Event Details

Fourth-Annual Leeds Folk Festival to be held Sept. 17, 18

Mark your calendar and plan to bring your family to the fourth annual Leeds Downtown Folk Festival & John Henry Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 5 p.m.—rain or shine. Admission and parking are free to the public.

The Alabama Board of Tourism has named this two-day festival in historic Leeds, Ala., one of the top 10 tourism events in the state during the month of September.

This festival, held each year on the third weekend of September, celebrates the roots, richness and variety of Alabama culture. The event will feature a juried art show with demonstrators, live music and entertainment, a variety of children’s activities, and lots of regional and ethnic food. Special events at this year’s festival include a celebration of the life of John Henry — local legend and steel-drivin’ man — as well as a railway exhibit on Saturday and Sunday, and an antique car show on Saturday.

You can purchase one-of-a-kind items from more than 30 artisans who will display their craftsmanship at a juried art show. Musicians and musical groups will perform outdoors on Saturday and Sunday in a variety of styles, including folk, jazz, Christian, gospel, Caribbean and reggae music, and Civil War songs and stories. Kids’ Korner will be set aside for children ages 4 to 12 to enjoy a variety of activities and make crafts to take home. This year, a second stage at Kids’ Korner will showcase the talents of young entertainers from the area. A food court and farmers market also will be open on Saturday and Sunday.

The John Henry Celebration is the centerpiece of the festival and will feature three performances of the play “Listen to that Cold Steel Ring,” written by Marie Cromer. The outdoor play will directed again this year by Nell Richardson. Performed at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday at Leeds Historic Depot, this play depicts the life of John Henry and the contest he waged against a steam drill in the Oak Mountain tunnel south of Leeds.

The City of Leeds is located 15 miles east of Birmingham, 43 miles from Anniston and 62 miles from Gadsden. Downtown Leeds is only two miles off I-20, from exit 140. Locals and visitors alike are invited to the festival. There will be fun for everyone in the family! You may want to bring folding chairs and stay all day.

The Leeds Downtown Folk Festival & John Henry Celebration is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. For information see call Regina Arnold at 206-699-1892.