41 Can't-miss Alabama Festivals
Alabama is home to incredible chefs, plentiful harvests and endless opportunities to celebrate the state’s rich food culture. Seafood celebrations, brew festivals and barbecue competitions are just some of the highlights of a calendar filled with events for families and foodies alike. Mark your calendar for these 2016 can’t-miss events, and follow Alabama Food on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more.
Tri-State BBQ Festival, Dothan (April 8-9)
The many free activities once inside the gate include a cooking class, car show, tasting tent, sampling booths, live music on stage and a whole lot more. Plus, you can visit six dozen vendors offering barbecue products (seasonings, sauces, spices), merchandise, food and drinks.
Cullman StrawberryFest, Cullman (May 6-7)
Cullman StrawberryFest features the best strawberries and produce in North Alabama. Along with our outstanding music venue, classic car show, arts and crafts, and scrumptious food vendors, visitors can plan to spend the whole day shopping in the unique stores in our downtown district, dancing or visiting our historic areas.
WhistleStop Weekend, Huntsville (May 6-7)
A foot-stompin’, pig-chompin’ two-day festival on the grounds of the Huntsville Depot offers live entertainment, a children’s play zone and professional and amateur barbecue cooking competitions.
Orange Beach Wine Festival, Orange Beach (May 14)
The Orange Beach Wine Fest is one of the most cherished tickets around. More than 120 wines, three live music acts, food from distinguished local restaurants, boat tours of the bay, custom wine glass, custom wine bag, and even craft beer for the un-winies.
Catfish Festival, Scottsboro (May 14)
Held along the banks of Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, the annual Catfish Festival celebrates one of America’s favorite outdoor activities — fishing for catfish.
Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores (May 20-22)
This weekend music, art and food festival features an impressive lineup of bands and musicians performing on the white-sand beaches of Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast.
Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off, Hartselle (May 21)
This Alabama State Championship Barbecue Cook-off has professional and backyard teams from across the U.S. competing for prizes and recognition.
Blackberry and Blueberry Picking, Millbrook (TBD)
Barber Berry Farm has over 2 acres of blueberries and thornless blackberries to pick from. You can also buy produce from an outdoor hydroponic vegetable garden.
Athens Grease Festival, Athens (June 11)
City residents embrace Southerners’ love of fried foods and the Greek origin of the town’s name by hosting the Athens Grease Festival in downtown Athens each year. They acknowledge that healthy eating is important but have set aside a day for your taste buds to enjoy battered, dipped and fried culinary creations.
Alabama Blueberry Festival, Brewton (June 18)
This 35th annual event has plenty to offer the whole family: live entertainment, an antique car show, food court, blueberry ice cream, fresh blueberries and blueberry bushes for sale.
Slocomb Tomato Festival, Slocomb (June 18)
Come and enjoy this family-friendly festival! Entertainment will include parades, music, gospel singing, recipe contests, a Ms. Tomato Pageant and more.
Chilton County Peach Festival, Clanton (June 18-25)
Join in as Chilton County celebrates Alabama peaches. Pageants and tournaments are held throughout the week, along with the Peach Run, art exhibitions, a cook-off, fishing tournament, live music, parades, live and silent auctions, barbecue and much more.
Third Annual Crawfish Bash, Bay Minette (June 26)
The Annual Crawfish Bash is a family-friendly community event that kicks off summer. You will find crawfish, corn, potatoes, sausage, hot dogs, locally brewed beer from Fairhope Brewing plus nonalcoholic beverages, live music, kids’ activities and a lot of fun!
Dega Jam, Talladega (July 1-3)
Dega Jam, which will take place in the infield of the biggest NASCAR track in the country, will feature a huge music lineup over three days and nights, programmed on three specially designed performance stages. The mega-music festival will offer fans a thrilling new annual way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Grand Bay Watermelon Festival, Grand Bay (July 3-4)
Celebrate summertime with all the free watermelon you can eat, along with arts, crafts, entertainment and the crowning of the winner of the Miss Grand Bay Watermelon Pageant. Children can enjoy an area created just for them.
Sand Mountain Potato Festival, Henagar (July 4)
This area in northern Alabama is well known for its rich diversity of agricultural products, including potatoes. Celebrate that heritage with live music, entertainment, games, inflatables, a horseshoe tournament and more. The night ends with a bang with a spectacular fireworks display.
Alabama Picnic in the Park, Geraldine (July 16)
Bring the family, lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic. Live entertainment, traditional open-pit cooked barbecue chicken, hot dogs, and black pot pinto beans and cornbread.
Sloss Fest, Birmingham (July 16-17)
The Inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival is a two-day music and lifestyle event taking place at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. An event that will not only bring great music to Birmingham, but will also highlight the regional craft beer and specialty cocktail scene and focus on a selection of incredible food.
The Sixth Annual Taste of Birmingham, Birmingham (July 28)
The Fifth Annual Taste of Birmingham, benefiting the Birmingham Boys Choir, features the nationally recognized cuisine of Birmingham’s top restaurants accompanied by refreshing drinks and entertainment. Enjoy award-winning music provided by the choir as well as great jazz.
Second Annual Eagles’ Wings Shrimpfest & Bar-B-Q, Northport (TBD)
This shrimp and barbecue festival is designed to bring the Gulf Coast to West Alabama, providing a fun-filled Saturday full of shrimp, barbecue, music and fun in historic downtown Northport, where unique local shopping should be on your itinerary! This event benefits Eagles’ Wings of Tuscaloosa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a nurturing and caring community for adults with special needs.
Birmingham Restaurant Week, Birmingham (TBD)
Some of the most popular restaurants in the area participate in this event and offer exclusive prix fixe menus that allow diners to try a variety of dishes and locales throughout the week.
Okra Festival, Burkville (Aug. 27)
The Okra Festival started as a small community event celebrating the only crop that survived an unusually hot summer in 2000. More than a decade later, it is one of the highlights of the summer season, featuring local food, music and cultural arts.
Clucknbrew, Cullman (Sept. 1-30)
Wings, bands and brew. What more could you ask for?
St. William Church Seafood Festival, Guntersville (Sept. 3)
This festival and its famous gumbo have been attracting locals and visitors for more than 40 years.
Riverfest Barbeque Cook-off, Decatur (Sept. 9-10)
The Alabama State Barbecue Cook-off features barbecue teams from across the South and the entire country, all competing for a total of $20,000 in cash prizes – and bragging rights too, of course. Come enjoy live musical entertainment, children’s activities and more.
PorktoberQue, Dothan (Sept. 23-24)
A polka party, biergarten, collectible steins, accordion music and lederhosen all accentuate this sanctioned barbecue cook-off.
Peanut Boil & Festival, Luverne (Sept. 24)
This festival boils more than 17 tons of peanuts and has been recognized as the largest peanut boil in the world for more than 30 years. Along with peanuts, enjoy a 5K run, car show, beauty pageant, activities for children and music.
Smoke on the Water, Guntersville (Oct. 1)
Sanctioned by the Alabama Barbecue Association and the Kansas City Barbeque Society, this competition also offers family entertainment, a petting zoo, woodcarvers, food, beverages and merchandise vendors.
Birmingham Originals Breakin’ Bread, Birmingham (Oct. 2)
Breakin’ Bread is a welcoming community event that keeps the entire family entertained. Food enthusiasts will be treated to signature dishes from Birmingham’s best local restaurants while local brews, imported and domestic beers, wines and soft drink selections will quench their thirst.
Cullman Oktoberfest, Cullman (Oct. 5-9)
Cullman’s Oktoberfest promises days of food, fun and dancing. Highlights include a car show, bratwurst tasting and the Miss Oktoberfest pageant.
Alabama Festival of Flavor, Foley (Oct. 8)
Join us for the fourth annual Alabama Festival of Flavor in the streets of historic downtown Foley. This free event will feature one of Alabama’s greatest treasures, our abundant fresh, local fare.
National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores (Oct. 13-16)
This festival celebrates a seafood staple — shrimp. Drawing more than 300,000 people over four days, it’s one of the largest outdoor festivals in the state. Adults can enjoy a variety of food, art and musical acts while the kids play in the Children’s Activity Village.
Lobsterfest, Anniston (Oct. 15)
At this annual festival, you can get a complete lobster meal to go or enjoy it on-site. While you’re there, take in the handmade crafts, games and other activities.
Alabama’s Renaissance Feast, Florence (Oct. 22-23)
Royalty and commoners alike will enjoy this authentic Renaissance feast prepared by a world-renowned chef. In true Renaissance style, entertainment will be provided throughout the meal.
Alabama Pecan Festival, Mobile (Nov. 4-6)
This family-oriented festival at the Tillman’s Corner Community Center features a carnival atmosphere with rides, food, face painting, arts and crafts and jewelry.
National Peanut Festival, Dothan (Nov 4-13)
The National Peanut Festival, the nation’s largest peanut festival, is held in Dothan each fall to honor local peanut farmers and to celebrate the harvest season. The “Peanut Capital of the World” has been hosting this festival for 78 years bringing in over 150,000 fairgoers for music, attractions and peanuts!
Cane Syrup Makin’ Day, Beatrice (Nov. 5)
Cane Syrup Makin’ Day is an annual tradition on the first Saturday in November. Watch as sugar cane is squeezed in a mule-driven cane grinder, boiled into syrup and canned.
Pile Road Arts & Crafts Fair 50th Anniversary, Pike Road (Nov. 5)
The Pike Road Arts & Crafts Festival features more than 250 arts and crafts and food vendors on the grounds of the historic Marks house in the city of Pike Road. Stop by The Barbeque Stand, The Chicken Shack or the Sweet Shop and Dessert Bar for a quick snack while tent hopping your way through the festival.
St. Nicholas Annual Food Festival, Brookside (Nov. 5-6)
At this yearly culinary celebration, festival-goers enjoy a taste of Eastern Europe in the offering of a variety of traditional Russian and Slavic dishes.
Mobile International Festival, Mobile (Nov. 19)
Enjoy adventures on the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America in the arena and exhibit halls of the Mobile Civic Center. See the arts and crafts, hear people speak their native languages, be entertained and taste the delicious flavors of the world.
A Chili Country Christmas, Brundidge (Dec. 9)
Enjoy a warm bowl of chili while you listen to the sounds and songs of this traditional Christmas celebration in Brundidge.
For more Alabama events, check out the calendar of festivals and events on alabama.travel.