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Bring your family to Leeds Sept 17-18 for the fourth-annual Leeds Downtown Folk Festival and John Henry Celebration. This family-friendly grass-roots festival will feature a juried art show and more than 30 of the region’s best artists and artisans as well as live music on two stages — “Under the Gazebo” on Parkway Drive at 9th Street and “Kids’ Show Under the Stars on Parkway Drive at 8th Street. Headliners at the Gazebo are Flying Jenny on Saturday and Bobby Horton on Sunday. (See entertainment schedules on Performers Under the Gazebo and Kids Korner

Each year, the festival will celebrates the life of John Henry — local legend and steel-drivin’ man — with three performances of the outdoor play, “Listen to that Cold Steel Ring,” written by Marie Cromer. Performances are set for 10 am and 3 pm Saturday and 3 pm Sunday.

This year’s Kids’ Korner is bigger and better than ever. (See outdoor craft schedule on Kids Korner

Also at the festival

  • Antique Car Show on 8th Street near Parkway Drive, Saturday only (see details below)
  • Folk Cafe on 9th Street at Parkway Drive : Enjoy a large variety of ethnic and regional food See list of vendors on Food Vendors page
  • Guided tours of Railroad Exhibits at Leeds Historic Depot, Thornton Avenue at 9th Street: members of the Mid-South Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society will conduct guided mini-tours of exhibits and relate Birmingham-area railroad lore
  • Guided tours of the Jonathan Bass House Museum, 1129 Montevallo Road: members of the Leeds Historical Society will conduct tours of this antebellum home that houses a museum of Leeds’ history
  • Farmers Market, 8th Street at Parkway Drive.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept 17, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18. Admission and parking are free. You might want to bring a chair and stay all day!

The Alabama Humanities Foundation, state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities, co-sponsors this project.

Sponsors are Alabama Power, the City of Leeds, C & B Piping Inc, Daniel Foundation, Dixie Home Crafters, Leeds Arts Council, Leeds Historical Society, Leeds Scenic Byway, The Pants Store and Regions Bank.

For more information about festival events and activities, click on the page links on the left.

Artisans apply here

The festival’s Planning Committee is seeking artisans for the juried art show. The show will award a Best of Show as well as First, Second and Third Place Awards in four categories: two-dimensional folk art, three-D folk art; two-D fine art, and three-D fine art. The art show is open to all artists and typically has participants from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. The entry deadline is Sept. 15. Space is limited to 70 artists, so please respond as soon as possible. To participate in the art show,click on the link on this page to Artisan Application 2011. If you have questions or want more information about the festival, contact the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center at 205-699-1892.

Apply to participate in antique car show here

The 2011 Leeds Downtown Folk Festival and John Henry Celebration will include an antique car show, sponroed by thed Pants Store and presented by the Dixie Automobile Club, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — rain or shine — on 8t Street near Parlway Drive. All cars made before 1981 are eligible to enter the show. Participants and spectators will serve as judges. The festival will award trophies for oldest car, most original car and participant’s choice. Entry fee is $15 per car. To register, click on the Car Show Flyer link on this page. Please register no later than Sept. 15. If you have questions or want more information about the festival, contact the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center at 205-699-1892.