There is plenty to do on a beautiful weekend in Alabama.
The Southern Environmental Center will host the eighth annual Darter Festival at Avondale Brewery outdoors Sunday, May 23, from noon to 5 p.m. There will be a Darter Dance performance by Birmingham City preschoolers, live music, beer, food and socially distanced family fun to support educational programs at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. The festival celebrates a tiny fish that can be found only in the clean, fresh waters of Turkey Creek. Live performers are AJ Beavers from noon to 1 p.m., Dead Fingers from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and Early James from 3 to 4 p.m. The Avondale Burger Co. food truck will be on-site. Guests will get to try Avondale Brewery’s seasonal Darter Ale and – for the first time ever – you can take home Darter Ale in the limited-release vermilion darter six-pack. Advance general admission tickets are $10, and advance VIP tickets, which include food, drinks and prime seating, are $50. Tickets at the door will be $15 for general admission and $60 for VIP.
Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy 50 acres of outside seating as pioneer demonstrators bring life to the old-timey days. See what it was like to cook on a wood stove, be a blacksmith, make soap or hand-decorate arts and crafts. Visit the general store, open-air food court and more. No pets allowed. Homestead Hollow is May 14-16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Springville.
Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight, along with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Gulf Coast Wing and the Flagship Detroit Foundation, is bringing living history to Birmingham. One of the earliest airline passenger aircraft, the Douglas DC-3 “Flagship Detroit,” and one of the most strategic and iconic aircraft of World War II, the B-17 Flying Fortress, as well as two other vintage warbirds, will roar into the Birmingham International Airport May 14-16. The B-17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders,” one of only five remaining flying today, was the first Flying Fortress to be restored solely as a flying museum. Developed as a strategic bomber, the B-17 was legendary for its ability to sustain heavy damage in battle and bolstered by its self-sufficient firepower. It was most often used for daytime raids over Germany and was flown in every theater of the war. The Douglas DC-3 “Flagship Detroit” is the oldest DC-3 in the world that is still flying and has the distinction of having carried first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on several occasions. She always sat in the same seat (the rear seat on the right side, just forward of the entry door) because, it has been said, she always wanted to be the last person boarded and the first person deplaned. The “Flagship Detroit” is a flying tribute to the airplane that made passenger air travel a viable form of public transportation and the significant part the Douglas DC-3 played during the early years of airline travel. Included in this visit are the popular SNJ/T6 Texan advanced trainer, famous for training fighter and bomber pilots, as well as the twin-engine Navy JRB transport “Little Raider,“ one of the world’s most widely used light aircraft. The public is invited to enjoy onboard tours and flights with the aircraft crews two blocks from the Southern Museum of Flight at the Atlantic Aviation Gate. Ground tours will be conducted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, excluding flying times. To fly the warbirds, call 855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217), reserve online at B17texasraiders.org or see more on facebook.com/B17texasraiders. To provide the safest possible environment for crews and attendees, extra sanitization procedures will be in place, as well as social distancing. Face coverings are required for aircraft access. For more information, visit southernmuseumofflight.org, commemorativeairforce.org or flagshipdetroit.org.
Birmingham Walking Tours
Vulcan Park and Museum (VPM) announces the expansion of its annual programming with 40 tours scheduled across Birmingham through the end of 2021. Visitors and residents may experience the history and beauty of Birmingham’s neighborhoods and cultural districts in a fun, invigorating way. The Birmingham Walking Tours invite participants to step into the shoes of the architects, visionaries, socialites and entrepreneurs who sparked the magic in the “Magic City.” The first three tours will be Center Street, the Retail/Theatre District and Five Points South, led by Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins, Gary Bostany and Allison Vosicky, respectively. From historical homes to new retail developments, VPM has offered walking tours the past 16 years unlocking and discovering the uniqueness of the city. A brainchild of historian and author Phillip Morris, the tours allow participants to dive into Birmingham’s history and culture to discover hidden architectural treasures. Registration is $25 for VPM members and $40 for nonmembers. Masks and social distancing are required. Tour groups will not exceed 20 participants. Reservations and payment are required in advance. The Birmingham Walking Tours are on Saturdays and Sundays over the next year. For more information or to register, go to birminghamwalkingtours.com.
This Saturday’s soccer match will be at Legion Field. Birmingham Legion FC will face Memphis 901 FC. “Legion at Legion” aims to be an event that highlights the best of Birmingham. Tickets for the match are $5 and will be available at bhmlegion.com. Anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine at the Legion Field vaccination site any day this week will receive a ticket to Saturday’s game. The vaccination site is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and walk-ups are welcome.
Birmingham Museum of Art
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” brings together works primarily from the Birmingham Museum of Art’s permanent collection that look at themes of power and agency. This exhibition takes its name from a painting by Amy Sherald, whose portraits depict Black portrait-sitters with pride, dignity and joy, representation historically afforded only to white people. Some artists in the exhibition look toward power in creative endeavors, like music. Others contemplate the hidden potential of everyday objects by transforming them into works of art. Several artists engage the representation of space and architecture – including museum spaces – to discover the dynamics of power. Considered together, these works illustrate the importance of being seen, choosing how to be depicted and telling one’s own history. The exhibit will be available through January 2022 at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama
For more than a decade, the Wiregrass Museum of Art has hosted the Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama, an exhibition of work created by Alabama students with visual impairments, blindness or deafness. The exhibition is juried statewide and travels from Birmingham to Mobile. Select pieces are shown internationally. The Helen Keller Art Show emphasizes creativity, color and tactile media in the arts. The winning entry for the grand prize is selected by the Helen Keller Festival Board to receive the Patty Johnson Award and will remain in the permanent collection at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, the birthplace of Helen Keller. The show will be on view through Saturday, May 22 at 126 Museum Ave. in Dothan.
Join Opera Birmingham for a street party on Second Avenue North in front of The Collins Bar Sunday, May 16 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. as it continues the outdoor Opera Shots concert series. Opera Shots is Opera Birmingham’s annual series of casual pop-up concerts throughout the community, held in unexpected places and designed to break down the stereotypes of opera. Opera Shots concerts feature members of the Opera Birmingham Chorus and guest artists presenting an open-mic-style concert of the greatest hits of opera and musical theater. The concert will feature guest artists Savannah Bracewell, Chris Farley, Alie B. Gorrie, Dylan Hughes, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, Emily Jaworski Koriath, Samuel Robertson, Macy Rowland, Joylyn Rushing, Allison Sanders, Jonathan Michael Smith and Angela Yoon, accompanied by Christy Vest on piano. The performance will include selections from “The Barber of Seville,” “La Bohème,” “Tosca,” “Carmen,” “Hamilton,” “A Little Night Music,” “La Rondine,” “Into the Woods,” “Porgy and Bess” and “South Pacific,” among others. Food and beverages are available for purchase from The Collins Bar. Lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome. For the health of patrons, staff and performers, and in keeping with Birmingham’s mask ordinance, masks are required at the event, and social distancing will be in effect. Admission is free. Stay tuned for dates and locations in the fall as Opera Birmingham pops up at unexpected locations across the Birmingham metro area. Donate at operabirmingham.org.
DeSoto State Park
Miller’s Bend Paddle Shack in the DeSoto Falls picnic area will be open this weekend for scenic kayak trips up the West Fork of Little River north of Fort Payne. Rent sit-on-top kayaks for a peaceful flatwater paddle on Little River overlooking beautiful DeSoto Falls. An adventure can be up to 4 miles round trip. Paddle trips are perfect for individuals or groups. Life vests and paddles will be provided. Shack hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kayaks are available by reservation Monday through Friday, by appointment only, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call DeSoto State Park’s Lodge for information at 256-845-5380.
Gravity Island Watersports
OWA’s Gravity Island Watersports in Foley will open the summer with two wet attractions, an Aqua Play and Wake Park, which are the first of their kind in coastal Alabama. The Aqua Play, by Union AquaParks, offers recreational waterplay on two inflatable obstacle courses in the lake at OWA. Guests will slip and slide, trying not to fall off, as they test their versatility and rush across the obstacles. The Wake Park is a two-tower cable system by Sesitec System 2.0 stretching across the lake at OWA, operated by professional wakeboarder T.J. Allen and his wife, Caitlin. Their team will provide hands-on training with the cable system to help guests glide across the lake with certified lifeguards on hand to ensure a fun, safe experience. Allen and his team will coach and give lessons to those looking to improve their wakeboard skills. For those new to watersports, Gravity Island Wake Park offers a “get up guarantee” to enhance the experience for every rider. Once open, reservations will be available online or onsite at the OWA Island Boathouse or Starting Dock behind Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant. Sign up for email updates at gravityislandwatersports.com.
The 32nd annual Cahaba Lily Festival continues to adapt to the pandemic. This year’s festival presents a two-part format featuring a livestream program and encouraging people to visit the refuge throughout May. The first part of the format is the festival livestream scheduled for Saturday, May 15 at 9:10 a.m. The program includes a keynote presentation by Larry Davenport as well as updates from partner organizations, such as the Cahaba River Society, the Nature Conservancy and others. Attendees can watch on Facebook and YouTube. Links to the program can be found at CahabaLily.com. The second part of the format encourages everyone to visit the refuge to experience the lilies firsthand. The festival website includes information on when to visit and how to get to the refuge. It includes a list of activities visitors may want to consider as they plan their daytrip to Bibb County. Events such as the Woodstock Music Festival, canoe trips with the Cahaba River Society, Griffin Farms’ Bibb Boil Festival and a barbecue/butterbean dinner at the Cahaba Lily Center are all happening nearby during May and would make for a fun outing. The Cahaba Lily Center will be open Saturday afternoons in May so that visitors can stop to use the restrooms and purchase Lily Festival gear. Details of available hours will be posted on the festival website. The festival draws hundreds of visitors each year to West Blocton and the nearby Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. It celebrates the rare lily that grows in spectacular clusters in the rocky shoals of the Cahaba River while calling attention to environmental issues affecting central Alabama. The event is free, but donations are accepted to help keep the Cahaba Lily Center going. For information, email [email protected] or visit cahabalily.com.
Sidewalk Film Festival returns to the theatre district
Passes for this year’s Sidewalk Film Festival will go on sale Monday, May 17 at 8 a.m. The annual festival will return Aug. 23-29 to the Historic Theatre District, which includes the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, the Alabama Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, First Church Birmingham, the Alabama School of Fine Arts Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre, Recital Hall and Lecture Hall, and the Steiner Auditorium at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The festival lineup will be announced in mid-July.
Tickets are on sale at Red Mountain Entertainment for Mobile’s own Muscadine Bloodline. The live performance will be Tuesday, May 27 at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Link to Ticketmaster or The Wharf box office for ticket information.
Rock the South
Rock the South returns to Cullman Aug. 13-14 with performances by Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nelly, Ashley McBryde, Jordan Davis, Ingrid Andress, Flatland Cavalry, Trey Lewis, Drew Parker, Morgan Wade, Alex Hall, Josh Kiser, Laine Hardy and Dee Jay Silver. Save up to $50 on tickets through Tuesday, May 18. Social Media Tag: #Biggestpartyinthesouth
Tickets are on sale for the Greatest Hits of Foreigner Tour. Foreigner will perform Wednesday, Nov. 17 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. For more information, click on redmountainentertainment.com. Purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com.
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