With Fall fast approaching, it’s time for festival fun


From arts and history to food, farms and Ferris wheels, fall festivals will provide a glimpse into the uniqueness of north Alabama towns.

Expect pig-calling contests, funnel cakes, stick horse races, award-winning musicians, and a salute to all things barbecued.

Madison Street Festival
October 6
Just one month away, the 38th annual Madison Street Festival will be held in historic downtown on October 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Festival is a celebration of the people, art, food, and music of Madison and is Madison’s largest event, bringing neighbors together for a day of celebration and fun. Kicking-off with a big, colorful parade, the Festival includes an Artist Alley, Car Show, Children’s Area, Entertainment, Expo Area, Arts & Crafts, Information Booths, and of course . . . great Southern Food!

This year’s Street Festival will include performance stages that will feature some of the best in local entertainment. An expanded Children’s Area welcomes plenty of activities and rides for the kids. Vets with Vettes will be hosting an open Car and Bike Show again this year.

Thanks to a committee of hard-working volunteers and local businesses who help sponsor this event, profits are invested back into the community through grants to non-profit organizations, schools, and community groups.

The festival is more than just a fun event. It also helps to raise money for various organizations in Madison.

Go to www.MadisonStreetFestival.org for more information.

Monte Sano Art Festival
Sept. 15-16
Spend a day under the canopy of Monte Sano State Park, shopping one-of-a-kind artwork by 150 artists from across the region. On September 15th and 16th, Arts Huntsville’s Monte Sano Art Festival, presented by Jerry Damson Honda-Acura, returns to Monte Sano mountain. A Huntsville tradition, the juried art festival will welcome 150 visual art exhibitors from 11 states, local food vendors, music, and a creative kids activity.

Monte Sano Art Festival will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 15th and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 16th. Arts Huntsville does not charge admission to the festival, however Monte State Park will charge $10 per car for parking, cash only. Walk-in festival attendees will be charged $5 per person for entrance into the state park, with all funds going toward supporting the state parks system.

This year’s festival will once again feature local food trucks and vendors, including: Iceworks Shaved Ice, What’s Popp’n, In the Bun, D&B Concessions, Rollin’ Lobstah, Buffalo Rock, Handel’s Ice Cream, Piper & Leaf, Smallcakes Huntsville, Wheely’s Café, and Suzy’s Pops. Local musicians will also be busking throughout the park.

Decatur Riverfest BBQ & Music Fest
Sept. 14-15
Dozens of professional and backyard barbecue teams armed with grills, slabs of meat and secret sauces will converge at Ingalls Harbor for the 24th annual Riverfest BBQ & Music Fest.

For two days, cooks will smoke, grill, inject and baste chicken, rib, pork and brisket in hopes of serving the juiciest and tastiest pieces of meat. Other categories include dessert and sauce.

While the teams tend to the food, a lineup of local, regional and nationally known musicians will perform.

Country music artist Kellie Pickler, who gained fame on “American Idol,” will headline the festival.

Proceeds from Riverfest will benefit Mosaic of North Alabama. Formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County, the nonprofit organization focuses on mentoring children.

Hartselle Depot Days
Sept. 15
More than 19,000 people will crowd downtown Hartselle for the 38th annual Depot Days, a tribute to the railroad industry. The all-day event, scheduled for 8 a.m.-4 p.m., will feature music, a truck and motorcycle show, arts, crafts, a tractor show and games for children.

Trail of Tears
Sept. 15
Hundreds of motorcyclists will travel from Bridgeport to Waterloo to honor Native Americans and commemorate and remember the Trail of Tears. The 25th annual Trail of Tears ride will begin at the Alabama and Tennessee line on U.S. 72 in Bridgeport at 8 a.m.

Participants will travel U.S. 72 to I-565 and head west, through Athens and Florence before arriving in Waterloo around 3 p.m.

A kickoff rally with children’s activities, entertainment by Cherokee dancers, a fireworks show and a free concert by Confederate Railroad will take place Sept. 14 in Bridgeport. On Sept. 15, Waterloo will host a free pow-wow with flute and drum musicians and displays of art created by Native Americans. For more information, visit al-tn-trailoftears.net/rideschedule.php.

Can’t Miss: Pow-Wow at Waterloo, 2-5 p.m.

Racking Horse
World Celebration
Sept. 21-29
Groomed for success, the country’s top racking horses will show off top form while vying for the title of world champion at the 47th annual Racking Horse Breeders Association of America’s World Celebration in Priceville. Under the guidance of children, adults, professionals and amateurs, horses will compete in 186 classes.

Other activities include a horse sale, barn decorating contest and stick horse race for children. The nine-day competition will culminate with the announcement of the new World Grand Champion.
Competitions will begin at 6 p.m.

Can’t Miss: Crowning of the World Grand Champion scheduled for Sept. 29.

River Clay Fine Arts Festival

Sept. 22-23

Cost: $5 weekend pass; free for children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult

Painted on canvases, sculpted from clay, forged from iron, cut from glass and carved from wood, creations by 75 artists from 12 states will be on display at the fourth annual River Clay Fine Arts Festival scheduled for Sept. 22-23 in downtown Decatur. The lineup includes sculptors, painters, photographers, jewelers, metal workers, fiber artists, ceramicists, glass artists and drawers.

“For Decatur to have River Clay, where there is a waiting list of artists every year, speaks to how much the arts mean to our community and to what a wonderful event it is,” said Trudy Grisham, a River Clay board member.

Local artists selected for the festival are Brian Corry, Johanna Littleton, Mary H. Reed, Leigh Ann Hurst and Robert Belcher of Decatur, Cindy Miller of Athens, and Kristi Hyde, an Atlanta jewelry designer formerly of Decatur.

Other artists will represent Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Kentucky, Nevada, Louisiana and Michigan. Along with the artists’ market, the festival will feature artist demonstrations, music, children’s activities and student art exhibits.

“It has something for everyone. It truly is a community event, a place where everyone comes together,” said Noel King, a board member.

Named after the building material of many of the city’s old structures, River Clay will take place on the grounds of City Hall, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sept. 22 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 23. The festival will kick off with River Clay Rendezvous, an arts patron preview party Sept. 21, 5-9 p.m. Tickets cost $50.

Can’t Miss: Exploring the artists’ booths.

Bicentinneal Celebration: A Town that Endured Change

Sept. 29

Cost: Free

To celebrate the state’s bicentennial, Mooresville, whose 53 residents proudly bill themselves as a “town older than the state,” will hold an outdoor walking festival.

“In 1818, a whole year before Alabama became a state, Mooresville was incorporated as a town. We had 64 people then,” said Shirley McCrary, whose grandchildren are eighth-generation Mooresvillians.

Visitors will learn about the town’s history, landscape, homes and businesses.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a veterans ceremony at 11 a.m., farming demonstration at 1 p.m. and guided town tours at 1 and 3 p.m. Other activities include a blacksmith demonstration and a display of antique cars and firetrucks.