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.
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
Painting classes with Uptown Art - Uncorked allow artists of all ages and skill levels to spend a few hours expressing their creative impulses. Each session focuses on a designated theme, based on the style of a particular artist, such as Monet, or a particularly beautiful still-life subject, such as gerber daisies or a puddle of spilled tabasco sauce. For groups of aspiring Picassos or people with more than three hands, the studios also host painting parties to accommodate birthday celebrations, bachelorette soirees, work retreats, and sorority events.
Established as a humble community orchestra more than 30 years ago, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra has swelled in string, horn, and percussion stature on the shoulders of talented musicians led by their new, accomplished conductor, Adam Flatt. In their Valentine's pops concert, Paul Houghtaling
and the university's Opera Theatre join Maestro Flatt, who will summon the most romantic notes from the violins' strings, the French horns' brass valves, and the whistling elves that live under the hardwood stage. The evening's program aims its quivered bow at a host of classical favorites from operatic and Broadway scores. The French Quarter of 19th-century Paris will douse listeners with sophisticated insouciance when pieces from Puccini's La Boheme spill their symphonic sounds. The tropics of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific will gently billow past ears before they hear music from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate.
Top of the Hops Beer Festival
Stretching along the northern Gulf Coast, The Wharf Marina serves as the picturesque venue for the Top of the Hops Beer Festival, a celebration of the craft-beer industry. Abita Brewing Company, a Louisiana outfit known for its large variety of seasonal and flagship brews, joins local sponsors, including Maggie's Bottle & Tail and Alabama Gulf Seafood, in hailing the beloved concoctions made of barley, wheat, and hop leaves known for their ability to inspire Elizabethan conversational skills. The festival introduces patrons to tastes of more than 150 craft brews and offers a variety of beer-related seminars.