Alabama

W.C. Handy Music Festival

July 21-30/FLORENCE – The W.C. Handy Music Festival is a 10-day celebration inspired by the “Father of the Blues” and the musical heritage of northwest Alabama. Over 200 events occur during the festival ranging from concerts to art exhibits and plays to athletic events. Music can be enjoyed in the local parks, stores, restaurants, churches and on the banks of the Tennessee River. Expect to hear everything from blues, jazz, gospel and soul to that distinctive Muscle Shoals sound. Events take place in the quad cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia, known as The Shoals.

Vina July Fest

July 29/VINA – 256-356-9661. Free. Fire Station–Enjoy music, food, vendors, games, 5K and a fun run, fireworks and more. Also, truck give-a-way (limited tickets). 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The event is held annually on the last Saturday in July. A number of traditional family summer contests are held like the “Draw Down.” The Draw Down awards the ultimate cash prize of $17,000. The event concludes with a fireworks display.

Franklin County Watermelon Festival

Franklin County is the official “Watermelon Capital of Alabama”

When: 3rd Weekend in August

Where: Downtown Russellville; Russellville, AL Phone: 256-332-1760 Infowww.visitfranklincoal.com

Admission: Free Downtown Russellville is home of the Franklin County Watermelon Festival. It’s a time for a lot of good fun and of course, juicy watermelons that can cool a hot summer day in the South. It began in 1981 and has become a must-do event for thousands. This spectacular family event offers two days of non-stop music, contests and entertainment, as well as, a pageant (held in July), arts & crafts, 5k run, antique car & truck show, tasty festival foods, tractor show, bike ride and lots of free watermelon. Watermelon contests include the largest melon, seed spitting, best tasting melon, best dressed melon, and the most unusual melon.