April 7, 2021

5 food festivals in Birmingham happening this month

4.1 min read

April normally is a big month for food festivals in Birmingham, when people eat for a good cause and a good time. But after most festivals in 2020 were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it still is wreaking some havoc on group events early this year. A few favorites remain on hold for now, but the good times will roll this month at festivals like Gumbo Gala and Funky Fish Fry.  Put on your party mask for the socially distanced gatherings listed below. We’ve also included info on some April festivals that might be held later this year instead.

Funky Fish Fry

April is Autism Awareness Month, and the 11th Funky Fish Fry is a family-friendly benefit for the Autism Society of Alabama, founded in 1994, and Mitchell’s Place, a comprehensive treatment center and accredited preschool for children diagnosed with autism, founded in 2005. Set for Saturday April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Avondale Brewing Co. (201 41st St South, 35222), tickets are $25 each and $40 for two, which includes a fried catfish plate by Ezell’s Fish Camp and one drink. To-go plate tickets are $15, and general admission (no food or drink included) is $10. Children 12 and under are free. Scheduled bands are The Drennen Brothers (11:30-1), Automatic Slim Blues Band (1:30-3), and Livewire (3:30-5).

Gumbo Gala

This year’s event is split into two parts—the traditional fair on April 17 with New Orleans jazz music, food trucks, and vendors, and Gumbo to Geaux on April 22–23. Proceeds benefit Episcopal Place, which provides affordable, independent living for seniors and disabled adults. Tasteful Touch Catering’s food truck will dish the popular Cajun/Creole stew at the main event at Cahaba Brewing Co. (4500 Fifth Ave. S, Building C, 35222), from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted. For Gumbo to Geaux, order quarts of gumbo online from Cajun Cleaver, FIT Biscuit, or Spoon and Ladle—along with fresh baguettes from Continental Bakery—by April 18. Pickup is April 22-23 at Episcopal Place (1112 26th St. S, 35205).

gumbo gala

Corks and Chefs

Part of the Magic City Art Connection festival, Corks and Chefs is where patrons can sample food from some of Birmingham’s most beloved restaurants and food professionals, plus wine, craft beer, cocktails, and other drinks from local producers and distributors. This is the 24th year for Corks and Chefs, set for April 24-25 at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark (20 32nd St. N, 35222). Ticket information for Corks and Chefs (a separate ticket from MCAC) will be announced in early April. Magic City Art Connection, now in its 38th year, features a juried art competition and display, creative workshops for children, and performance stages for music and dance.

corks & chefs

Wing Ding Challenge

This fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by Leadership Vestavia Hills includes a chicken wing cooking competition for both chefs and amateurs, music, and a play area for children. Ticket information for the April 24 event, set for 4 p.m.–7 p.m.  at the Vestavia Hills City Hall lawn (1032 Montgomery Highway 35216), will be announced on Eventbrite.com.

wing ding

MortgageBanc Chili Cookoff

OK, it’s actually set for May 1. But that’s the Saturday ending the last week in April, so we’ll include it here. This benefit at Brookwood Village (off Shades Creek Parkway), with all proceeds going to The Exceptional Foundation, is a major event. The last Chili Cook-Off pitted 158 teams competing for chili kudos, with more than 12,000 people attending. There will be music, a kid zone, and all the chili you can eat. It’s set for 10:30 a.m.—3 p.m. Tickets, available here, are $15; children 12 and under get in free. Founded in 1993, The Exceptional Foundation provides social and recreational services to people with special needs.

chili cookoff

Postponed Festivals:

The St. Elias Lebanese Food Festival, normally held in mid-April, is now set for June 11-12 at St. Elias Maronite Church.

The Bob Sykes BBQ and Blues Festival was ready to rock on April 24 after a one-year interruption, but has been postponed to a date and location to be determined due to the continued closure of its longtime host site, Bessemer’s DeBardeleben Park.

April normally is a big month for food festivals in Birmingham, when people eat for a good cause and a good time. But after most festivals in 2020 were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it still is wreaking some havoc on group events early this year. A few favorites remain on hold for now, but the good times will roll this month at festivals like Gumbo Gala and Funky Fish Fry.  Put on your party mask for the socially distanced gatherings listed below. We’ve also included info on some April festivals that might be held later this year instead.

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