The Alabama Board of Tourism has named this two-day festival one of the top 10 tourism events in the state during the month of September.
Held each year on the third weekend of September, the festival celebrates the roots, richness and variety of traditional and contemporary Alabama culture. The event will feature art exhibits and demonstrations by fine artists and folk artisans, live musical entertainment, a variety of children’s activities, and down-home Southern food. Special events at this year’s festival include a celebration of the life of John Henry — local legend and steel-drivin’ man — as well as a train show and an antique car show on Saturday.
More than 40 artisans will display and demonstrate their craftsmanship. You can watch demonstrations by a glass artist, a folk art wall artist and a soap maker, and purchase one-of-a-kind items.
Musicians and musical groups will perform outdoors in a variety of styles, including folk, bluegrass, newgrass, Celtic and mariachi music, and New Orleans jazz. A special Kid’s Korner will be set aside for children ages 4 to 12 to enjoy a variety of activities and make crafts to take home. A food court and farmers market will be open on Saturday and Sunday.
The John Henry Celebration will feature tours of Leeds Historic Depot, a train show, a display of student artwork and three performances of the play “Listen to that Cold Steel Ring,” written by Marie Cromer, will be directed this year by Nell Richardson.
The play, which will be performed at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday on the grounds of the depot, depicts the life of John Henry and the contest he waged against a steam drill in the Oak Mountain tunnel south of Leeds.
The festival is brought to you by grants from the Alabama Arts Tag, Alabama State Board of Tourism, the City of Leeds, the Leeds Scenic Byway, Daniel Foundation and the Alabama Power Foundation. Event sponsors are Covenant Bank and Regions Bank.
For information see www.leedsfolkfestival.com or call Regina Arnold at 206-699-1892.
— Justin Hogan, Courtesy of the Leeds Herald