Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining (sometimes) and you can practically taste all the fresh spring flavors beginning to crop up in local farmers markets and restaurants. Spring comes early in the South, and everyone makes the most of the warmer days by heading outdoors and enjoying the pretty weather. Check out some of these food events that will kick off the sunny season of picnicking and outdoor dining in a delicious way. Here’s what’s coming up on our calendar for April:
Alabama Chocolate Festival, Rainbow City (April 5)
Rainbow City turns into a chocolate wonderland for the day: This annual event features games and contests for the whole family, taste-off competitions, food vendors and plenty of chocolate to sample. Past contests have included an egg toss and the chocolate chug-a-lug, a timed challenge to see who can down the most chocolate milk. Cash prizes are offered for the multiple competitions, and visitors can douse their favorite treats in a 6-foot-tall chocolate fountain.
Tri-State BBQ Festival, Dothan (April 11–12)
Here in Alabama, we take our barbecue seriously. From some of the South’s best smoked meat to live music and an antique car show, the Tri-State BBQ Festival has something for the whole family. Activities for kids include games, crafts, inflatables and rides. Catch the competitive spirit by perusing the cook-off team area and choosing your favorite.
4th Annual Shelby County’s Best BBQ Cook-Off, Columbiana (April 25)
Support the Shelby County Arts Council and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce with a day of cooking, smoking, grilling and tasting some of the area’s best barbecue recipes. Up for grabs are bragging rights and multiple titles, such as Shelby County’s Best BBQ, Best Ribs, Best Sauce and Chef’s Choice.
Featured Farmers Markets
April marks the beginning of farmers market season in Alabama! Stop by any of these Alabama markets starting in April to scoop up your favorite spring fruits, veggies and locally made goods:
Pepper Place Farmers Market, Birmingham (opens April 12)
Madison City Farmers Market, Madison (opens April 12)
Alabama Farmers Market, Birmingham (open 7 days a week year-round)
Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market, Tuscaloosa (opens April 17)
The views expressed here are those of the author.