A fun array of festivals built around food and drink are on the menu this fall across northern Alabama.
Bacchus, barbecue, and butterbeans are the themes at September and October fêtes in Huntsville, Attalla, Jasper, Madison, and Cullman. Hit ’em all and you’ll be as busy as bees—especially at the fourth Alabama Honeybee Festival outside Huntsville the first Saturday in October.
Here are six events where food shares a plate with musical acts, arts and crafts vendors, and runners.
Bucky the Butterbean (Alabama Butterbean Festival/Facebook)
A fall classic in downtown Pinson, the Alabama Butterbean Festival shares a plate with the C&M Entertainment Carnival. The carnival runs Wednesday through Sunday (ride armbands are $20 each). The Butterbean Festival on Friday and Saturday includes arts and crafts vendors, food (in the “Knosh Pit”). Participate in Saturday’s 5K race. Meet Bucky Butterbean, the festival mascot. See the 1,000-gallon pot used in 2010 to set a Guinness World Record (later eclipsed) for largest pot of baked beans.
Location: Hampton Cove in Huntsville
Held by Alchemy Farms and Plants, the fourth Alabama Honeybee Festival celebrates the insects that pollinate our gardens and farms, and give us sweet, nutritious honey as a bonus. It’s an opportunity to learn about honeybees and beekeeping, and see them at work. Food trucks, vendors, and artisans also will be there. Free admission and family-friendly.
In its seventh year, the barbecue fest is a fundraiser that has benefitted dozens of area non-profits, community centers, and charitable groups. Competitions include Backyard, a sanctioned competition cooking chicken and pork ribs; and People’s Choice with pork butt and desserts. Both carry cash prizes. At Kids-Q, children ages 7-12 grill burgers. The party includes a children’s fun zone, Barq-Off dog parade, car show, and beer garden.
Willis Creek Vineyards and Winery hosts the second annual celebration of wines made from grapes and other fruits. More than a dozen members of the Alabama Winemakers and Grape Growers Association are signed up for the two-day event, which will feature food trucks and entertainment. Under a 2021 state law, attendees will be able to buy directly from the vintners. Advance tickets, which cut off October 13, are available for single-day admission or both days. Tickets at the gate are $50 per day or $70 for both sessions. Designated drivers pay $10 to get in but get a $10 food voucher.
(Bernard Blues and BBQ/Facebook)
The barbecue cookoff features two categories of competition involving four-person teams, “Shade Tree” (pork ribs and chicken) and the Master Series Sanctioned Contest (ribs, chicken, pork butt and beef brisket). Music acts include country music scion Walker Montgomery, son of Nashville singer John Michael Montgomery (and nephew of Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery). General admission tickets are $24.91 with taxes and fees.
Held on the ground of 131-year-old St. Bernard Abbey and benefitting its preparatory school, the food includes pulled pork, hamburgers, bratwursts, ribs, and chicken. Earl Williams and the Juke Band perform Saturday afternoon and The Sinners play on Sunday. Artisan vendor products must be handmade, including pottery, wreaths, wood bowls and birdhouses, and freshly-ground cornmeal and grits. A drawing (tickets start at $25) with a $10,000 first prize is set for 4 p.m. Sunday. Requested donation for admission is $10 (ages 5 and under get in free); reduced-price ticket for the Ave Maria Grotto is $5.