Fun and Entertainment at the Festivals of Alabama
Unofficially referred to as the Yellowhammer State after its state bird, and known as the 'Heart of Dixie', Alabama in the United States is surrounded by Tennessee on the north, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico on the south, Georgia to the east and Mississippi to the west. There are a host of visitor attractions scattered throughout the state, including State Historic Sites, such as the Alabama Historical Commission in Montgomery, the Alabama Confederate Soldiers Home in Mountain Creek, the historic settlement of Cahaba southwest of Selma, Fort Jackson and Fort Toulouse near Wetumpka, and Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay. Nature lovers will enjoy the nature centers of Alabama, such as the Historic Blakely State Park, Ruffner Mountain Park, Southern Environmental Center, the Cathedral Cavern State Park and the Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge.
Alabama also has a variety of festivals that are popular with locals and visitors to the state. One such event is the Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic held each year on Memorial Day weekend at Point Mallard Park in Decatur. The event draws up to 50,000 spectators who travel from far and wide to join in the festivities of one of the oldest hot-air balloon race events in the mid-South. The competition started in 1978 with 17 balloonists as a kick-off event for Alabama’s tourism season. The Alabama Hot-Air Balloon Classic continued to grow and is currently a three-day event, drawing around sixty pilots from twenty states to compete in the three categories – Hare & Hound Race, Balloon Glow, and Key Grab. In addition to the spectacle of dozens of hot-air balloons floating overhead, visitors can enjoy live entertainment, arts and crafts, activities for children, a fireworks extravaganza, classic car show and antique tractor show.
The Hangout Music Festival is another popular event on Alabama's social calendar. This three day festival takes place on beach of Gulf Shores and features a range of music genres to keep the party rocking. Main headliners for the 2012 festival were Jack White, Dave Matthews Band and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival is limited to 35,000 ticket holders and the 2012 event was sold out within one hour of going on sale. Other festivals in Alabama include the Alabama Book Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Big Spring Jam, Christmas on the River, Rural Fun Day, National Peanut Festival, and the Spirit of America Festival.