Spring festivals celebrating Alabama food and brews start up at the beginning of March, with events in Theodore, Evergreen, and Birmingham.

March food festivals will celebrate collard greens, German sausages, barbecue, and Cajun food. Folks are cooking chili for a cause at another fest. A couple provide the chance to decide what goes better with beer—blooming flowers or blues music.

It’s probably no shock that these early festivals trend toward the Southern part of the state, where the March weather is more reliably mild than the central and northern parts of the state. But the upcoming cook-off fundraiser in metro Birmingham for the Exceptional Foundation will have plenty of hot chili to chase any chill.

Bellingrath’s Beers and Blooms (Theodore)

March 2

Ticket-holders can sample the breweries’ wares with a 2-ounce tasting mug supplied with admission. Tickets also allow admission to the garden and musical performances. Bellingrath will sell full pours of wine and beer. Food trucks will be onsite.

Time, location: noon-6 p.m.; Bellingrath Gardens

Admission: $35 for non-members and $30 for members in advance. Tickets are available here. Prices are $5 more at the gate. Children 2-12 are $15; under 2 is free.

Collard Green Festival (Evergreen)

March 2

The all-ages festival in the official Collard Green Capital of Alabama includes collard-cooking and cornbread-making contests, a steak cook-off, and a car show. Look for arts and crafts, a kid-play area with a petting zoo, and food vendors.

Time, location: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Evergreen Regional Airport

Admission: Free

Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-off (Mountain Brook)

March 2

Organizers of the 20th annual chili cook-off hope to exceed last year’s fundraising total of $450,000, which drew some 12,000 people. Admission buys all the bowl-of-red you can eat, plus access to musical performances and a kids’ zone. The Homewood-based Exceptional Foundation serves people with special needs.

Time, location: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Brookwood Village

Admission: Advance tickets are $17.05 including fee.

Downtown Cajun Cookoff (Mobile)

March 23

Sponsored by the Mobile office of the Cunningham Bounds law firm, the cookoff is a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center in Mobile. Teams will compete for fan-favorite honors, so come hungry.

Time, location: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Cathedral Square

Admission: Online tickets are $18. Advance tickets can be purchased for $15 at the Child Advocacy Center, Bebo’s (Old Shell Road and Springhill Market), Arrow Exterminators, and Olensky Brothers (downtown). Admission at the gate is $20.

Wiregrass Blues Festival Blues Brews & BBQ (Dothan)

March 23

The 11th festival boasts four bands, a backyard barbecue competition, a charity bike run, a car show, arts and crafts vendors, and fun for children. VIP tickets include a Friday-night meet-the-musicians party, access to artists at the show, private seating and bar, two drink tickets, and reserved food.

Time, location: Gates open at 2 p.m.; Uptown Jazz Club (160 South Saint Andrews Street)

Tickets: Available online, general admission is $25; VIP tickets $100.

German Sausage Festival (Elberta)

March 30

German immigrants, including the people who settled Elberta starting in 1904, brought their sausage-making skills from the old country. The twice-yearly German Sausage Festival, held the last Saturday in March and October, is a fundraiser for the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department. It’s huge, with some 20,000 visitors downing three tons of sausage and visiting more than 200 arts and crafts vendors. You’ll hear plenty of polka and other German music, too.

Time, location: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;  Elberta town park, Main Street and State Street.

Admission: Free