Red Bay plans annual Founders Day festival Sept. 24

It’s time: Red Bay’s Founders Day festival returns Saturday.

“A day of free family fun,” as described by organizers, Founders Day is set for Sept. 24, with contests, sidewalks sales, live music and more.

As the old saying goes, everyone who’s anyone will be there.

“My favorite part of Founders Day is seeing Bay Tree Park full of people celebrating the rich history of the City of Red Bay,” explained Brad Bolton, Red Bay City Council member and president of Community Spirit Bank. “Red Bay is a special place, and this is a day we can all come together to recognize what we have and to be proud of it. There’s always great entertainment, vendors and food for people to enjoy, as well as the chance to visit and reflect with a walk through the museum.”

The day-long event kicks off with the King and Queen’s Train Ride at 8:30 a.m., featuring the festival pageant winners. After that the rest of the festivities begin in earnest.

“My favorite part is looking at all the crafts that vendors have for sale,” shared Red Bay revenue officer Jennifer Garrett. “We’re on track to have more vendors than we had last year, and we expect enough variety for everyone that comes to our festival to enjoy the day with us.” Garrett said 70-plus vendors are expected.

Live music cranks up at 9 a.m., with the following groups scheduled to perform:

  • 9 a.m. Joe King
  • 10 a.m. Joyful Noise
  • 11 a.m. Johnson Brothers
  • Noon Sure Destination
  • 1:30 p.m. New Union Trio
  • 2 p.m. Alan Boyd & Friends

Announcements and awards will be given at 1 p.m. “We will also have Chris Wright & Friends as outside entertainment from noon until 2 p.m. at the Senior Center,” Garrett added. The Franklin County Cattlemen will be selling steak sandwiches from the Senior Center, as well, and a bake sale also features in the plans; all proceeds will go to fund the seniors at the center, Garrett said. 

A contest to see who has the best fried pie gets underway at 11 a.m. The best-tasting and most unusual pies will take home cash prizes.

“I’m looking forward to the many varieties of fried pies,” said Franklin County Extension Coordinator Katerina Cole Coffey. “People are always so creative with the flavors.”

Emily Mays, vice president of Community Spirit Bank, said she likes to arrive early enough to get to sample the homemade pie submissions.

“I look forward to Founders Day each year,” she added. “There are so many exhibitors to shop from, and it’s a great time to see people from the Red Bay area and surrounding communities.”

The festival boasts a variety of other contests as well, including a quilt contest, coloring contest and photography contest.

“The music and entertainment will keep you going all day,” Mays added.

Additional activities include arts and crafts and an antique car-truck-motorcycle-tractor show, and the Red Bay Museum will be open for tours.

“The Red Bay Museum will be open that day with no admission charge, but donations will be accepted,” explained Red Bay Museum curator Scotty Kennedy. “So many people tell us they are unable to visit the museum during the week due to work, so this is the perfect opportunity to come.

“We are always adding new items to display,” Kennedy added, “and this year we have several new Tammy Wynette items that were used in the filming of the Paramount Plus series, ‘George and Tammy.’ It’s based on the book written by their daughter, Georgette, ‘The Three of Us.’”

Kennedy noted there are also a number of other pieces in the museum, including a variety of displays.

“You can also walk across the street to see the caboose and wooden water tower that will be part of the railroad park that is being developed,” he added.

“Several items for sale at the museum include Alabama Dirt Shirts dyed with red clay, ornaments of different landmarks in town, pottery, books by local authors, the Red Bay History Book, the biography of Tammy Wynette and much more.”

Many of the downtown merchants will offer sidewalk sales, specials and door prizes throughout the day.

Prizes will be awarded to the largest family, longest distance traveled to the event and youngest and oldest attendees.

Bay Tree Park is located at 210 Fourth Ave. SE in downtown Red Bay. Festival hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call Garrett at 256-356-4473, ext. 3.