9 exciting festivals in Alabama this October—butterbeans, songwriting + more

Greek Festival Birmingham
(Greek Food Festival Birmingham Alabama / Facebook)

As October approaches in Alabama, so does prime festival season. Celebrating everything from butter beans to fiddling, these nine festivals will keep your calendar (and camera roll) interesting all month long.

1. Opelika Songwriters Festival

While this annual festival is one of the newer ones on this list, it’s no less popular. The Opelika Songwriters Festival brings together music-lovers from the Auburn area and beyond for four days of music, workshops, events and more.

This year’s lineup is an impressive one, featuring big names like Drivin’ and Cryin’, 10,000 Maniacs and many more.

2. 56th Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention

The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention may sound like a niche festival, but it draws huge crowds each year with its exciting fiddle competitions and performances. Even if you’ve never touched a fiddle in your life, there are activities for everyone—arts and crafts, vendors, food and even workshops.

3. Port City Blues Festival

Tucka, King George and Calvin Richardson are headlining the 2023 Port City Blues Festival. This event at the Mobile Civic Center is sure to be a groovin’ good time.

4. Madison Street Festival

On the first Saturday of each October, the streets of historic Downtown Madison are flooded with festival-goers. The Madison Street Festival welcomes thousands of visitors each year to enjoy the various activities and attractions—a children’s area, Crafter’s Cove, community showcase, student art area, teen area, Artist Alley, food, business showcase, parade and more.

5. 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival

A Basket Of Seafood
Photo by Sunira Moses on Unsplash

This year’s National Shrimp Festival is a special one—it’s the 50th anniversary! This volunteer-driven, four-day festival is set in the perfect place—Coastal Alabama. Visitors can enjoy a sand sculpture contest, live music, marketplace and of course, lots of shrimp.

6. Whistlestop BBQ Festival

North Alabama was saddened when it was announced that Whistlestop BBQ Festival would not be returning after its 20+ year run. However, a new version of the festival is actually coming back again this year at the ever-popular MidCity District in Huntsville. There will be food and market vendors, but the real attraction is the intensely delicious barbecue competition.

7. 52nd Kentuck Festival of the Arts

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts is a community staple in the Tuscaloosa area, back again in 2023 for their 52nd year. This event features loads of impressive and inspiring art from 270+ artists, as well as live music, childrens’ activities, craft demonstrations, craft beer and more. It’s an award-winner—for good reason.

8. 50th Annual Greek Festival—Birmingham

Greek Festival Birmingham
(Greek Food Festival Birmingham Alabama / Facebook)

Another festival celebrating 50 years in 2023 is the Greek Food Festival. For three days, 19th Street in downtown Birmingham is flooded with Greek food lovers, lining up for delicious pastichios, spanokopeta, dolmathes, gyros, Greek pastries and much more.

This open-air festival is filled with lively traditional music, dancing and a market place. Visitors can even tour the beautiful, old Holy Trinity + Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

9. Alabama Butterbean Festival

The annual Alabama Butterbean Festival is just as fun as it sounds. There’s a whole carnival, a 5k, arts and crafts, a kids corner, vendors and more. And yes, there are butter beans—including one that walks.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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