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![themify_box style=”lavender rounded” ]For even more FREE family-fun this summer, check out our 2016 Summer Fun Guide. Filled with information on free outdoor concerts, free indoor and outdoor children’s activities, free summer movies, pools and splashpads, and so much more! Your children will not be bored this summer! [/themify_box] [sws_toggle1 title=”MAY 2016 “]
First there’s the Bridal Show and then there’s Babypalooza! Babypalooza will help you connect to all of the wonderful resources, services, and boutiques in your area to help you with the newest member of your family. From health services to childcare centers you will be able to find everything you need under one roof in one day! There is always great vendors with lots of door prizes to be had.
32nd 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, arts/crafts and vendors are located throughout Downtown, with merchants featuring their wares with sidewalk sales and open houses.Festivities include the Taking it to The Streets Motorcycle Ride By and Show, Pet Parade, Hula Hoop Hoopla, Open Mic times, and more. Admission is to the festival is FREE, though many of the events in the play area have a cost associated. And this year, TWO Disney princesses will be in attendance; little ones can get a makeup session with Belle and Snow White for just $1. Bring your cameras!
The play area is bigger than ever and scheduled to open at 2PM on Friday as well as all day Saturday, and features a bounce house, inflatable slide, train ride, rock climbing wall, bungee jump, monster water balls, mechanical bull ride and games. Of course, attendees can enjoy traditional Poke Salat foods. If attending the concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, be sure to bring lawn chairs and blankets.
30th Annual Arts Alive
The 30th annual Arts Alive juried fine arts and crafts festival is May 21 and 22 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 (coming soon). 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.
Rocket City Fair
This years fair will be bringing in new Entertainment acts, as well as continuing to host some of the acts that Huntsville has come to love in the past years. In addition to the carnival rides and games, there will be a petting zoo and lots of various shows and attractions including The Magic of Bob Bohm, West Texas Rattlesnake Show, Lady Houdini Escape Show, and The Aguilar Family Circus & Thrill Show.
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.
Madison’s Disc Dog and Art 4 Paws Festival
The 2016 Art 4 Paws festival is moving to 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. Now in it’s 39th year, it features 60 balloons from around the country flying 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). 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
Join us for the Annual Memorial Day Festival in Cullman! There will be arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, music and entertainment. There will also be a golf cart and bike parade, milk chugging and ice cream eating contest and much more.[/sws_toggle1] [sws_toggle1 title=”JUNE 2016 “]
12th Annual Cigar Box Festival
The Cigar Box Guitar Festival is back for its 12th year at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment! This event is the longest running Cigar Box Guitar festival in the world, celebrating all aspects of Cigar Box Guitar folk culture. June 3 & 4 will be filled with music, engaging demonstrations and hands on workshops, folk art, vendors, food trucks and more. This event aims to honor the makers, musicians, and fans of these unique, historic instruments.
Madison Public Library’s Read Around the Block
Get ready, get set…READ! Get summer started right at Madison Public Library’s Read Around the Block on Saturday, June 4, from 8 until 11 a.m. This Summer Reading block party, held at the Madison Public Library, is an annual family favorite featuring fun runs, relay races, big trucks, cake, live animals and, of course, Summer Reading sign-up! This year’s Summer Reading theme is fitness and exercise, so join us for a free party and for a summer full of reading (a.k.a., “weight lifting for the brain”) and activities for all ages.
Taste the Spirit of Madison Family Fun Festival
Get a Taste of the Spirit of Madison! Join the Madison Chamber of Commerce in a festival showcasing the best foods, shops, businesses, and music Madison has to offer. Presented by the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Taste the Spirit of Madison brings together food, from the trendiest new restaurants to old favorites, food trucks, local shops and businesses as well as entertainment.
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. Hours are Saturday 10AM-4PM and Sunday 1-4PM.
Athens Grease Festival
Location: The Square in Athens (map)
Date(s)/Times: June 11, 11AM-7PM
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 3-12, free for those 2 and younger. $1 off admission for toga wearers!
More Info: Website
The Athens Grease Festival celebrates the Greek origins of Athens’ name, as well as southerners’ love of fried foods. All kinds of fried foods will be available, from fried cupcakes to fried bologna sandwiches to fried Oreos. Festival-goers are asked to dress in togas and a toga contest will be held during the day. Enjoy live music, a Turkey Toss, eating contest, toga contest, mechanical bull and more! Vendors will be selling food and drinks, and there will also be a kids area and crafts. Proceeds from the Athens Grease Festival benefit downtown Athens revitalization efforts, projects, and events throughout the year.
Family Fun Festival and Expo
This family festival will feature a full day of facepainting, 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.
Baby, Oh, Baby! A Family Expo and Kids’ Fair
We’ll have a fun, family-friendly atmosphere with 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. We’ll have activities, games, door prizes, performances, a live animal show, balloon animals, inflatables, and so much more!
Marina Day Celebration
Location: 293 Ditto Landing Road, Huntsville (map)
Date(s)/Times: June 11, 11AM
More Info: Website
Join in a celebration of all that makes Ditto Landing great. Celebration will include Reelin N Smokin Barbeque Competion, lots of music, family fun, and more! FREE Admission!!!
Kid’s Fun Fest
The City of Huntsville Department of Parks & Recreation will hosts its 2nd Annual Kid’s Fun Fest this year on Thursday, June 16. This is a free community event that includes cace painting, mascots, free food and free snow cones, corn hole, volleyball, live music and more!
Rocket City Pride Community Festival & Parade
Join thousands of individuals and families from diverse communities and dozens of organizations as Huntsville celebrates diversity and equality! There will be food trucks, live entertainment, community vendors, kid’s activities, and the 5th annual parade (starts at noon).
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.
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Rogersville Shades of Bluegrass Festival
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.
Location: Embassy Suites, Downtown Huntsville (map)
Date(s)/Times: June 25-26
Cost: FREE for kids 6 and under; 1-day/2-day passes for kids 7-13 start at $10; for ages 14+, passes start at $30+
More Info: Website
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 the 6th Doctor, Colin Baker; Frazer Hines, the 2nd Doctor’s Scottish companion Jamie McCrimmon; Andrew Cartmel, script editor from the Sylvester McCoy era; as well as other familiar faces and industry pros. Bring your cameras!
Spirit of America Festival
For 50 years, the City of Decatur, Alabama has been 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, and organizers are pleased to announce this year’s festival has been expanded to four days offering more activities than in previous years. Festival goers will be entertained with an incredible lineup of live music, carnival rides, children’s activities, and more with the fun beginning on July 1st and culminating with a spectacular fireworks show and a free concert on the night of July 4th.
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 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.[/sws_toggle1] [sws_toggle1 title=”AUGUST 2016 “]
Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off
The “Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off” is a KCBS sanctioned event and member of the Alabama Barbeque Association. Professional and Backyard cook teams fill historic downtown Hartselle with the aroma of competition barbecue. In 2011, Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed this event to be an Alabama Championship event which enables the Alabama teams to earn points for the coveted Governors Cup. 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.[/sws_toggle1] [sws_button class=”” size=”sws_btn_large” align=”sws_btn_align_center” href=”https://www.rocketcitymom.com/2016-summer-fun-guide-for-huntsville-and-north-alabama” target=”_blank” label=”Click to find more summer fun! ” template=”sws_btn_orange” textcolor=”#FFFFF” fontweight=”bold” bgcolor=”” bgcolorhover=”” glow=”sws_btn_glow” btnwidth=”” textalign=”center”] [/sws_button]
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.