Winter holiday festivals in Alabama, Mississippi and Alabama - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and others especially...
August 6, 2007 5:47 AM   Subscribe

Help me find family-friendly winter holiday festivals and celebrations in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to be held this year (2007-2008)-- especially non-Christian celebrations like those celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or just winter itself. Or specific cultural celebrations that would offer something beyond the usual Xmas/Santa stuff.

It's especially hard for me to get good descriptions since many holiday sites and city calendars aren't yet updated for the coming winter's festivals. I'd like specific towns/destinations to point others to (this is for a magazine article).
posted by mdiskin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you'll email me at, I'll try to help you out with Mississippi. (I am having cut and paste issues with MetaFilter using Firefox, and it just seems easier this way).
posted by thebrokedown at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2007

I urge you to promote the Mississippi Gulf Coast in your article, mainly because that area was practically wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. Yes, New Orleans suffered severe flooding, but Biloxi, Gulfport and other towns along the Mississippi coast were blasted by winds and sea surge. Hundreds of antebellum homes and historic buildings were lost, as were many lives and jobs. That said, please check out the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau at

On the other hand, if you're going to New Orleans, the Voodoo Music Experience offers a variety of genres, voodoo rituals, DJ's and "Voodoo After Dark." It's Oct. 26-28, 2007, in City Park near the French Quarter; visit

Also in New Orleans: Bayou Bacchanal on Nov. 3, 2007, in Armstrong Park featuring a parade with masqueraders, Caribbean & American food, steel band, arts & crafts, etc.

If you're a sports fan, the Sugar Bowl is set for Jan. 1, 2008, at the Superdome. And, of course, there's Mardi Gras in February 2008. Make hotel reservations now.

Hanukkah in New Orleans? Visit Touro Synagogue, which dates to 1828, the oldest outside of the original 13 colonies;

Or there's “Hanukkah at the Riverwalk,” featuring the largest Menorah in Louisiana, Jewish music and free latkes; Temple Sinai hosts “Chanukah on the Avenue.”

OK, that's enough for now. Will you get to get to visit all the events you'll write about? If so, dang you!
posted by Smalltown Girl at 10:59 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Northport, AL, has "Dickens Downtown" each year in its cute little historic downtown block, theres lots of Christmas Carol-era themed stuff and other old-timey things going on, even the local cops are dressed up, the area has an active folk-art community and nice little art galleries that all get into it.

The other thing I can think of is "Christmas on the River" in Demopolis, AL which i think also includes the state barbeque championship.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2007

One thing that stands out in my mind for Jackson, Miss., events is the holiday model display at the Ag and Forestry Museum.

See, this one area resident every year would make a new model for a holiday/winter display, and over the years it got very large. He had been making/displaying them at his house in NE Jackson, and the neighborhood would get log-jammed with people coming to see them (I know, because my parents would take us).

A few years ago, I think he donated it to the museum, and they display it during the holidays. I don't think they update/add new models any more like he did, but without fail there's a big crowd to see it. (Imagine a Norman Rockwell painting, very small, and in motion, like water wheels on mills and such.)

Museum link

Other than this, the other events we go to are more sales/shopping and fund-raiser type stuff...I don't know if that would fit your angle.

(I'll ask my more social wife for ideas tonight and post if we come up with anything else.)

And on preview, stress that the Coast needs visitors/tourism dollars.
posted by fijiwriter at 1:15 PM on August 6, 2007

Thanks to everyone for all these suggestions. Sales/shopping and fund-raisers are dandy if they're notable enough.

I'm especially looking for Mississippi/Alabama Gulf Coast suggestions, but many CVBs (convention & visitor's bureaus) don't have updated calendars, or they have stuff from a couple of years ago (pre-Katrina). I've been googling city names +"Kwanzaa" or "Hanukkah" (including variant spellings) and I get educational stuff but no details about public festivals for this coming holiday season. (I know, I'm whining...)
posted by mdiskin at 5:50 PM on August 6, 2007

These are shopping-related, but both are very popular with locals. Both offer food, music, and such, so it's not just walking around an open space and holding purchases.

Mistletoe Marketplace


Chimneyville Crafts Festival
posted by fijiwriter at 6:56 AM on August 7, 2007

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