’Tis the season — fall festival season! This is the best time to grab your walking shoes and hit the road for some of Alabama’s best festivals of the year, celebrating everything from delicious food to historical events to local artisans.
Many of these festivals are also free to get into! Just bring a bit of spending money and wander. Check out the list of our favorites coming up soon:
Monte Sano Art Festival - Huntsville, AL - September 15-16
The Monte Sano Art Festival has been a tradition in Huntsville, Alabama for more than 15 years! The event includes more than 140 of the region’s finest artists, local food trucks and musicians throughout the park. Each year artists are invited to return and new artists are invited. A selection panel reviews all entries on the basis of three recent photos or slides representing the type of work the artist wishes to exhibit, so guests are given a truly curated artistic experience. Although the festival is free, bring $10 cash for parking!
North Alabama State Fair - Muscle Shoals, AL - September 18-23
There are just so many events that make up the 84th annual North Alabama State Fair, it’s impossible to list them all! As one of North Alabama’s largest (and oldest) events, there are more than 80,000 in attendance every year. Buy tickets for one day or armbands to return for the full week. There is plenty to see across the board from agricultural, industrial, cultural, and commercial exhibits, plus lots of fun events for kids!
International Festival of North Alabama - Huntsville, AL - September 22
This one-day, family-friendly event features international cuisine, food trucks, live music, kids activities, open air market and more. Don’t miss the global performances, parade of nations and children’s games and crafting. This free event isn’t one to miss!
Homestead Hollow Arts & Crafts Festival - Springville, AL - September 28-30
The Homestead Hollow Arts & Crafts Festival is an amazing way to share old time ways with the kids, plus buy some amazing antique/vintage or handcrafted goods.Talk to the pioneer demonstrators and see wood carving, blacksmithing, soap making, wood stove cooking, quilting and whiskey making. Tour original cabins built by the early settlers and visit the apiarist to learn about bee keeping. Relax by one of the many streams and listen to live local entertainment all day. Children’s activities include wagon rides, bunny jump, moonwalk, and face painting. Admission for adults is $8, kids 3-12 is $4 and 2 and under are free.
Cullman Oktoberfest - Cullman, AL - October 3-6
Established in 1982, Cullman’s Oktoberfest has been a local staple the first Saturday of October since then. The event got an interesting start as they didn’t actually sell alcohol, but once it was passed that alcohol sales were allowed in Cullman, Alabama in 2011, the event opened its first biergarten. Now guests can enjoy German style craft beers made by Alabama brewers such as Straight to Ale Brewing and Blue Pants Brewery. Don’t miss the crowning of Miss Oktoberfest, the live music performances, the BBQ Challenga, the car show at Depot Park, or our favorite, the wiener dog races. You know you have to check that out!
Birmingham Greek Festival - Birmingham, AL - October 4-6
Home to the seventh oldest Greek Orthodox parish in the United States, Birmingham’s Greek Festival is a lively celebration of that incredible cultural heritage. Besides delicious Greek cuisine, you’ll enjoy live Greek music and Greek dancing. Take a guided tour of the cathedral if you have a chance, and be sure to check out the Greek Market Place for imported food, icons, fine jewelry, art, and much more. Admission is free, and food items are individually priced. Proceeds from the festival will benefit local mission work and charities, so eat and enjoy!
Alabama Butterbean Festival - Pinson, AL - October 5-6
There is a whole festival for a bean?! Why yes there is, and you don’t want to miss it! The Alabama Butterbean Festival “rounds up country cooks, families, and die-hard fans of butterbeans” for a weekend that features live music, carnival rides, food, petting zoos, pony rides, and more. The free festival also features the Guinness World Record holding butterbean pot, which earned the record in 2010 for the largest pot of baked beans at over 1,010 gallons. Who knew?
National Shrimp Festival - Gulf Shores, AL - October 11-14
If fresh from the Gulf seafood isn’t enough of a selling point to get you to the National Shrimp Festival, one of the many other attractions for this four-day event should do it for you! Attracting more than 300,000 people, this event offers more than 100 hours of musical entertainment, 200+ booths of fine art and arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities and even a Sand Sculpture Contest.