While meandering past more than 250 exhibitors, guests of the Kentuck Festival of the Arts can peruse artful wares during the weekend-long exploration of visual arts, music, and food. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the festival welcomes visitors to amble under a canopy of trees and feast eyes on artisans' endeavors in blacksmithing, split-oak basketry, pottery, colorful found-object sculpture, and accounting. Live music flutters about the festival from eight bands across two stages, delighting ears with surging gospel choirs and twangy country singers. Taste buds, too, bask in artistic attention, salivating over Cajun fare or saucy ribs, or mistaking a still-life gyro for its edible muse.
Selected as the Best Restaurant in Tuscaloosa in 2010 by TuscaloosaRestaurant.com, Opus pairs its creative dinner menu with knowledgeable service in a modern, chic setting. Employing a variety of cooking styles and distinctive ingredients, the chefs turn out innovative plates such as tempura eggplant fries ($8) and red-pepper bisque with cauliflower and brie ($7). An artful display of wild-berry-glazed short ribs ($24) or a trio of sea bass, baked lobster mac 'n' cheese, and tiger shrimp ($36) extinguishes hunger, and freshly prepared apple bread pudding ($7) or vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($8) finish feasts. Crystal chandeliers and white tablecloths foster an elegant space for games of chess waged with the oysters du jour on the black-and-white checked floor ($10). Opus is open for dinner Tuesday–Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Nestled inside Art Off Main Creative Studios' homey Northport abode, crafters sidle up to canvases, cookies, or a scuffed pair of shoes and embellish each surface with their own inimitable outlook. Classes abound, from painting and sewing to after-school kids' sessions that turn uneaten sandwich crusts into mixed-media masterpieces. Open-studio classes enable do-it-yourselfers to harness the miscellany of materials at their disposal to create any imaginable type of project, and the studio stokes the flames of creativity while also paying homage to distinct pieces from local artists by hanging their handmade magnum opuses on the walls of one room in the house. The cozy confines make an ideal setting for birthday parties, as the accommodating staff is enthusiastically well versed in party planning and assists customers in creating a festive event such as a bridal shower or an elegant-yet-understated pet wedding
At each Tropical Smoothie Cafe location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The café’s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic açaí and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.
Bama Mini Golf challenges families with a pair of 18-hole miniature-golf courses in an all-ages environment fit for toddlers, grandparents, and everyone in between. Considered an intermediate challenge, the facility's first course features plenty of lighting to illuminate putts during evening rounds. The advanced course weaves through the property's wooded surroundings and transforms into a glow-in-the-dark adventure after nightfall. Concession stands dole out sodas, ice cream, and fresh snow cones to fuel more fun and games, which Bama Mini Golf plans on expanding to include go-karts, an arcade, and laser tag.
Theatre Tuscaloosa sprang directly from the Tuscaloosa Community Players, a rag-tag troupe formed in 1971 that played hotels, churches, and the castles of wealthy Southerners before it moved to the Bama Theatre late in the decade. By the end of the 20th century, Theatre Tuscaloosa had racked up a wall full of awards, including the Governor’s Arts Award and numerous Druid Arts Awards. 1998 saw the completion of the Bean-Brown Theatre, which serves as Theatre Tuscaloosa’s current home. It’s also the site of the company’s first world premiere, A Dickens of a Carol, scored by Alabamian Brad Simmons.