A new year has arrived, and so have fresh goals, wishes, and dreams. Begin your new year with a few fun goals and cultural achievements by attending the best festivities the South has to offer. Taste the fresh offerings of the Gulf Coast, or listen to jazzy notes on the Atlantic shores. Whether tasting, listening, or learning, you will be assured of a great start to the first of those 365 days. Pick any event and join our Southern affairs.
Hank Williams 66th Memorial
Join all the Hank Williams lifelong fans at Oakwood Cemetery Annex where Hank was laid to rest. Be there at 10 a.m. for the annual wreath laying at Hank Williams' gravesite. Everyone is invited to join up together at the Hank Williams Museum for live music until 1 p.m. The 6,000 sq. ft. museum houses Hank's 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac in which he made his final journey, along with suits, boots, hats, ties, awards, furniture, horse saddle, portraits, records, albums and more.
Gulf Shores Polar Bear Dip
Gulf Shores, AL
Bring in the New Year “Gulf Coast style.” Take the Plunge into the Gulf of Mexico for a unique, family friendly, Polar Bear Dip in Gulf Shores. The Annual Polar Bear Dip begins at high noon on January 1. It takes place at the west side of the Gulf Shores Main Public Beach. Locals, snowbirds, and visitors are invited to join us for this uniquely coastal beach party featuring entertainment by DJ Chuck-E-Chill, free chili and hot chocolate, and fire pits on the beach. The event is totally free. Souvenir t-shirts and koozies will be available and donations are encouraged with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Alabama Special Olympics and the Kiwanis Club of Gulf Shores.
Hog Butchering Day
Experience the colonial past and witness the traditional family affair of processing and preserving a whole hog. More than 20 historically dressed interpreters come together for this time-honored practice as they embrace the hog from jowl to ham and everything in between. The living history museum at Brattonsville will present a sundry of ongoing activities throughout the day. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can watch interpreters engrossed in household duties such as rendering lard and stirring up a batch of soap, as well as butchering, preservation, and cooking demonstrations. Experience early American food ways in the Carolina Backcountry.
Yaga’s 9th Annual Chili Quest & Beer Fest
Fear not, your quest for chili and beer has been satiated! For the past eight years, Yaga’s has brought a diverse crowd of chili and beer lovers from all over the nation to Galveston, Texas. This year’s festival will consist of the ever-so-popular chili and beer-tasting event with a ton of added perks. Get ready for live music, a 5K Fun Run/Walk, a washer pitching tournament, a jackpot margarita contest, vendors and a historical strand merchant walk-about. As if that does not fulfill all of your festival needs, returning this year is the expanded Beer Festival. How does this not sound like a fun time?
Callanwolde Arts Festival
The Callanwolde Arts Festival is a two-day indoor festival. Located in one of the most distinctive historic properties in Atlanta, this event promises to become one of the premier partnerships of art institutions in the area. This event will feature approximately 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelers and more! The festival will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, plus gourmet food trucks with healthy alternatives and music and dance performances. The festival will uphold the highest standards supporting the arts, and offer participating artists the environment to nurture an appreciation for their skills.
4th Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival
The 4th Annual Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival returns to Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota. Each year, this festival continues to grow into a unique blending of food, music, and visual entertainment. Smart attendees will look upon a diverse menu of delectable seafood creations, meat, and vegetarian menu items and be allowed to partake in a list of delicious drinks. All these food items combine with outstanding musical performances in genres from rock, jazz, R&B, big band, calypso, and Caribbean sounds. Admission is free.
38th North Carolina Jazz Festival
Wilmington always gives a warm welcome to all of the jazz lovers attending the 38th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival. This historic city is located on the bank of the Cape Fear River and has many interesting shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants, as well as a movie studio, nearby beaches, plus Revolutionary and Civil War sites to explore during your days here. Some of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe will fill your evenings with exciting performances! All evening concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and can be enjoyed at the Wilmington Hilton Riverside ballroom.
Hot Rods & Hatters
Don’t miss out on the largest event in Lockhart, Texas. Caldwell County organizes this convivial gathering around the Caldwell County Courthouse in downtown. The talent on stage offers a lively musical line-up, and the crowds bring the fun. Last year’s event featured over 1,200 Hot Rods, and enticed over 30,000 spectators to the downtown. Get your fill from 200 vendors, food trucks and the local shops and restaurants. Just don’t forget your chapeau, cap or plain old hat.
Georgia Day Parade
As part of the annual commemoration of the founding of the Georgia colony of February 12, 1733 by James Edward Oglethorpe, a tradition dating back to the earliest years of the colony’s founding, everyone is invited to join when students, musicians, local dignitaries, and costumed historical figures march through Savannah’s historic squares during this beloved annual event. The 2018 Georgia Day Parade will be held at 10:45 a.m. It is a free event and is open to everyone. Note: the rain date for the parade is February 12.
Colonial Faire & Muster
Wormsloe State Historic Site, Savannah GA
The 2018 Colonial Faire & Muster will be held on February 10 and 11 at Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah. Audiences of all ages can enjoy this popular, family-friendly annual living history program. The event features costumed interpreters and vendors offering students and adults a taste of the excitement and adversity of life for the first settlers of colonial Georgia. History is never boring when it comes to life!
Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival
Hilton Head, NC
The annual Hilton Head Island Seafood Fest, sponsored by the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation takes place at the beautiful Shelter Cove Community Park. The family-friendly event features area restaurants/chefs serving up local seafood specialties and other tasty cuisine. Relax on the lawn with live musical entertainment, a Kids Zone, a silent auction, crab races and more. Hilton Head often supplies year-round temperate weather and beautiful scenery for a few perfect days to enjoy.
Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration starts with those infamous beads! More than three million beads will be thrown during Mardi Gras! And that’s just the beginning! View the elaborate parades, headliner performances, family events, feasting and other festivities that come with hosting Mardi Gras island style. Watch the many favorited Mardi Gras parades from a balcony party on the Strand. Balcony parties include admission into the Entertainment District, access to the balcony party with cash bar and music and a VIP view of the Mardi Gras festivities. Galveston Official 5k Run starts the party early.
Cummins Falls Marathon
Jackson County, TN
Lace up your sneakers for the 2018 Cummins Falls Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K! These four races are amazingly scenic with the marathon, half marathon, and 10K routes following the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River for a good portion of the route. The three longer distance races are very challenging with steep hills and great scenery. All four routes are run on the picturesque rural back roads of Jackson County, Tennessee, and are sure to be enjoyed by traditional marathon runners and trail runners alike. There is no better way to enjoy the beauty of Tennessee than on foot.
Jewish Food Festival & Treasure Market
Montgomery's annual Jewish Food Festival & Treasure Market features tasty ethnic food including rugelach, strudel, kugel, beef brisket and stuffed cabbage. The Treasure Market offers a variety of gently loved finds. In addition to purchasing delicious food or finding some very unique treasures, visitors have an opportunity to attend a short session to learn more about Jewish customs. This is event is free to attend.