Year of Alabama Music and Civil War Sesquicentennial Highlighted
Montgomery, Ala. — A traveling exhibit inspired by the CSI television drama, the richest golf tournament in a generation, the 50th anniversary of “The Miracle Worker” and two original Civil War plays about Montgomery are among the top ten events selected by the Alabama Tourism Department for 2011.
“These 10 events celebrate milestones in tourism in Alabama,” said director, Lee Sentell. “We celebrate The Year of Alabama Music, the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and significant anniversaries. These events showcase our state’s rich music and heritage.”
Below are the Top 10 Events of 2011 that are listed in the tourism department’s annual calendar of events:
1. CSI: The Experience, Huntsville
Jan. 29-May 1
U.S. Space and Rocket Center–The exhibit immerses guests in hands-on science while leading them through the challenge of solving a crime mystery. The center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 256.721.5411, www.spacecamp.com.
2. Civil War Plays at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery
Feb. 4-Mar. 19
The Flag Maker of Market Street
In this performance, Montgomery store owner George Cowles walks a fine line catering to the Confederacy while holding secret Unionist meetings in his back room. Cautious of the increasingly stirring climate and fearful for his family and business, George is careful not to take any risks. But when George is asked to create the first Confederate flag and enlists the help of his slave Mae, he unwittingly exposes her to danger– and has to make a choice between upholding his convictions and living a lie.
Feb. 18-Mar. 20
Fifteen-year-old Willie Baldwin, enchanted by the passionate rhetoric of the ardent secessionist William Lowndes Yancey, is increasingly disgusted by his father’s more moderate views. As tension grows between Willie, his family and longtime friend freedman James Hale, Willie’s rash behavior has unforeseen consequences resulting in tragedy and ultimately, redemption.
3. 197th Anniversary of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alexander City
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park–Visitors will experience live cannon fire, live the lives of Creek and Cherokee Indians, visit hunting camps and see demonstrations of traditional skills of the early 1800s. They will also learn the importance of this battle in U.S. history. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 256.237.7111, www.nps.gov/hobe.
4. Courage Under Fire: The 1961 Burning of the Freedom Riders Bus, Anniston
May 14-Jul. 15
Calhoun County Public Library–Visitors can see more than 60 photographic panels depicting the May 14, 1961 attack by violent segregationists on the first Freedom Ride. Taken by a local newspaper photographer, the famous images show the mob at the downtown Greyhound Bus Station and the attack outside of town. The photographs helped ignite national and international outrage at the treatment of African Americans in the South. 256.236.0996, www.spiritofanniston.org.
5. Regions Tradition PGA Tour, Birmingham
Shoals Creek Country Club–Some of the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game compete with 16 World Golf Hall of Fame members and other major championship winners. 205.969.9229.
6. 50th Annual “The Miracle Worker” Play, Tuscumbia
Jun. 3-Jul. 9
Keller’s Birthplace and Home–Now in its 50th year, this Broadway-style play recalls the childhood of deaf-blind Helen Keller, “America’s First Lady of Courage,” and her gifted teacher, Anne Sullivan. Performances on Fri. & Sat. only; gates open at 6:45 p.m. 256.383.0783, www.TheMiracleWorker.org.
7. 30th Annual W. C. Handy Music Festival, Florence
The weeklong celebration honors the musical heritage of Northwest Alabama and the legacy of W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” with a parade, concerts, exhibits, theater, athletic events and live music. 256.766.7642, www.wchandymusicfestival.org.
8. BayFest Music Festival, Mobile
More than 225,000 people are expected to jam the streets of downtown Mobile to hear some 125 live musical acts on nine stages during the weekend. BayFest offers continuous music for every fan including country, classic rock, alternative, pop, jazz, R&B, rap, gospel and modern rock. The event includes family activities that have garnered rave reviews. Fri., 6:30 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 2 p.m.-midnight; Sun., 2-10 p.m. 251.478.5679, www.bayfest.com.
9. 40th Annual National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores
The beaches come alive with more than 300 vendors of fine arts, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace, delicious seafood and fabulous entertainment. There is a Children’s Activity Village, Sand Sculpture Contest and exhibits for families to enjoy. Local and national music acts feature genres from country, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll to zydeco and soul. 251.968.4237, www.nationalshrimpfestival.com.
10. 40th Annual Kentuck Art Festival, Northport
Nationally recognized for its quality and diversity, the festival celebrates a variety of artistic styles from folk to contemporary arts as well as traditional crafts. More than 250 artists participate in the festival and are invited as a guest artist or are juried based on the quality and originality of their work. The guest artists are nationally recognized and their powerful visual images continue to capture national and international acclaim. Annie Tolliver Turner, Lonnie Holley, Butch Anthony and Charlie Lucas are among the self-taught artists Kentuck has showcased. 205.758.1257, 205.391.9200, www.kentuck.org.