Check out our Pinterest board for great ideas on where and how to spend your November days in Birmingham and surrounding areas!
Check out our Pinterest board for great ideas on where and how to spend your November days in Birmingham and surrounding areas!
Birmingham lays claim to some trendy coffee shops, and Octane Coffee is no exception. Have you ever wondered exactly who the people are behind the counter serving this delightful coffee? They have intriguing stories to tell, and barista/mixologist Trenton Bell, has one of the finest.
Bell graduated from Samford’s Beeson Divinity School back in May of this year. “I felt a sense of calling to go [to seminary]; I felt internally that it was the right next step for me after college,” said Bell. He received his Master’s in Divinity and now awaits the Lord’s next step for his life.
Throughout his life, Bell has always had two main loves: Jesus and music. He felt the Lord calling him to combine those passions for the Kingdom of God and thus, the band Multis Project was born. Multis is Latin for many, and Bell chose this name because the purpose of Multis Project is to promote diversity within music.
Multis Project was somewhat born out of necessity. Bell and his friend, Louie Free, were driving back from a conference they had been leading worship at and were in line for another gig, but there was one problem, the next conference wanted the two guys to bring a band with them. “We put together a group of folks, and tried to put together as much of a diverse team as possible,” Bell said. “We have some hip-hop, gospel, folk and pop all mixed in together. We want to push the envelope and reach out to and unify diverse groups of people.” The band has been doing just that ever since their first performance back in January.
Bell constantly faces the battle of balancing being a full time barista and trying to continue to pursue his passion for making music. However, he does not really worry about it too much. “I trust that we [Multis Project] will go where we need to be at the proper time. We have patience in trusting the Lord, but we are persistently pursuing opportunities,” he said.
So if you need a delicious Carmelatto, or want to book a cutting edge band, look no farther than Octane’s very own, Trenton Bell.
Birmingham’s favorite farmers market is back on Saturday, April 9th. It is open from 7 a.m. to noon rain or shine.
Pepper Place began in 2000 in provide a connection between family farmers and the people of Birmingham, Alabama. Since then is has grown from a few tents to over 100 tents spread across parking lots and streets around Pepper Place. The market has hosted around 10,000 people every Saturday at the height of the season.
All of the vendors are based in Alabama and are the actual growers, joined by their family members and friends.
Shoppers can expect bedding plants, herbs, lettuces, asparagus, and strawberries to be in season for the spring and as it gets closer to summer blackberries, blueberries, peaches and mushrooms. Alongside of the fresh produce market goers can find bakers and cooks who serve food to eat and take home, from breakfast food to dessert. As well as food, Pepper Place hosts Alabama artists, artisans and craftspeople with unique items to decorate with or give as a gift.
The address is:
2829 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233
A list of vendors can be found here:
The Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series is a reading, writing, and performance event held at The Desert Island Supply Co. in Birmingham, Alabama. They generally feature at least one of Birmingham’s working writers. For the month of April, they are hosting three out-of-towners: Michael Robins, Adam Clay and Ada Limón.
All three are incredible poets. Lion’s latest book, Bright Dead Things, was recently a finalist for the National Book Award.
The event is happening Sunday, April 10th at 3:30 p.m. at Desert Island Supply Co. in Woodlawn. The address is: 5500 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35212.
Fore more information:
Here it comes! The Sixth Annual Girls Inc. Cajun Cook-off is steaming down the tracks to Railroad Park, “Bringing the Big Easy to the Magic City” Saturday April 9 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Hosted by The Committee of 25, which is the Girls Inc.’s Junior Board, and presented by Publix Super Market Charities, the cook-off will feature a family friendly atmosphere spiced with the Cajun aromas of foods such as jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, shrimp and grits, po’boys and more.
Twenty to 25 amateur cooks will prepare these dishes for the chance of taking home trophies from the taste-testing contest.
Live zydeco music by the Swamp Poppas will provide additional flavor to the day, accompanied by a silent auction, kids’ activities and a performance by Girls Inc. program participants.
Connie Hill, President and Chief Executive Officer for Girls Inc. said that the Cajun Cook-off, which is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, expands each year in order to create a more “memorable and fun” experience for attenders.
“Through this year’s event participation and fundraising efforts,” Hill said, “Girls Inc. hopes to raise $80,000 to support our efforts to provide vital and innovative educational programs to school-age girls in Central Alabama.”
These programs are dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.”
Tickets can be purchased at bhamcajuncookoff.com, $20 for adults and $5 for kids ages three to ten. Children under three years of age may attend for free.
Five Points South – It’s rounding the corner once again! St. Patrick will be rolling out his green carpet into Birmingham on Saturday, March 12 with the city’s 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, presented by REV Birmingham and Five Points South.
Part-two of the much anticipated, weeklong The Five Points South St. Patrick’s Celebration, the parade will grace the streets of Five Points South from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., ending at Cobb Lane.
2016 Parade Marshall UAB Coach Bill Clark and the Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band will lead the procession.
The 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, REV Birmingham District Manager James Little said, is a celebration that is speedily becoming “Birmingham’s own”.
Major cities across the United States are renowned for their parades, Little explained, and REV Birmingham and Five Points South are in a likewise manner striving to create their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade into a uniquely Birmingham experience.
And it has been a success.
“We’ve really added an element where the St. Patrick’s Celebration in Birmingham is very much becoming what you would see in other cities,” he said.
According to Little, much of the parade’s attraction has accumulated in recent years.
“It has grown and grown over the past five years,” he said, crediting much of this to the businesses of Five Points South.
“Five Points is Birmingham’s culinary district,” he said. Little explained that when St. Patrick’s Day arrives in Birmingham, these businesses provide St. Patrick’s Day themed menus and live music—several additional features that set Birmingham’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration apart from others.
Other festive features include new attractions such as Chick-fil-A’s Lucky Zone for Kids, as well as exhibits by the Birmingham Police and Fire Department. Non- parade festivities will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
REV Birmingham and Five Points South encourage the Birmingham community to come clad in green on Saturday to participate in this fun-filled, family friendly parade celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
While many Birmingham residents are familiar with the Southern Museum of Flight, few have heard the tale of its beginning- the aviation adventures that initiated the museums ultimate take off.
Take that ring off now, or I’ll take it off and throw it out the window!”
Mary Alice Gatling sat stiffly in her seat. Defiance danced in her eyes as silence settled in the stilled passenger car. The only motion that threatened to rock the tracks was the thundering voice that demanded the hand of the silent woman who had yet to speak a word.
Donald Croom Beatty steadied his gaze. He knew patience. But he was even better acquainted with the power of purpose.
When he had learned of Mary Alice’s engagement, he had wasted no time in jumping aboard his small plane and tracking down the train that was transporting his girl. Having found it, he landed in a nearby field and then halted the southbound train.
Now he refused to leave until the ring Mary Alice wore was replaced with the one he now held out to her.
Slowly the diamond ring began to twist from her slender fingers.
It was done.
“You’re my girl, and don’t you forget it!” Beatty boomed.
It would only be a matter of time before the hands of Mary Alice Beatty, more accustomed to frolicking across the piano keys at The Juilliard School, would take a bounding, daring leap and learn to soar across the heavens.
And he would teach her.
While many Birmingham residents are familiar with the Southern Museum of Flight, very few have heard the tale of its beginning—the aviation adventures that initiated the museum’s ultimate take off.
Since the moment it first revved up its engine for guests in 1983, the museum has been home to over 90 aircraft and numerous exhibitions and memorabilia, including more than 70 mounted biographical plaques documenting southern aviation history in the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame.
Behind these exhibitions are many exciting years of teetering upon makeshift runways and gliding above horizons glimmering with mystery and danger.
“Dad taught Mother how to fly when girls never learned how to fly,” Mary Alice Beatty Carmichael, daughter of Donald and Mary Alice Beatty, recalled. Besides being a businessman, Donald Beatty was an aviator, explorer and inventor.
Carmichael explained that because of society’s expectations for women at the time, her mother never mentioned her flying lessons during her tutorship.
According to Carmichael, Beatty learned to fly in the early 1920’s. At that time, “ladies didn’t throw their legs over anything, and the only way you can get in a plane is to climb on the wing, throw your leg over the cowling and drop down into the seat.”
Carmichael is the second of three living children to Donald and Mary Alice Beatty, both of whom have since passed. She serves on several of the museum boards, including the Foundation Board, the City Board and the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame Board.
Although well occupied in their early years of marriage with explorations and expeditions—one of which was sponsored by J.P. Morgan after the historic stock market crash of 1929—Donald and Mary Alice Beatty spent most of their lives in Birmingham, where they had been born and raised.
Donald left behind a legacy of inventions and aerial flight routes through the hearts of Central and South America that have marked history. While Mary Alice accompanied and assisted her husband in many of his endeavors, perhaps her most invaluable contribution to Alabama is the Southern Museum of Flight.
With her husband’s vast collection of artifacts, plane pieces and memorabilia from various expeditions, Mary Alice Beatty initiated its creation.
“They started a museum that was in the attic at Samford above the library,” Carmichael recalled. She described the museum’s initial take off first at the university, and then as its cargo grew, at the Birmingham Airport before its final landing in the Historic East Lake district, where it is nestled today.
Carmichael remembers her mother quipping, “I had to do something to get Daddy’s things out—Daddy’s junk out of the closet!”
Although its engine has gently cooled over the years, today the Southern Museum of Flight still serves visitors as a quiet wonder tucked snugly into the heart of the steel city.
Rickwood Field gives fans a sense of nostalgia
For a short window, Birmingham had the oldest and newest professional baseball parks in America.
When you think about that, it’s pretty extraordinary.
Birmingham’s minor league baseball team, the Barons, now plays at the modern Regions Field, which opened in 2013.
But Rickwood Field, the old home of the Barons, has survived for over a century and is still in use today.
From the outside, the ancient glass windows and concrete pillars makes Rickwood look worn out, like a rickety staircase.
But set foot inside, and it’s a sight that will take your breath away – especially those who appreciate the history of baseball. The park incorporates both new and historic features that make anyone feel like they’re stepping back in time as they walk through the gates. The gazebo-style pressbox, the freshly cut infield grass and dirt, the vintage signs in the outfield and the wooden benches in the dugouts display Rickwood’s contrast of old and new.
Although the playing surface itself has been altered and well maintained over the years, the outer structure has remained the same.
While Rickwood may not be hosting baseball games every day anymore, it is still an important historical feature of the city, and one that is being used in new and different ways.
Construction of Rickwood Field broke ground in the spring of 1910. The very first game was played later that same year. Birmingham Barons owner Rick Woodard built this park that served as the home field for two teams: The Barons and the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues. Both organizations competed at Rickwood for several decades.
Additionally, legendary major leaguers such as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial came through playing in exhibition games.
The crowds filling Rickwood’s stands experienced the wonder, the romance and the magic of baseball – just the way it was meant to be.
“There’s something romantic about the game of baseball that made America fall in love with it,” said David Brewer, executive director of the Friends at Rickwood.
The love of baseball was shared no matter what your skin color is. Going to the ballpark for a minor league game was a big deal back then.”
A photo of a Barons game taken in 1948 shows no empty seats in the house. In the photo, fans can be seen dressed in business attire while attending games. The community felt strongly about coming to support their teams.
Although the Barons moved their home games to Hoover and later to Regions Field downtown, Rickwood Field has been preserved. The park was saved because some local baseball fans joined in 1992 to become “The Friends at Rickwood.” Since then, the Friends have taken excellent care of the facility and are restoring it to its former glory.
“The move for the Barons downtown has reenergized the city,” Brewer said. “Regions Field is in a good location – but it’s all good for us, here at Rickwood. Geographically, it’s not too far away. You can see the Barons current park and their old park, which has value for us and for the city of Birmingham. Regions Field has filled that role of a catalyst for re-development in the downtown area.”
A Scene from History
Rickwood Field is more than just a historic baseball park where over 100 Hall of Famers once played.
It played a key role as a community and cultural center during Birmingham’s Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
“You cheered for your heroes whether you were Caucasian or African American,” Brewer said. “This place served as a civic identity and was about community pride.”
From a cultural standpoint, it represented more than tracking who hit the most homeruns. The field represented blacks and whites coming together to support minor league baseball, which was finally integrated in 1964.
From 1947-1963, there were separate segregated teams in Birmingham. The facility was segregated then too, with white and black fans sitting in different sets of bleachers.
These days, the park hosts almost 200 baseball games each year, including the annual Rickwood Classic, which features the Barons playing a visiting team on their old home turf.
Birmingham-area high schools, Miles College, wooden-bat tournaments and other organizations are still able to play on hallowed ground. In May 2012, scenes from the movie 42 were filmed at Rickwood Field.
Today, Rickwood Field also hosts current events, such as youth baseball camps and a weekly summer men’s league. Visitors are able to walk in and explore the grandstands or run the bases. People can reserve the field for photo shoots, weddings, family reunions and corporate events.
Rickwood Field, with all of its rich history, is still in excellent condition and is occupied quite frequently today.
Rickwood Field is located at 1137 2nd Ave. W. The park’s hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through
For over 80 years the 50-ton Vulcan statue has sat on Red Mountain overlooking the city. He is now joined by two smaller and more colorful versions of himself in downtown Birmingham.
One, with its earthy colors and painted words describing the city, is situated outside of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC). The other, located in Railroad Park, depicts the magic city at night with stars forming Orion and the Big Dipper, two constellations that are often found in the city’s night sky.
These statues are the first of the ongoing Vulcans on Parade project, a partnership between members of the Project Corporate Leadership (PCL) class of 2015 and Vulcan Park and the Museum.
The class of PCL was challenged to create a project that aims to change the negative perception that there is a lack of activities and entertainment in the Birmingham Metro area.
“The idea that we ended up on was to get permission to use the image of Vulcan, make the Vulcan statues and put the statues up at attractions,” Cox said. “We want to use Vulcan to bring attention to local attractions.”
After getting approval from Vulcan Park and Museum to use the Vulcan, the statues are made in Nebraska. Then they are sent back to Birmingham where local artists design and decorate them.
Project Corporate Leadership went through the Birmingham Museum of Art to find people who could design and paint the first two statues, and got Simmons Middle School art teacher Carrie McGrann and local artist Paul Cordes Wilm.
McGrann and Wilm had plain, white fiberglass statues delivered to their homes and several months to paint it.
Forging Ahead by Paul Cordes Wilm
Wilm’s statue, named “Forging Ahead,” is located in front of the BJCC. He wanted it to not only tell a story about how Birmingham has changed, but also to show the god of fire, Vulcan.
“It is an anatomical map of man, but instead of muscles I put strengths and things that Birmingham has achieved,” Wilm said. “I wanted it to be sort of a magical and spiritual map of Birmingham. This is what we have done and this is what we are striving to do.”
There are many elements on the statue that each have meaning. Words like “civil rights,” “industry,” “equality” and “dream” are written on it. Wilm said that these represent Birmingham’s story. A map of Birmingham has been included under Vulcan’s raised arm. Another map of the state of Alabama is on the block next to him with the words “Be Proud” painted above it.
Magic City Lights by Carrie McGrann
McGrann took a different spin on her statue, named “Magic City Lights,” which is located in Railroad Park.
“I really wanted to go with the theme of Birmingham being the Magic City,” McGrann said.
At the bottom of the statue she painted her perspective of driving into Birmingham at night and seeing all of the red and yellow car lights. Then, on the apron she depicted many downtown buildings at sunset. These colors blend into a night sky as they move up the painting.
“If you look on the chest, there are stars that map out Orion and on the back is the Big Dipper,” McGrann said. “Those are the two things that I learned how to find in the sky here.”
McGrann and Wilm did not know exactly where their statues were going to go until their reveal in late August.
The group, including Wade Cox, Justin Drummond, Chris Cooper, Ashley Stuckey and Leslie Dobbs, plan to place 18 additional statues in the city by the end of 2016.
Something that many involved in this project have in common is that they have all lived in Birmingham for many years. Wilm, Cox and McGrann all are enthusiastic about how this will bring attention to Birmingham and its many features.
“We are forging a new name for ourselves. We are an innovative, creative and a cool place to be. Come here and see us,” Wilm said.
To learn more, visit www.bhamvulcans.com