The Spirit of Athens is preparing for another amazing and unique ‘Athens Grease Festival’ on September 28th in our Historic Downtown from 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Wear your favorite toga and receive $1.00 off the $5.00 admission fee, children 3-12 years of age will also receive $1.00 off their $3.00 admission fee when they wear their toga. There will be no charge for the children’s area of activities at this year’s festival. The children’s area will also have a special guest, Farmer Jason, to entertain them sponsored by Alabama Farm Credit.
Adults will have the special privilege to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg. Bragg currently teaches at the University of Alabama and also writes a column for Southern Living. Bragg will speak at 5:00 PM in the Center for Lifelong Learning. There will be no extra charge for his presentation but you are asked to reserve a ticket; seats are limited.
You can also pre-register this year for Toga Fun Run, Turkey Toss, Toga Contest, and Dub’s Burger Eating Contest at the Athens Grease Festival Facebook page.
Last year there were approximately 4,500 people to attend the inaugural festival. The festival was created after a branding firm assisted the City with way finding signage. They suggested a festival to celebrate the Greek revival architecture along with the city’s name and ‘fried’ food would bring out the curious and the foodies.
You will find an assortment of unusual fried foods, from fried pickle spears to fried rib sandwiches to fried Oreos. I also hear the Sheriff has a special ‘oyster’ dish he is preparing.
It will be a day long event which starts with a fun run, Lady Athena will rein over the entire day of events. Music performers, “The Coolbone Brass Band” and Nashville guitarist, Williams Tyler will entertain throughout the event. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may very well be the largest toga party in the south.
On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 & 5, Athens State University will host the 47th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Musical entertainment will be Mike Snider & Gary Nichols and the SteelDrivers will be headlining this year’s festival at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. The musical competitions will be held on the steps of historic Founders Hall and other locations throughout the campus. A total of $11,870 in prize money will be awarded.
The convention is sponsored annually by the Athens State University Foundation and the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.
The convention has historically attracted more than 15,000 people for the two-day event, with more than 200 musicians participating in the musical competition. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The festival culminates on Saturday night with the naming of the “Fiddle Champion.” Being named Fiddle Champion is highly competitive and is a coveted prize.
Beginning this year, The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be home to Alabama State Champions for certain contests. The Alabama State Champion categories include Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old Time Banjo, Classic Old-time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old-time Singing, Guitar – Finger Picking, Guitar – Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Bluegrass Old-time Band. The winners in those categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions respectively.
To see more of what is taking place during September and October go to www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association