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Why You Don’t Want to Miss the Kentuck Art Festival

The Kentuck Art Festival brings crafts, music, performances, and fun to central Alabama every October. It’s a celebration of creativity that draws people from around the country

While the festival alone is worth visiting, Northport is full of other excellent attractions. The charming town offers you plenty to do in addition to attending the event.

Join us as we explore a long-standing Alabama tradition showcasing unique handmade artwork.

Let’s check it out!

The Kentuck Art Festival offers fun activities for the kids!
The Kentuck Art Festival offers fun activities for the kids!

About the Kentuck Art Festival

For 52 years, the Kentuck Art Festival has brought art, music, and activities to Northport, Alabama. The inaugural event held in 1971 celebrated the city’s centennial. But residents enjoyed it so much that they decided to keep the fun going.

Each year, over 250 artists, makers, and crafters display their works at the Kentuck Art Festival. This two-day fair also features spoken word poets, musical performances, and live demonstrations by artisans. Your kids will also enjoy fun activities geared for them throughout the event. 

You’ll probably get hungry while exploring the festival. When you do, food trucks and snack vendors are abundant. You can even enjoy a cold beer from one of several local craft breweries.

While the festival does charge an admission fee, much of the programming is free and open to the public.

The Kentuck Art Festival isn’t just a fun way to spend a weekend. It also supports the Northport Kentuck Art Center, a non-profit organization providing free and low-cost programs and resources for the community. All proceeds from the event help this local gem continue its good work.

While you’re in the area, check out: Haunted Tuscaloosa.

Where Is the Kentuck Art Festival Held?

Founded in the early 1800s, Northport is in Alabama’s Black Belt region in the west-central part of the state. It sits just across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa.

Northport is home to Stillman College, Shelton State Community College, and the University of Alabama’s School of Medicine. You’ll also find many opportunities to learn about the area, including the Northport Heritage Museum and the Historic Train Depot.

The Kentuck Art Festival isn’t the only big event in this quaint town. Each December, the Dickens Downtown holiday festival takes place. Inspired by Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, it’s a fun one-day celebration. Additionally, the Northport Art Night happens every first Thursday of the month.

Want to do some shopping during your trip to the Kentuck Art Festival? Check out the historic downtown area, where you’ll find several antique shops, clothing boutiques, and jewelry stores. If you get hungry, grab a bite at local spots like Dreamland BBQ, Pazzo’s Pizza, or Chuck’s Fish.

Check out art in architecture: 5 Frank Lloyd Wright Road Trip Destinations Across America.

Best Hikes Near the Kentuck Art Festival

The Kentuck Art Festival brings beautiful artwork to central Alabama every year. But plenty of beauty outside the city limits is available to explore. This part of the state is lush with forests, rivers, and wildlife.

Tuscaloosa Riverwalk

The Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is across the river from Northport. This easy, paved route is nearly five miles long. Start on the western end in Capitol Park, then make your way east to Manderson Landing.

This out-and-back path takes a little over an hour to finish. It’s wheelchair accessible and perfect for walking, biking, or running. And kids will love the playground and splash pad, so bring your little ones. Leashed pups are also welcome to join you along the Riverwalk.

Munny Sokol Park Trail

You’ll find the Munny Sokol Park Trail inside Northport’s Sokol Park. This loop trail takes about 45 minutes to complete. Spanning 2.2 miles with almost no elevation change, it’s a gentle, easy hike. If you’re looking for a peaceful nature walk, this is it!

The trail is also popular with mountain bikers. And birdwatchers love this route, too, thanks to the thick tree cover. Dogs on leases are welcome, so bring your furry friends.

The Kentuck Art Festival also offers various musical entertainment.
The Kentuck Art Festival also offers various musical entertainment

Best Places to Stay Near the Kentuck Art Festival

You’ll want a place to rest your head after a long, fun-filled day at the Kentuck Art Festival. Whether you want to camp or stay in a cute bed and breakfast or hotel, it’s all available in Northport.

Lake Lurleen State Park Campground

For a woodsy getaway, the Lake Lurleen State Park campground is your best bet. The park is just ten miles from Northport and is open to RVers and tent campers.

Many spots offer 30 or 50-Amp outlets, sewer connections, and all have access to drinking water. Some even include a wooden deck. 

In addition, each site has a picnic table, BBQ grill, and a fire ring. You’ll also have use of the bathhouses. The beautiful Lake Lurleen is a great place to swim, fish, or go boating.

Nightly rates vary depending on the campsite you choose.

Bama Bed & Breakfast

The Bama Bed & Breakfast is a classic B&B filled with Southern charm. It’s just across the river in Tuscaloosa, making it a convenient option for attending the Kentuck Art Festival.

Choose from seven colorful suites, each with its own theme. All rooms include robes, boutique hair care products, luxury linens, a Keurig coffee maker, a mini fridge, and a microwave.

Enjoy the complimentary continental breakfast or splurge on a made-to-order meal. The kitchen serves homemade favorites like biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and grits.

Rates vary but start around $105 per night.

Courtyard by Marriott Northport

You can’t go wrong with a stay at the Courtyard by Marriott. You’ll be in the heart of Northport, providing easy access to the Kentuck Art Festival.

All rooms include cable TV, WiFi, a mini fridge, and a microwave. Enjoy the onsite fitness center and swimming pool, or grab a tasty dinner at The Bistro, the Courtyard’s restaurant.

Rates start around $130 per night.

Where will you be next spring? 5 Great Art Festivals in April.

Is a Road Trip to the Kentuck Art Festival Worth It?

With hundreds of artists showcasing their works, the Kentuck Art Festival is an explosion of creativity and talent. But Northport is an art-loving city all year round. So even if you miss the festival, you’ll still be able to view beautiful local crafts.

Start packing your bags and plan your vacation to this colorful Southern town. The Kentuck Art Festival and the Northport area are well worth the trip.

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