Area activities ramping up with city street fests, concerts


 If you can’t discern from weather that its spring, you can by the calendar of events slated next weekend in Etowah County.
    There’s First Friday in Gadsden, First Saturday in Attalla and the kick-off of the Courtyard Concert series at the Mary G. Hardin Center for the Cultural Arts.
    Historic downtown Gadsden will play host for the rebirth of Cumarindine. If you grew up in these parts, you will remember this as a miracle ointment that would cure just about anything, according Downtown Gadsden Inc. Director Kay Moore. She invites everyone to come by and check out the display.
    Downtown merchants will be open late with specials and sales to celebrate spring. Food vendors will line the 400 block of Broad Street starting at 5 p.m. and downtown restaurants will also offer specials.
    Classic cars will cruise in and be on display for onlookers to see all around downtown.
    Featured entertainment includes Trading Faces, performing at 3rd and Broad;  the Gadsden State Show Band at BB&T; and the First United Methodist Church “Rock Band” at 5th and Broad.
    First Saturday in Attalla will bring vendors, antique cars and entertainment, including “2nd Hand Grace” a band made up of 12 – 14 year olds from Altoona.
    The band consists of Kaleb Arledge, Cam McCurley, Jonathan McCurley, Andrew McGill and Noah Grady. Shannon Arledge, mother of lead guitarist Kaleb, said the group performs Christian rock music. One of the things the band does is take secular hits by bands like Bon Jovi or Guns and Roses and rewrite the lyrics with a Christian message.
    Lisa Turner of the Attalla Information and Development Office said visitors can expect great food from local restaurants and vendors, great entertainment and a car show that will feature 1973 and older models.
    Other entertainers include Higher Ground Music, Exodus and saxophonists Kevin Moore.
    Turner said those showing their cars should enter 5th Avenue NW from Fifth Street NW. There will be a $500 money tree, along with all the other sights, sounds and sales from the merchants of downtown Attalla.
    For more information, contact Turner at the Attalla Information and Development Office at 256-538-1872.
    Beginning on April 5, live music will once again fill the New Orleans-style outdoor courtyard at the Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Historic Downtown Gadsden.
    This year marks the 15th anniversary season of the series and, as in years past, the series will feature live bands every Friday and Saturday night, April through September, weather permitting. The courtyard opens at 5 p.m. and the performers begin at 7 p.m. and play until at least 9 p.m. Courtyard Café offers food and beverage service and table reservations are available by calling (256) 547-1066.
    The concerts are always free and open to the public.
    The outdoor courtyard area has been improved through the years by the generous support of the Serendipity Dance Club and features brick pavers, gas lanterns, a stage, and trompe l’oeil murals painted by artists Steve Temple, Robert Johnston, and Mario Gallardo. With a wrought iron balcony and glowing lights strung overheard, lush plantings, and the Basil Gilchrist memorial fountain, visitors are transported to the French Quarter in New Orleans or to a hidden courtyard off of Dauphin Street in Mobile.
    “It’s a charming venue in which to hear local musicians,” said Hardin Center deputy director Tom Banks.
    “We are particularly proud that this concert series is celebrating its 15th year and will continue to provide quality and diverse music to the public at no charge.”
     The lineup of bands features a wide variety of acts including jazz, rock, pop, steel drum, country, alternative, bluegrass, folk, and fusions of everything in between.
    Though the band schedule is already full for the season, performers wishing to be put on the waiting list in the event of a cancellation may contact Banks via email at
    “The number of entertainment options available in Historic Downtown Gadsden is truly remarkable,” said Banks.
    “There is a full day and evening’s worth of options for visitors downtown. We encourage folks to see the exhibits at the Hardin Center, Gadsden Museum of Art, and the Walnut Gallery, spend some time shopping and dining with local merchants, then come back for our Courtyard Concert Series, and take in the other live music and late night options throughout downtown.”
     For more information on the Courtyard Concert Series and to see the band schedule, visit and click on “live music.”
    The Hardin Center makes a weather decision at 2 pm on the day of each concert.
    If you’re unsure of the weather, please call the Hardin Center at (256) 543-2787, ext. 0 to see if a concert will be taking place.
     The Courtyard Concert Series is sponsored by The Gadsden Times, Courtyard Café, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

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