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By Courtney Corbridge 

If you’re looking for some fun things to do during this beautiful first weekend of fall, we think these are some of the best. Whatever you do, Birmingham, have a wonderful time and get out and enjoy the best that our area has to offer.

 

Saturday, Sept. 26

Irondale Whistle Stop Festival (10–7pm, 9pm for fireworks at Grants Mill Station) Visit historic Irondale while browsing more than 100 vendors’ arts, crafts, and food stalls. On top of that, there will be live entertainment. Best of all, it’s free! Visit http://irondalewhistlestopfestival.com/ for more details.

Crestline Rocks has become an event that families and young people alike look forward to each year.Crestline Rocks (4–6pm) Help Birmingham’s inner-city preschoolers get a head start by joining in an afternoon of family fun and entertainment! This collaborative event between PreSchool Partners and Regions Bank will have the best of the area’s local bands playing at the Emmet O’Neal Library. Come relax on a blanket as you listen to music and participate in kid-friendly entertainment—all while supporting a great cause. It’s only $5 for kids 11 and under. And $10 for everyone else. All proceeds go to PreSchool Partners. Visit http://www.preschool-partners.org/crestline-about.php for more details.

The Little Red Hen (10am & 12pm) The Wee Folks Theatre brings to life the classic tale of a busy little hen and her bread—but this time it’s the whole story. Meet Miz Hen and others in a musical not to be missed! It’s $9 for kids and $11 for adults. Check out http://www.bct123.org/RedHen.html to learn more.

Big Fish Through Oct. 4 (Thurs.–Sat. 7:30pm & Sat.–Sun. 2pm, beginning Sept. 27) Gear up for some tall tales because Big Fish is here—and only for another week. It’s probably the most fun you can have in the story of man rebuilding his relationship with his father. For tickets, prices, and more details visit http://www.bct123.org/RedHen.html.

 

Sunday, Sept. 27

24th Annual Magic City AIDS Walk & 5k Run (3:30–6:30pm) Come support a great cause while getting fit and being entertained. With food, a 5k run, live music, craft vendors, and food, you simply cannot go wrong. Admission is free, so don’t miss it. More details can be found at http://www.birminghamaidsoutreach.org/#!magic-city-aids-walk/c24d3.

 

Thursday, Oct. 1

Birmingham Art CrawlBirmingham Art Crawl (5–9pm) As with every first Thursday of the month, the Birmingham Art Crawl is back with live musical performances and its local artists. Snatch up a new painting, or just get your artsy on as you browse vendors throughout town. Check out http://birminghamartcrawl.com/about.html for more information. 

Greek Festival Oct.1–3 (10:30am–10:30pm) For the 43rd year in a row, Birmingham brings the South all things Greek—dancing, music, and especially food. That’s right, homemade Greek food for the picking, from baklava to pastiche. Don’t miss this unforgettable cultural experience.

Look at the full menu and find more details at http://www.birminghamgreekfestival.net/.

The Alabama Butterbean Festival Oct. 2–3 (Fri. 6–10; Sat. 9–4) This isn’t just another festival with food, music, and crafts; it’s Alabama’s second largest festival, and it’s got carnival rides, pony rides, and a petting zoo to boot. Stick around Friday night for a great fireworks show.

 

Other Events to Note:

Oak Hill Cemetery’s Zombie Walk and Rummage Sale (Sept. 26) - https://www.facebook.com/events/899639303441129/

Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPops! Series (Sept. 25) - http://www.alabamasymphony.org/

Homestead Hollow Arts & Crafts Festival (Sept. 25–27) - http://homesteadhollow.com/

It Ain’t Nothing’ But the Blues (Sept. 17–Oct. 4) - http://www.virginiasamfordtheatre.org/season/it-aint-nothin-but-the-blues/ 

Swan Lake by the Russian Grand Ballet (Sept. 25) - http://www.ticketmaster.com/Swan-Lake-tickets/artist/804359?tm_link=edp_Artist_Name#BVRRWidgetID

 

 

By Amber Bara

Farm-to-Table restaurants have become huge across the U.S in recent years, and in Alabama, it is not different. Here are five great farm-to-table restaurants to check out statewide. 

Highlands Bar and Grill – Birmingham

You are invited to enjoy a French-inspired Southern dinner, where exquisite food and gracious service combine to create

Epiphany – Tuscaloosa

Established in 2003, Epiphany is Tuscaloosa’s fabulous farm-to-fork cornerstone.  The menu is broken up in unique ways: Dirt, Grain, Ocean, Meat, and Dessert.  Dishes are tapas sized so you can come in for an appetizer and a drink or order several and share among your table of friends. The culinary cuisines range from veggie-oriented dishes like Cauliflower Souffle to meat-focused Fried Georgia Quail.  Every menu item experienced exhibits earthy elegance.  http://www.epiphanyfarm2fork.com 

 

By Amber Bara

1.) United States Space and Rocket Center – Huntsville, Alabama

Whether you would like to experience the Mars Climbing Wall or to try out the G-Force Accelerator, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center will be a fun time. The Center is one of Alabama’s most famous museums as science and space-lovers alike travel from around the world to visit. The Center also serves as NASA’s Visitor Center.  It offers day camps where trainees choose from three distinct camp options: Space, Aviation or Robotics. Each camp offers a variety of learning opportunities that children can apply to their future goals and love of science. 

On Saturday, March 14, the Center will celebrate Albert Einstein’s Birthday and Pi Day.  There will be a lot of festivities, including hula-hoop competitions, a pie toss, and a birthday celebration with Professor Einstein himself! If you are planning to stay over night in the area, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center has partnered with area hotels to provide an exclusive rate for guests who wish to stay overnight in the Huntsville community. Further information about lodging, camps, exhibits, education, and simulations can be found on the Center’s website:  http://www.rocketcenter.com 

2.)  Alabama Sports Hall of Fame – Birmingham, Alabama 

The slogan of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame proudly states, “The State of Alabama is Made of Champions!!!” And this amazing museum works to showcase all of Alabama’s many athletic celebrities and it has become a benchmark for other Sports Museums across the country. The museum exhibits over 5,000 sports artifacts elegantly displayed in over 33,000 square feet. Out of ESPN’s list of the Top 100 athletes of the 20th Century, five out of the top 15 greatest ever are in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, these include: Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, Willie Mays, and Carl Lewis. 

For more information on Hall of Fame events, please see their website.  http://ashof.org 


By Amber Bara 

There are some runs that are no longer 5ks, but forms of entertainment.  Here are five runs that you will want to add to your annual list of events. 

Color Me Rad 5K – Mobile, AL – April 18, 2015

Start out as clean as a newborn babe, and throughout the run, volunteers will coat you with liquids, powders, and gels of blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow until your face, shirt, and body come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippie on the other side. Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter’s palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color.

http://colormerad.com/about/

 

Mud Mania – Auburn, AL – March 21, 2015

Mud Mania is a mud drenched outdoor obstacle adventure race fueled by excessive and unreasonable enthusiasm. Whether competing alone or on a team, ultimately it is a challenge that will pit your raw grit against the notoriously rugged Alabama mud.

Set on the outskirts of Auburn, AL this boot camp style 5K run is embedded with 20+ obstacles. Participants will run in 30-minute heats of 300 participants each. You are guaranteed to get dirty!

 http://www.mud-mania.com

 

ZooRun 5K – Birmingham, AL – May 16, 2015

You may not get dirty on this run, but you will definitely see cool animals. There is no better way to take a tour of the Birmingham Zoo!  The race begins at the entrance of the zoo and ends in Trails of Africa.  Check out the elephants as you cool down!  The ZooRun 5K is definitely one of the coolest runs in Alabama.

http://www.birminghamzoo.com/about-us/aazk/

 

 Back Country Mud Run – Brent, AL - March 14, 2015

At the Back Country Mud Run, Mud is King!  The 3.8 mile obstacle course is jam packed with mud pits, natural creek crossings, mud bogs and up to 16 man-made obstacles! There are plenty of other mud races out there, but none with the amount of mud obstacles per mile. The Back Country Mud Run takes pride in paying attention to Mother Nature’s natural terrain.  You'll spend more time taking on the obstacles and less time running, and even more time getting muddy! IT'S NOT JUST A MUD RUN! The Back Country Mud Run is a music jamming, country style shindig, that is a family friendly event for all ages! 

https://www.backcountrymudrun.com/bcmr.html

 

The Color Run – Birmingham, AL – May 30, 2015

The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality. Now the single largest event series in the world, The Color Run has exploded since its debut event.

The Color Run is an un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer.  With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow: 1. Wear white at the starting line, and 2. Finish plastered in color!

http://thecolorrun.com/birmingham/?gclid=CIS1_aKQi8QCFSRo7AodPB0Abw

 

 

By Stan J. Griffin

Is your NCAA Tournament bracket already busted, even just on life support after just the first day or two of action?

That is the case for millions of Americans, especially with early action from the 2015 "Big Dance" already highlighted by upsets from underdogs such as UAB, Georgia State and UCLA.

The NCAA basketball tourney is one of the most anticipated times of the year for sports fans, even for those who only casually follow college basketball during the regular season.

Millions of dollars will be bet in various bracket pools, and millions of dollars in actual production will be lost by various companies and businesses all over the nation, whose employees are spending more time keeping track of the tourney games instead of their actual jobs.

And if the first couple of days of this year's crazed hoop event are any indication, it will be another memorable event with plenty of close finishes, shocking upsets and heroic individual efforts.

With that being said, I thought I would take a shot a picking my Top 5 players in the history of the NCAA tournament.

This of course, is a difficult task, if not an impossible one, and of course my list is purely subjective as most lists tend to be.

Of course the history of this prestigious tourney includes numerous legends and Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Grant Hill, Larry Johnson, Sam Perkins, Patrick Ewing, Bobby Hurley, Bobby Joe Hill and David Thompson are just a few of those who took the event to the next level.

The following are my Top Five selections, however, when you take into account individual success in the tourney as well as, of course, team championships or big success by their respective squads.

 

By Amber Bara

Silvertron Café, Birmingham (Sunday opens at 11 AM)

Not far from downtown on Clairmont Avenue, Silvertron Café has been a Forest Park fave for several years.  Their Sunday brunch includes out of this world mimosas and Bloody Marys, along with steak with Cajun hollandaise, scrambled eggs, and cheese grits, Huevos Rancheros with black beans and homemade corn bread. 

Five Bar, Tuscaloosa  (Sunday 11 AM - 3 PM)

 It is not long before the gorgeous display of avocado toast, OJ, and chicken and waffles begins to grace tables on Sunday mornings.   The walnuts, powdered sugar, and maple syrup perfect the waffles and fried chicken in a salty sweet symphony.  The atmosphere at Five is also incomparable. 

Mezza Luna, Huntsville (Sunday Brunch 10 AM – 2 PM)

Sunday brunch buffet offerings include amazing fresh seafood, beef, and pasta dishes.  Traditional breakfast items are also found and they include, scrambled eggs and Eggs Benedict.  This Mediterranean style restaurant is a spectacular place with great food. 

Café 615, Mobile (Saturday 11-3)

This restaurant has an amazing spread of gourmet brunch food, from French toast to flatbread pizza, and cocktails, including fabulous bloody marys.  Its indoor /outdoor atmosphere is great for any gathering. 

 


By Tori Linville

 

Spring has sprung and May is just around the corner. While children are getting out of school and pollen counts skyrocket, the music festival scene emerges in the background. Check out some of these local festivals to get your music fix as summer approaches.

 

Toadlick Music Festival

Dothan will host its Toadlick Music Festival at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds on April 23 through 25. The Toadlick line up for 2015 features the legendary Hank Williams, Alabama, STYX, Ronnie Milsap and more.

Toadlick not only provides general admission tickets, but camping passes as well. Declared a rain or shine event by the festival’s website, tickets are nonrefundable. General admission three day passes start at $119. Primitive camping passes start at $110 and hookups for RVs are made available as well. Partial hookups that include water and power start at $330, while full hookups start at $550.

To find out more about Toadlick’s roots with Southern music, maps and more, visit toadlick.com.

 

Hangout Music Festival

Perhaps the most well-known musical festival in Alabama is The Hangout Music Festival held in Gulf Shores. The festival will be held May 15 through 17 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. all three days. The festival features a star-studded line up of musicians that will leave viewers in awe. Headliners like The Foo Fighters, Sam Smith and Beck are joined by Skrillex, Paramore, Lupe Fiasco, My Morning Jacket and more. More than 50 artists will take the Hangout Fest stages for 2015.

The kickoff party for the festival will take place Thursday, May 14 at 4 p.m. and will feature The Word, Mayer Hawthorne, Break Science and more. Tickets to the kickoff party are around $45.

Three day general admission tickets for the Hangout Festival are $280 and are $330 with a three day shuttle pass. Registration for tickets should be completed within six minutes, or the ticket reservation will be released to others according to the festival’s website.

For more information, on shuttle services, ticket information, maps and more, visit hangoutmusicfest.com.

 

Sloss Music & Arts Festival

Garnering large amounts of attention for its line up this year is Birmingham’s inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival. Named after Col. James Withers Sloss of The Sloss Furnace Company established in the late 1800s, the 2015 festival will be July 18 and 19. The festival is keeping tight-lipped about its headlining act, but Modest Mouse, Cage the Elephant, Young the Giant, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Primus and more are already confirmed.

Aside from hosting famous musicians, the festival will host local food and art vendors and will feature live iron-pouring demonstrations.

Tickets for “Slossfest” are selling fast, with only one type of general admission packages left for purchase at $135 with additional fees. A VIP two-day pass is $325 with additional fees.

For more information about the Sloss Festival, including payment options for tickets, the history behind Sloss Furnaces and more, visit slossfest.com.


Sony Pictures Entertainment

By Raelyn Mae Holmes

Hey there, parentals: Are you at the end of your spring break rope yet? You’ve taken the kiddos to the beach, to the zoo, to the aquarium, to the park (multiple times) and zip lining – and you’re out of ideas? Fair enough. It happens. With a chance of showers creeping into the forecast for folks throughout Alabama – from Huntsville to the Gulf Coast, I thought this might be a good time to provide a brief rundown of some movie offerings, specifically some of the best kids movies on Redbox, and more. Because hey, it’ll keep the little ones occupied for a bit, and provide you with some much-needed quiet time. And the disclaimer: Some of these films are better for youngsters, while others are better for the tweens or teens set. Use your finely-honed parental radar to ensure age appropriateness.

 

First let’s look at the new Redbox offerings – because really, they’re the cheapest option. This week’s new Redbox releases that could be considered “kid friendly” include the remake of Annie and (for the older kids) Dumb and Dumber To and third installment of The Hunger Games films: Mockingjay (part one…yeah sorry, this one’s not quite over yet). Also of note: Disney’s Big Hero 6. Of these, I’ve seenMockingjay and Big Hero 6 – both were good, and I’d give the edge to Big Hero 6. If your children insist that you watch with them, you’ll be reasonably entertained.

Lionsgate

As for the new DVD releases, you’ve got two really solid options: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, aka one of Robin Williams’ final films and the third in the Museum Series, and the Sound of Music 50th Anniversary release. Moms, if your daughters haven’t been introduced to The Sound of Music Yet, there’s no time like the present. Plus, you’ll totally be able to sing along and mortify your daughters in front of their friends. Do it.

For those of you who keep Netflix on 24/7, guess what? There are a few new streams available that might keep the kids entertained for a few hours, most notably How to Train Your Dragon 2. I’ve seen this, I loved the first one and I loved this one just as much. Keep tissues handy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Also of note: My personal favorite new stream, 1989’s stellar musical Teen Witch, starring…a bunch of people you’ve never heard of, but no matter. It’s a cult classic, and with good reason. It’s worth watching for the rap scene alone.Make your teens watch this one. It explains in great detail (almost) everything that was wrong with the 80s.

And for those of you who simply don’t want to sit home in the rain and watch movies at home, remember that the live-action Cinderella is playing – to stellar reviews by critics and audiences alike. This one is can’t-lose. And the latest installment of the Divergent franchise,Insurgent, opens in theaters everywhere on Friday. Reviews for this one aren’t great, but they weren’t forDivergent either, and we all know how popular that one turned out to be, now don’t we?

Hope this helps alleviate some of the spring break boredom if you’re stuck at home (or in the condo, or in the chalet, or wherever you are over the holiday) with a house full of restless youngsters. Have fun!

30A Living is the Florida 30A area's premier community publication, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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