The lazy hazy days of summer are behind us and fall is in full swing.
There are, however, no lazy days this month. If you are looking for something to do, from being scared at any one of the state’s haunted attractions to getting outdoors and enjoying the cool, crisp days, there is an event that’s sure to fit into the busiest of schedules before the holiday rush sets in.
The Alabama Tourism Department is celebrating Alabama’s haunted history with 13 ghostly events, from ghost trails, storytelling and haunted sites.
The lineup includes:
Athens — Seventh annual Historic Haunts Walk is Tuesdays, Oct. 16, 23 and 30, beginning at the Athens Visitors Center. Each walk is approximately 90 minutes, with the first walk beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by the second walk at 7 p.m. Advanced tickets, $5, are required. For details, call the Athens-Limestone County Tourism office at 256-232-5411.
Beatrice — Ghost Stories at Rikard’s Mill on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy a pumpkin toss, pumpkin painting and relay race before gathering around a bonfire to listen to ghost stories at the historical Rikard’s Mill. The Haunted Swamp Trail is open 6:30-10 p.m. each evening. Admission: $5. Details: Monroe County Heritage Museum, 251-575-7433.
Black Belt Ghost Trail — A year-round, self-guided tour in the counties of Dallas, Perry and Wilcox. A brochure provides a map and the haunted history of each stop. The trail also includes a site for visitors to view videos detailing the ghost stories. For brochures and details, visit alabamasfrontporches.com or call 334-636-5506 or 334-636-0120.
Demopolis — Tombigbee Haints and Haunts, Oct. 26-27. Storytellers will share folklore and facts about the Tombigbee River and its early inhabitants. Tours each hour starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. Tickets: $15. Details: 334-289-9644.
Florence — 10th Annual Haunted History of the Shoals Ghost Walk, Oct. 19-31. Participants will stroll the downtown Florence historic district with a local tour guide and author Debra Johnston Glass. Guides will entertain with stories steeped in legend, folklore and truth. The tours cover a 1-mile area and last approximately 90 minutes and begin at 7:30 p.m. at the W.C. Handy statue in Wilson Park. Tickets: $10 adults and $8, ages 12 and younger. Details: Debra Glass, 256-757-7506 or discovertheshoals.com.
Huntsville — Ghost Walking Tour on Fridays and Saturdays in October. Visitors have three tours to choose from and they run simultaneously. The Haunted Downtown Historic District offers a one hour trolley tour through Huntsville’s haunted past. Another option is the Twickenham Historic District. Reservations should be made in advance by purchasing tickets at Harrison Brothers Hardware Store, 124 South Side Square. Cost: Adults, $12; children 10 and younger, $10. Seating is limited. All tours begin at 6 p.m. The walking tours are Friday and Saturday nights. Trolley tours on Saturday nights only. Walking tour tickets: $8, adults; $6, ages 12 and younger. Details: 256-509-3940 or huntsvilleghostwalk.com.
Huntsville — The annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll is 2-4 p.m. Sunday. The free event features more than 70 locals dressed in period costume to tell the story of people buried at Maple Hill Cemetery. Maple Hill is the final resting place of five Alabama governors, the man who ordered the first shot fired at Fort Sumter, the man who announced Alabama’s withdrawal from the Union, and more. Donations help restore damaged headstones. Details: 256-533-5723.
Mobile — Ghost Tours are year-round, Monday through Friday. Hop aboard the trolley at the Fort Conde parking lot each night for a tour through dark, ghostly historic districts of Mobile. Tours depart at 7 p.m. Tickets: $20, reservations required. Details: 800-338-5597 or baycityconventions.com.
Montgomery — Haunted Hearse Tours now through Oct. 31. The hearse can accommodate a maximum of six guests per trip and travel pass Hank Williams grave as well as by other sites with “haunted” histories. Tours begin on the hour, 7 p.m. to midnight. Pickup at The Alley in downtown. Cost: $15. Reservations required, 334-514-4457.
Selma — 34th Annual Alabama Tale Tellin’ Festival today and Saturday. Birmingham actress and storyteller Dolores Hydock is the featured guest at Selma’s Carneal Arts Revive building 5:30-6:30 p.m. each day. Admission: $15 per night for adults or $25 for both nights; $10 for students 12 and younger or $15 for both nights. Details: artsrevive.com.
Selma — Haunted History Tours are Oct. 19-20. Friday’s event at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park features a guided tour to the town’s most haunted locations. Paranormal investigators also will demonstrate the art of ghost hunting. Saturday features an investigation of spirits at Kenan’s Mill. Tickets: $15, reservations required. Details: 800-457-3562 or selmaalabama.com.
Tuscumbia — History and Haunts Trolley Tour at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. The guided tours will take participants around the historic town to some of its most “haunted” sites, including the Tuscumbia Depot, for a slide show and to the Civil War battlefield where the “Engagement of Little Bear Creek” was fought near this date in 1863. Tickets are $10, available in advance at Cold Water Books, which is the departure point for the tours. Details: Colbert County Tourism, 256-383-0783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Stephens — Old St. Stephens Historical Park on Saturdays in October. Take a tour of Washington County’s Old St. Stephens and cemetery as you hear tales and ghost stories of the town that was Alabama’s first territorial capital. Details: 251-247-2622.
Arx Mortis, rated in the Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the United States by Rand McNally in 2010, the haunted house is considered the largest and most horrifying haunted attraction in North Alabama. There are three haunted houses in one location, covering more than 50,000 square feet. Two of the attractions — Covington Clinic and Miner’s Hill — are rated PG-13 because of intensity, gore, realism and disturbing atmosphere. CHAOS is an interactive haunted attraction where visitors are provided with ammo (paintballs). The enemy fights back with water cannons. Arx Mortis is at the old Graystone Manor site at 4051 U.S. 72, Killen. It is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as Oct. 21, 24, 28, 29, 30 and 31. Hours: 7-10 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; and 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and Halloween night. Tickets are $17 for Covington Clinic, $17 for Miner’s Hill or $25 for both attractions. Admission for CHAOS is $7. A VIP pass is available for an additional $10. Tickets may be purchased online, arxmortis.com, or at the gate.
Alabama Sheriffs’ FAME Girls Ranch will host a FAME Ranch round-up, “Giddy Up for the Girls,” trail ride and music festival Friday and Saturday. Gates open at noon Friday to anyone who wants to bring their horses and campers to ride. The official kick-off and welcome begins at 6:30 p.m. The KGB, featuring Kerry Gilbert and Band, begins at 7 p.m. with special guest Rick Hall, founder of FAME Recording Studio, on mandolin. Bottle Tree performs at 8 p.m. It includes singer/songwriter James LeBlanc and “Nashville Star” winner Angela Hacker, guitarists Scott Boyer III, keyboardist Byron Green, bassist Zach Thomas and drummer Jon Davis. Trails open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Music starts at 11 a.m. with the Cowboy Church band Stampede. An auction begins at 12:30 p.m. Asleep By 10 takes the stage at 3:30 p.m., followed by LeBlanc and Hacker at 5:30 p.m. Award-winning recording artist Wade Hayes performs at 8 p.m. All proceeds benefit the girls’ ranch. Admission for riders is $35 per horse, which includes primitive camping, riding and entry to the music festival. Admission to the music festival is $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday or a tax-deductable donation to the ranch. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Concessions will be available. The ranch is on Ligon Springs Road, between Littleville and Russellville. Details: visit Facebook page, email email@example.com or call 256-331-3813.
The Pickwick Belle is accepting reservations for its Pistols and Pirates Fall Adventure Cruise set for Friday. Departing from Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, the authentic 90-foot paddle wheel riverboat will take passengers down the Tennessee River on a three hour tour featuring local historians from Mischief and Mayhem Tours in Huntsville. Passengers will be treated to a gourmet lunch and entertained with stories and tales about the dashing Commodore Stephen Decatur, who in his service to America, attacked Barbary pirates, was a prisoner-of-war during the War of 1812 and died in a duel with another commodore. Historians will share ghost stories, Civil War tales, stories about Decatur riverboat captain Simp McGhee, who took a pet pig with him everywhere he went, and the infamous Madam Kate Lackner. Boarding begins at 11:30 a.m. with cruise at noon. Cost is $60 and reservations may be made by calling 256-527-2488 or 256-509-3940. Details: PickwickBelle.com or 877-936-2355.
Forks of Cypress Plantation and Cemetery walking tour is at 10 a.m. Saturday. Hosted by the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Office, the tour will be guided by local historian Harry Wallace. It begins at the site of the old plantation’s columns and conclude at the cemetery. Built in the 1820s, the Forks of Cypress was home to James Jackson, one of the founders of Florence, who was known throughout the country for his thoroughbred horses. The home burned in 1966 and only 23 columns remain as a testament to the once-grand plantation. The Forks of Cypress is on private property and the public is invited to this free tour. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Directions: Take Cox Creek Parkway in Florence to Jackson Road (no traffic signal). Go north on Jackson Road and turn right at the dead end on to Lauderdale 41. Details: 256-740-4141.
The second annual Bluegrass Festival in Littleville begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. It will be held behind Littleville City Hall, 1810 George Wallace Highway. Music by: Southern Strangers, Ridgetop Rambler, Breaking Grass, Iron Horse, Weather Brothers and Marty Raybon. Jammers welcomed. There will be a buck-dancing contest and food and craft vendors. Bring lawn chairs. Details: 256-412-2867, 256-627-9792, 256-332-3567 or 256-332-3474.
The Spirit of Hodges festival honors our nation’s veterans. The free event is Friday and Saturday and features live entertainment, food, car show, children’s activities, train rides, horseshoe contest, door prizes and more. Beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, the band 16 x 80 performs. The musical lineup on Saturday includes: Bobbie and Bonnie Hawthorne, 9 a.m.; Briana Lawler Dean, 10 a.m.; The KGB with Kerry Gilbert, 11 a.m.; Joseph Baldwin, noon; Chase Holland, 1 p.m.; Josie Beth Jones and Valerie Robinson, 1:15 p.m.; Hill Country, 1:30 p.m.; Wildhorse, 2:15 p.m.; Brooklyn Hall, 3:15 p.m.; and Family Tradition, 3:45 p.m.
A Brush with the Bridge Art Festival is a one-day event Saturday, Oct. 20, on the Old Railroad Bridge on the south side of the Tennessee River, accessible from Ashe Boulevard in Sheffield. Artists from across the Shoals and surrounding areas will gather on the pedestrian span to paint the scenic landscape visible from this point. Artists must pre-register and the $20 artists’ fee benefits the Shoals landmark. The stone pillars of the bridge pre-date the Civil War, when the upper portion of it was burned by Confederate troops in an effort to thwart Union invasion of the area. During the 1800s and early 20th century, the bridge served as the cross for street cars as well as trains. The public is invited to watch the artists at no cost. Old Railroad Bridge Co. is the sponsor of the event. Registration: Dave Reasons, 256-415-7721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cullman’s Oktoberfest celebration comes to an end Saturday with arts and crafts, competitions, live music and more in downtown. Details: cullmanoktoberfest.com.
The life of one of America’s best known comic entertainers, Pat Buttram, is celebrated in his hometown of Addison 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Addison Community Center and Park. Activities include demonstrations, impersonations of characters from “The Andy Griffith Show,” buck dancing, quilt show, arts and crafts and activities for children. Details: 256-747-2779.
Food and arts and crafts go hand-in-hand at Jack-O-Lantern Farm’s annual arts and crafts event from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Tasia Malakasis, of Belle Chevre in Elkmont, will be signing copies of her new cookbook, “Tasia’s Table: Cooking with the Artisan Cheesemaker at Belle Chevre.” There also will be locally grown produce and food demonstrations from the staff at 360 Grille and City Hardware, both in Florence.
Take a step back in time at the Alabama Renaissance Faire in downtown Florence Oct. 27-28. Wilson Park is transformed into Fountain on the Green, and it’s where you will find trolls, wizards, royalty and all things Renaissance for the free event. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission to the faire, which is sponsored by an all-volunteer staff.
In advance of the faire, the Renaissance Feast will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum. Tickets are $25 each and available at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., Florence. Seating is limited to 200. Details: alarenfaire.org.
Rogersville Fall Festival is Saturday, Oct. 20, and features a car and truck show and antique farm tractor parade. Registration: 9 a.m. to noon. Fee: $25. Activities include live music, chili cook-off, arts and crafts show, children’s costume parage for ages 9 and younger and a pet costume parade.
Tuscumbia’s Market and Fall Festival will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in downtown. Main Street will be filled with artists, craftsmen, food vendors, musical entertainment, contests and entertainment for children. A costume contest begins at 11 a.m. Details: Cold Water Books, 256-381-2525.
Gourds of all shapes and sizes can be found at the annual Alabama Gourd Show scheduled for Oct. 20-21 at the Cullman Civic Center. Sponsored by the Alabama Gourd Society, the show is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 40 p.m. Sunday. The center is at 510 Fifth St. SW. Artists will be on hand to demonstrate their gourd art techniques. There also will be crafting classes and activities for children. For details, visit alabamagourdsociety.org or call 256-355-4634.
Athens Storytelling Festival at the Limestone County Courthouse Square in downtown Athens attracts storytellers from across the United States. The family friendly event is Oct. 25-27 and offers three days of storytelling, readings and musical performances.
Set to appear at this year’s event are: Emmy Award-winning Bobby Norfolk; internationally known Carmen Deedy; author Donald Davis; actress Dolores Hydcock; “folk music’s rustic renaissance man” John McCutcheon; well-known playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling; and internationally acclaimed performer, consultant, teachign artist, workshop leader and keynote speaker Sherry Norfolk.
Stories will be told in the big tent on Marion Street. There also will be a variety of food vendors.
The event kicks off Thursday, Oct. 25, with “An Evening with John McCutcheon.” The event is free an open to the public.
Hours Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Gate admission each day is $25 for adults, $12 for ages 5-16 or $40 per adult and $20 for ages 5-16 both days.
Details and tickets: athensstorytellingfestival.com or 256-232-0400.
The Buttahatchee River Fall Festival in downtown Hamilton is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. The free one-day event features arts and crafts, live music, an Indian heritage display, children’s area, motorcycle and car show and a tractor show featuring classic and antique tractors, engines and farm equipment. National Heritage Award winner and Hamilton potter Jerry Brown will headline the arts and crafts show. For details, visit brff.org or call 205-952-9884.
Blount County’s Covered Bridge Festival will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in Oneonta. With three covered bridges still in existence — Easley, Horton Mill and Swann — Blount County is designated as the Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama. Now in its 29th year, the daylong festival features a various sporting events, arts and crafts show, food vendors, children’s area, and car and motorcycle shows. There also is a quilt show set for Oct. 26-27 in Palisades Park. Admission is $3. Details on the quilt show: blountcountyquiltersguild.com. For details on the festival, visit blountoneontachamber.org or call the chamber office at 205-274-2153.
The Falkville Fall Festival is set for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. Activities include a pancake breakfast, car and antique tractor shows, children’s activities, arts and crafts and live music — all in downtown Falkville. Local favorite The Dusty Winsett Band begins the musical lineup at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., country artist Kevin Denny performs, followed by the headliner Doug Stone. Admission is free. DEtails: 256-784-5922.