Decatur, Ala. – The city of Athens is embracing its love of deep-fried foods and is set to serve up one day dedicated to all things dipped, battered and fried. The inaugural Athens Grease Festival is set for September 29, 2012 in downtown Athens, and along with celebrating the South’s love of fried food, the one day event also pays tribute to the Greek origination of the town’s name.
The downtown area will be filled with Southern crafts, Olympic-themed activities, and a variety of food vendors who will offer at least one fried item on their menus. And in the South, fried food is not limited to vegetables and meat; desserts such as fried Oreos and fried Twinkies have become increasingly popular. Organizers are not worried about encouraging others to indulge as long as everyone eats responsibly the other 364 days of the year. No fried food festival would be complete without a contest to see can best dip, batter, and fry. Food vendors and downtown restaurants are challenged with to see who can come up with the best fried vegetable, best fried meat, best fried dessert, and most outrageous.
Other activities planned for the day-long event include a bike ride, fun run, and a children’s area. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may turn out to be the largest toga party in North Alabama and dance to live music provided by Faron Davis, The Charles and Grant Show, Matt Prater, Richie and Deemer, Joey Thompson and Charles Williams, and The Park Band.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and admission is $ 5 or $ 4 for toga wearers. Children 12 years and under get in free. The Athens Grease Festival is organized and hosted by Spirit of Athens, a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Athens. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Spirit of Athens and downtown restoration and renovation projects. For more information, visit www.athensgreasefestival.com or call 256.232.9040.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals.Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston.Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org.
Road Trip #24
Get off the stretch of interstate that lies between Birmingham and Gadsden for a wonderful road trip where you will find beautiful mountains, historic towns and one of the best bouldering sites in America as well as attractions, shops and restaurants operated by local townspeople. The Schultz family owns and operates a nature park on Chandler Mountain near Steele. Near Springville, the Whites of White’s Mountain have built a bluegrass music festival park while another family of Whites on Pine Mountain cut off-road vehicle adventure trails on their land. And in the city of Springville at Homestead Hollow, thousands come for the annual arts and crafts events. A visit to attractions along Interstate 59 just northeast of Birmingham will allow you to race or climb your way to adventure and enjoy traditional bluegrass music, all on top of a mountain. This entire trip is off three adjacent I-59 exits: 166, 156 and 154 near the towns of Steele, Ashville and Springville.
via Rocking and Rolling on the Mountains: A Driving Tour Through Steele, Ashville and Springville – Sweet Home Alabama.
Coming up next month, October 4th and 5th, 2012 at Athens State University.
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is known as the “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions” for its role in reviving the tradition of competition in old time music. Approximately, 15,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year from more than 30 states. The convention brings some 200 contestants to compete for top prize money. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The Convention culminates in a “fiddle-off,” between the top two fiddlers. The winning fiddler is declared “Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion,” and takes home a trophy and $1000. A total of $11,850 will be awarded to contestants. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the outstanding music, 150 arts and crafts vendors and delicious festival food. ~ Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention – Sweet Home Alabama.
For more info check out the website: www.athens.edu/fiddlers
Decatur, Ala. – Art On The Square arrives September 8, 2012, bringing with it approximately 50 selected visual artists who will display their work under the trees in downtown Athens. The public is invited to admire the work, and for those who can’t walk away empty-handed, original pieces of work will be available to purchase.
The annual event, now in its seventh year, features the creative works of painters, sculptors, metal artists, photographers, ceramicists, fiber artists, jewelry artists, mixed media artists, and more from across the United States. Festival-goers have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the artists and purchase original artwork.
In conjunction with the fine art festival, “Kudzu Chronicles: a Southern Writers Event at Art on the Square” will bring published authors and panel discussions to the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning. Aspiring writers are invited to hear authors speak on a variety of topics and join discussions on writing, getting published and historical research and genealogy. Authors include Christopher Fuqua, Dr. Julie Hedgepeth Williams, Kris Reisz, Robert S. Davis, Peggy Allen Towns, Rusty Bynum, Sara McDaris, Kelly Kazek, Jerry Barksdale, Bill Hunt, Penne Laubenthal, Charlotte Fulton, Karen Middleton, and Frank Travis.
In addition, high school bands will perform and the Alabama Blues Project Advanced Band is set to take the stage at 10:30 a.m. followed by award-winning blues band Microwave Dave and The Nukes at noon.
For young, budding artists, the KidsZone offers mini art camps for children to experience hands-on art at the festival. Set up along Marion Street throughout the event, the art camps will offer painting, bead making, swirl art, tye-dye shirts, face painting, multimedia collage, plus much more. All activities are free.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Limestone County Courthouse. In case of heavy rain, Art On The Square will take place at the Athens State University gymnasium. Admission is free. For more information including an up-to-date entertainment schedule, visit www.aots-athens.com or call 256.444.8156.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members. Members of the AMLA include chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available from AMLA by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting their web site at www.northalabama.org.
The Alabama Tourism folks have put together a number of “Road Trips” in the Alabama Mountain Dreams area of coverage. I’ll be linking to a number of them in coming posts. This particular road trip is one I need to spend some time exploring. Every time we make our trip to the mountains from our home in Texas it’s this area that gets our mountain excitement started. Traveling up I59 we can not wait till Lookout Mountain comes in sight off to the east. From this point on in the trip, mountains will become our constant companions.
Road Trip #27
The largest city along the Alabama portion of Lookout Mountain Parkway is Fort Payne (887-805-4740). It is located on what was originally an important village in the Cherokee Nation and was home to Sequoyah who created the Cherokee alphabet that made reading and writing in that language possible. History tells us that Sequoyah is the only person ever to conceive an alphabet in its entirety.
A canvas of scenic beauty year-round is the best way to describe the Lookout Mountain area of northeastern Alabama, especially in DeKalb County, near Fort Payne. Native poplars, dogwoods, maples and hickories explode throughout the area in the fall and provide a panoramic showcase of vibrant yellow, gold and orange. Chock-full of natural splendor, the area is also known for its protected forestlands, which are rich with greenery in the spring. Little River Canyon, considered a marvel of nature and a recreational wonder, boasts a river that begins and ends entirely on top of a mountain and attracts visitors throughout the year. Many come here simply to view the beautiful waterfalls; others come to enjoy some of the country’s best whitewater kayaking.
To read more about this road trip you can go to… Fort Payne: The View From Lookout Mountain – Sweet Home Alabama.