Festivals

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a festival as a time of celebration marked by special observances. Throughout human history, festivals have functioned as celebratory events that allow people a reprieve from day to day life. For example, La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain is a festival in which participants engage in a massive food fight, hurling as many tomatoes as they can at each other over the course of an hour. The battle of the oranges in Ivrea, Italy is a festival celebrating the people’s victory over a tyrannical Lord. During the festival, participants hurl oranges at people dressed in armor to symbolize the common man’s victory over tyranny. The oranges symbolize the severed head of the Lord who was attempting to assert his droit du seigneur, or right of the lord, over the daughters of the serf class. The Newport Jazz Festival was organized in 1954 by Elaine and Louis Livingston Lorillard. Despite protests from residents in the early years of the festival, its popularity continued to grow and presently draws in thousands of visitors every. And of course there is Oktoberfest, which began in Munich, Germany in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig celebrated his marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen by inviting all the people of Munich to join in the celebration. Festivals bring communities together in a common cause of celebration and revelry and are often vessels of social change by allowing people from different backgrounds and ideologies to congregate in a spirit of camaraderie. And in that spirit, Calhoun County, Alabama boasts several high quality festivals that allow participants to forget the mundane for a moment and come together through the spirit of celebrating our shared heritage.

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Noble Street Festival

The Noble Street Festival is an annual event held in downtown Anniston, Alabama and offers many family friendly activities. During the festival, the Sunny King Criterium bike race is conducted. This competition is the kickoff race for the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour where top notch athletes compete for more than $50,000 in prizes. The Scion KidZone is available for children and offers rides, bouncy houses, face painting, and balloons. There are also art activities available for children and performances on the Sunny Kind KidZone stage. The Mellow Mushroom Mad Dash running race for kids is a one-lap race around the bike course. The Mellow Mushroom Mad Dash bike race is available for kids from tricycle age to Grade 6 and allows children to race several hundred yards before crossing the finish line in front of cheering fans. There is also a YMCA Kidz bike race and all children’s races require a fee to participate. Taste on Noble offers area restaurants an opportunity to share their culinary skills with the patrons of the festival. Modestly priced snacks, lunch, and dinner are available and can be enjoyed in covered dining areas. There is also live music offered at several locations during the festival. Noble Street Festival is free to attend and is dog friendly provided they are leashed.

Oxford Fest

On the first Saturday in October for the last 33 years Oxfordfest has been celebrated on Main Street in downtown Oxford, Alabama. As an arts and crafts festival, the event boasts vendors from varied locations. The festival also provides live music, food, and activities for children and adults alike. They also offer prize drawings and a $1000.00 giveaway.

Neewhoolah

The Neewhollah on Noble Fall Festival has been going strong for seven years. Held on Noble Street in Anniston, the festival occurs on the last weekend in October. The festival boasts many fall activities including hay rides, live music, and arts and crafts. There are also costume contests for adults, children, and pets. They also offer treat walks, carnival games and food, and various demonstrations and exhibits. It is a great way to experience the spirit of the fall in a safe and family friendly atmosphere. Festivals are a great way to come together as a community and celebrate the things in which we are mutually interested. The freedom to congregate peacefully and enjoy the company of fellow citizens is a beautiful expression of the American dream. It is a way to celebrate the human condition and the gregariousness of this nation’s people, regardless of race, creed, or religion. So if you are in the festive spirit, chances are that Calhoun County has a place for you to express it.

Autumn Suds-Fest

Each fall, the Berman Museum hosts area restaurants and beer and wine vendors for their annual Suds-Fest. The event also features live music and local art. For more information, visit www.bermanmuseum.org.

Black Heritage Festival

A 37 year dream, an ongoing journey… Be sure to mark your February calendars for the longest running Black Heritage Festival in the Southeast.

Calhoun County Hall of Fame Banquet

Formed in 2005 to honor Calhoun County citizens who have made significant contributions to Calhoun County as athletes, coaches or in other sports-related fields. Each year six nominees are inducted into the Hall of Fame. June of each year.

3rd Annual U.S. Canine Biathlon ®

A 5K (3.5 mile) Obstacle Course to Compete with Your Canine or Compete Alone and All ages and breeds Welcome

Cheaha Challenge

The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA provide a variety of distance choices for cyclists – 24, 44, 62, 84, 100 and the ULTRA – 124 miles (200K). The ULTRA is for experienced riders only. The rides start and finish on the campus of Jacksonville State University. Held in May of each year.

Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Fest

Demo Bikes, Beer Garden, Poker Ride, Live Music, Gravity Runs, Group Rides & Games

Freedom Festival

Each Fourth of July, Oxford Lake celebrates with fun and festivities for the whole family. Stick around for the annual fireworks display!

German-Italian POW Memorial

Each November, Germany’s National Memorial Day is remembered at Fort McClellan, during a ceremony at the German-Italian POW Cemetery. A reception normally follows the ceremony. Artifacts and memorabilia from the days when German and Italian Prisoners of War were kept at Fort McClellan are displayed.

Iron Mountain Challenge

Formerly the Woodland Challenge, this Gran Fondo ride offers 25, 50, 62, and 100 mile distances.

Janney Furnace Civil War Reenactment

Civil War reenactment at Janney Furnace Memorial Park. The reenactment includes reenactment camps, vendors, live cannon and rifle & fire drills, free fishing and lots of historical fun for the children! April of each year.

Knox Concert Series

Series of events that celebrate the busy music and theatrical scene in Calhoun County, Alabama. September- April.

Ladiga Half Marathon

Each December, the Cities of Jacksonville and Piedmont host a half marathon on the Chief Ladiga Trail.

Legend of Lickskillet Music & Heritage Festival

Enjoy Food, Arts/Crafts Vendors, & Live Music

Annual Museum Day Celebration

This is a free day for the community each year in September. It includes a variety of activities, including live animal presentations, hands-on discovery stations, food and much more. The event is fun and educational for all ages.

Annual New Years Day Mountain Bike Ride

Wig’s Wheels says, ” There is no set course or distance and no one has ever been left behind. Those that don’t want to ride are welcomed to come and eat, drink and be merry.”

Piedmont Polar Plunge

At Piedmont’s new aquatics center, each January they host a Polar Plunge to benefit a local non-profit supporting area cancer patients.

Spirit on Mountain Street

Each fall, the City of Jacksonville, JSU, and area organizations team up to host the “Taste of the Town,” benefitting the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center, providing short-term assistance to families in need. The annual food tasting showcases area restaurants and their specialties. Area teams and bands are also recognized at a community Pep-Rally at JSU Stadium following the “Taste.”

Turkey Drop

As we celebrate the new year, we celebrate new beginnings. What better place to celebrate new beginnings, then surrounded by the beauty of nature. Come and join us for the Turkey Drop! At midnight on December 31 we will bring in the New Year by dropping a lit ball at Alabama’s Highest Point! Pinhoti, the turkey will be at the Observation Tower teaching visitors the Turkey Trot. The gates will open at 9:00PM, and from 12:30-2:00AM the CSP Restaurant will be serving breakfast. The gate fee will be $10 per car or truck load and $15 for van. Buses must make arrangements before they arrive to pay and for parking.

Weaver Heritage Day

A day to celebrate Weaver History and live music which will promote local musicians. We also welcome crafters and food vendors who will share the park with our two stages of live music.

White Elephant Sale

One man’s white elephant is another’s man’s treasure. This fundraiser for the Anniston Museum began more than 20 years ago.

Woodstock Race

Hosted by the Anniston Runner club, this annual event boasts of a 5K race and a Kidstock 1 mile race. Community event where 1300 runners and walkers to shake their tail feathers for others. August of each year.