The calendar in the central part of Alabama is filled with regional festivals and annual celebrations throughout the year. Here are a few of the more popular and significant events in the Metropolitan Region.
Realizing the Dream
This annual concert, held at the Moody Music Hall on the University of Alabama campus in mid-January, focuses on honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through music. Past performers have included Al Green, Roberta Flack, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. The concert is now accompanied by a lecture series that discusses the past and future of civil rights in America.
The largest musical event in the Lake Martin area, the Alexander City Jazz Festival brings two nights of jazz, blues and soul music to the people of Tallapoosa County. The concerts are held outdoors at Strand Park and Lake Martin Amphitheater, and are free to the public.
In 1814, Andrew Jackson led a force of around 2000 militia and U.S. Infantry against a barricaded force of the Red Sticks warrior at Horeshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River. Jackson's crushing victory in the battle brought an end to the two-year Creek War and effectively carved what would become the state of Alabama out of former Creek territory. Jackson would be elected President of the United States 15 years later in part due to the notoriety he gained in the battle. For nearly 200 years, the Anniversary Battle has recreated frontier life of the period and demonstrated the importance of the battle in shaping our country's history. The weekend's events include a number of special demonstrations and interpretive programs.
The rich culture and traditions of Alabama's Native American population are celebrated during this festival each spring. The centerpiece of the weekend is the dance competition, which features some of the best fancy dance and hoop dancers in the state vying for thousands of dollars in prize money. The festival also includes over 80 craft vendors and exhibits displaying everything from pottery to hand made jewelry.
Held rain or shine from May on into October, the Pepper Place Saturday Market displays the very best that our region's farming families have to offer. The many fruits, vegetables and baked goods on sale will tempt visitors strolling amongst the tents. The Market is held on 2nd Avenue between 28th and 29th streets in Birmingham's historic Pepper Place neighborhood. In addition to enjoying the performing musicians and cooking demonstrations within the market itself, one should check out the shops and galleries that have made the area the city's design district.
The quiet little community of Webster's Chapel plays host to thousands of music fans during the first week in June and again in the last weekend of September. Held on a 12-acre farm, the festival highlights the string sounds of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass. A great family event, the Gatherin' draws great national acts as well as bands from around the region.
The Imagination Festival is designed to immerse children and their families in the amazing world of visual and performing arts. The festival features over 30 interactive workshops specifically created for children. Kids can explore art, music, theatre, dance and magic in a fun and festive atmosphere.
Held in downtown Birmingham in mid-June, City Stages is a world-class music festival that features some of today's most popular artists. Embracing national and local acts in a wide variety of musical styles including rock, country and hip-hop on 9 stages, the festival also includes a children's festival, interactive exhibits and plenty of food vendors.