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Fun things to do in Alabama

Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

A curated list of the best upcoming events in Alabama.

Fourth of July at Montgomery Whitewater

FREE! July 4 In celebration of Independence Day and the first anniversary of Montgomery Whitewater’s grand opening, the water park will host an array of family-friendly activities, including various races and live music performances. There are also trails, restaurants, and retail shops to explore. Montgomery.

Soil to Mud: July Seeds to Sprout

July 5 and July 13 Tots are invited to play in the dirt and mud at Huntsville Botanical Garden. The event promises to celebrate the “squishy, gooey joy of mud,” and is a sensory experience for all involved. Members, free. Nonmembers, $19. Huntsville.

Blue Marlin Grand Championship

FREE! July 10­–14 Known as “The Greatest Show in Sportfishing,” this tournament is one of the few saltwater spectator fishing tournaments out there. Join more than 14,000 fishing enthusiasts and gather at the Wharf to watch as some of the most impressive Gulf of Mexico catches are weighed in. Orange Beach.

Roll Mobile

FREE! July 12, August 9, September 13 On second Fridays through October, Bienville Square will close to cars and open for roller skaters. The events will include a DJ for tunes as well as feature fun dress-up themes. In July, the first 50 attendees will receive a free skate rental. Mobile.

Rock the South

July 18–20 Since its 2012 beginnings, this annual music extravaganza has brought chart-topping acts to Cullman. This year, Eric Church, Hardy, and Jelly Roll will take the stage. To date, the festival has donated $600,000 to local charities. Tickets start at $150. Cullman.

Golden Hour at Huntsville Botanical Garden

Thursdays and Fridays in August Explore the 118 acres encompassing Huntsville Botanical Garden during its extended evening hours through September 27. Enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment in the shade of the Cedar Glade. On select Thursdays, instructors from Fred Astaire Dance Studio lead free dance lessons. Members, free; non-members, $19. Huntsville.

127 Yard Sale

FREE! August 1–4 Calling all bargain hunters, yard sale connoisseurs, treasure seekers, and hagglers! The once-a-year, 690-mile shopping trip is back. Shop all 127 miles of the event and you’ll wind up in Michigan. Sightsee along the way. Gadsden.

True Crime Wagon Tour

August 3 From feuding families to colorful characters threatening presidential assassinations, Cahawba is Alabama’s most famous ghost town with a surprising and interesting history. Join the 1-hour wagon tour to learn more. Tickets, $15. Orrville.

Sidewalk Film Fest

August 19–24 Birmingham’s historic theater district comes alive during the annual Sidewalk Film Festival. Now in its 26th year, the event draws independent filmmakers from the region and beyond for a weekend of cinematic art and festivities. VIP, weekend, and single-day tickets are available. Birmingham.

Hog Days of Summer BBQ & Music Festival

August 24 The Hog Days of Summer festival is known as the “tastiest party of the year,” showcasing the region’s most popular barbecue joints. Now in its 7th year, the Druids Charity Club will once again transform the Train Shed into a barbecue and live music haven. Presale tickets start at $30. Day-of-event pricing starts at $45. Montgomery.

Redtails Classic Weekend

September 1 Alumni and fans will come together for an epic rivalry football game between Tuskegee University and Fort Valley State University for the Boeing Redtails Classic at the historic Cramton Bowl. The game is held in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in WWII. Tickets start at $30. Montgomery.

Bulls on the Beach

September 5­–7 Three nights of live rodeo action featuring professional bull riders from around the country hit the Florabama for the 10th annual Bulls on the Beach. The event is suitable for the whole family and benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Adult tickets, $30. Orange Beach.

Oka Kapassa

FREE! September 14 The Oka Kapassa Return to Coldwater Festival is a family-friendly event highlighting Native American heritage, entertainment, and education through hands-on activities and demonstrations. It celebrates the culture and traditions of American Indians who once lived in north Alabama. Tuscumbia.

Sizzle and Smoke

FREE! September 27–28 As Alabama’s only triple steak cook-off and a Steak Cookoff Association (SCA)-sanctioned event, Sizzle and Smoke is a 2-day competition of flaming hot grilling action. SCA members are invited to enter the competition. There will be food trucks, a steak sandwich sale, raffle prizes, and a silent auction. Saturday’s lineup includes a car show, too. Decatur.

Eva Frontier Days

FREE! September 28 The annual Frontier Days festival features a parade, a greased pig chase, and a frog jumping contest. Several events leading up to the big festival weekend include a community hayride and pageant. Eva.

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