If you find yourself in Alabama this May, I suggest you find time to make a trip to Montgomery for the Southern Makers Festival. Scheduled for May 2-3 in downtown Montgomery, Southern Makers is an annual two-day event that celebrates creativity in Alabama. Now in its third year, Southern Makers highlights Alabama artisans and craftsmanship and affords Makers the opportunity to display their passions and talents to not only those from their home state, but also those from other regions who haven’t been exposed to Alabama’s traditions and culture.
The meticulously-selected group of Makers includes nationally-renowned
fashion designers, textile artists, screen printers, jewelers, brewers, winemakers, contemporary artists, farmers, woodworkers, chefs, bakers, architects, industrial designers, preservationists and entrepreneurs from every corner of the state, all coming together under one roof simply to showcase the best in Southern creativity and innovation.
You read right: the “Best of Alabama,” from Gulf Shores to Huntsville, all in one place.
While this festival is sure to be a weekend to remember, this event isn’t just about having a good time. It’s just what Alabama needs. Marketing and Communications Director and key player in the making of Southern Makers, Andrea Jean believes that there’s a lack of awareness of the talent that lives and works in the South. Big news always focuses on designers or artists from New York or California, but we hardly get any attention down here.
Southerners share a connection deeper than just the region we live in – we’re connected through heritage, through traditions, and even the land itself, and these elements play crucial roles in the Makers’ creations.
There’s great potential here and across the Southeast, and the festival is a way to showcase that to visitors, and to provide an experience that really expresses the core of their brands.
This year approximately 120 Makers will be setting up booths, in addition to some putting on interactive workshops and participating in the conversation series. This is an increase in last year, where there were only around 100 Makers, several of which are returning for 2015. I imagine we can look forward to this venue growing every year, which will be great for local artisans. Click here for a full list of Makers; there’s a good chance you’ll recognize a few names.
Just steps from the Alabama River in Montgomery’s Union Station Train Shed, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the state from south to north, starting at the Gulf Coast and working their way up. They’ll travel through the south, central, and north regions, encountering the area’s resident Makers along the way, and have opportunities to sample food from local chefs, take part in hands-on demonstrations and workshops, talk with the artists/craftsmen one-on-one and even purchase some of their work to take home.
Tickets are available now online ($25 for the day and $40 for the weekend) and I suggest you buy them while you can! They’ve sold out the last two years, seeing some 4,000 visitors over the two-day period. It’s definitely the place to be this first weekend in May, and it’ll give you a chance to support our local artisans.
All proceeds benefit E.A.T. South, a nonprofit organization that encourages healthy lifestyles through education and sustainable food production in urban areas throughout the Southeast.
All photos courtesy of Southern Makers