across the river and we want you to join us!
When: Saturday, May 7 | 10AM-2PM
Where: Morgan County Fairgrounds
What child doesn’t dream of getting behind the wheel of a fire truck, a race car, or a police car? PACT Touch-A-Truck will make your child’s wildest dreams come true by offering a hands-on opportunity to play, climb, explore, and touch trucks, emergency response vehicles, tractors, and even a helicopter! This event will also offer free car seat checks, children’s ID cards, and fire safety tips. There is even a “quiet time” (10AM-11AM) for children who may not enjoy noise or crowds. Touch-A-Truck benefits Parents And Children Together (PACT), a family resource center committed to stopping child abuse.
The Market on Bank
When: First Saturdays May 7-October | 10AM-2PM
Where: Bank Street
The “sister” experience to Decatur’s super successful 3rd Friday, this family-oriented event will feature exclusive local shopping and dining opportunities, music, entertainment, and art available only during these First Saturdays. Stroll down historic Bank Street while enjoying a makers market featuring talented craftsman and artisans.
2016 Spirit of America Voice Preliminary Rounds
When: May 11, 18, 25
Where: The Brick Deli
Love a good talent competition? Think you have what it takes to win a Nashville recording contract? Enter and sing or simply sit back and enjoy the show with your family as the area’s most talented compete for a spot in the finals during the Spirit of America Festival to be held at Point Mallard on July 2nd.
Shakespeare in the Park
When: May 12-14 at 7PM and 2PM on May 14
Where: Daikin Ampitheatre in Founder’s Park
The Bank Street Players, directed by Chuck Pucket, present William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Bring your own lawn chairs and give the kids a (fun) history lesson in literature and performance art.
Decatur Youth Symphony Curiosity Orchestra Toddler-Friendly Concert
When: May 13 | 4PM
Where: First United Methodist Fellowship Hall
Did you read that correctly? Toddler-friendly concert? You mean a place where your child can dance and sing and no one will give you dirty looks if your kid isn’t sitting pretty in her seat? That’s right! Expose your child to the orchestra and let him cut a rug – classical style.
Dragon Boat Festival Presented by the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation
When: Saturday, May 14 | 8:30AM
Where: Point Mallard Park
Alabama v. Auburn, Austin v. Decatur – the rivalries are real. Even our churches get competitive. Just ask the Methodists what they think of the Episcopaddlers. Enjoy authentic drum ceremonies and teams of 20 colorfully dressed warriors – I mean, community-inspired competitors – paddling their hearts out in the name of charity while navigating exquisite 46-foot long authentic Hong Kong-style dragon boats through the waters of the beautiful Tennessee River. This is a fun cultural event like no other in the area. Boat teams are raising money to purchase new cardiac monitors for our local hospitals.
When: Monthly every 3rd Friday beginning May 20 | 5PM
Where: 2nd Avenue in downtown Decatur
The mother of all block parties is back and better than ever! Classic cars, artists and artisans, musicians and entertainers will pack 2nd Avenue for a street soiree that can’t be missed. Bring the whole family (even Fido) to stroll, laugh, play, dine, and shop until the sun sets and the moon rises over the River City. Look for special children’s activities at every turn!
When: Friday – Monday, May 27-30
Where: 2nd Avenue
Last, but definitely not least, did somebody say HOT AIR BALLOONS! Nothing excites or ignites this town more than hot air balloons. Tethered balloon rides, a nighttime balloon glow, concerts, carnival rides, delicious food, games galore and a commanding display of fireworks are just a few of the activities that will captivate your entire family and make you wish Memorial Day weekend will never end.
Now are you convinced that we know how to have some fun in the River City? And this is just May! I can’t wait to share more with you in the weeks and months to come!
Main photo courtesy of Luke Hamilton/Kim Mitchell.
Andi Stewart is a Decatur-native, who spent over a decade living in Miami. She finally returned home, married a boy she’s known since childhood, and loves raising her family in the hometown she adores. She has two children, a son and a daughter. She’s a professional Environmental Engineer who balances a full-time career with motherhood. She’s run more marathons than she can count (mostly because she really enjoys eating) and she loves her daily barre class and traveling. She is passionate about her River City community and when she’s not volunteering, she’s enjoying all her city has to offer.