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Red Bay holds Founders Day Saturday

A one-day tribute to a town’s heritage has visitors headed to Red Bay in September for a day of free family fun.

Situated under the shade trees of Bay Tree Park, the annual Red Bay Founders Fest is set for Sept. 25, with contests, sidewalks sales and live music.

“Founders Fest is a wonderful way to bring the community and people from surrounding areas together,” said Franklin County Extension coordinator Katernia Cole Coffey.

The all-day event kicks off with the King and Queen’s Train Ride at 8:30 a.m., featuring the winners of the September 19 Founders Day Pageant.

Russellville High School senior Sophie Hill, daughter of Tara and Eric Hill, was crowned the 2021 Miss Founders Fest in the annual pageant.

“I am overwhelmed with joy,” said Hill. “Being in the Founders Fest pageant was a wonderful experience, and I will never forget it. Not only did I come home with confidence and a crown, but I left with new friends from northwest Alabama and Mississippi.”

Hill also participated in the Aug. 7 Northwest Alabama Distinguished Young Women scholarship program, in which she placed first alternate for the Franklin County division. She was a Gold Medalist for the North Alabama Skills USA job interview category, selected Miss RHS Best Interview in 2020 and 2021 and Miss RHS Best 11th Grade Talent and 11th Grade Representative.

Hill said after high school she plans to pursue cosmetology at Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals and teach high school cosmetology.

“I am honored and blessed to be able to represent Franklin County during the annual Red Bay Founders Fest,” said Hill. “I look forward to participating in the festival and visiting with the community of Red Bay.”

Live music cranks up at 9 a.m.:

  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. County Road 2
  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. Lisa Lambert Band
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Simply Grace
  • 12:15-12:45 p.m. Announcements and Contest
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m. Sure Destination
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. (TBD)
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. Joyful Noise

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

A buck dancing contest will follow, and attendees can also view entries and winners of the quilt contest, coloring contest and photography contest hosted by the City of Red Bay and the Franklin County Extension.

Additional festival activities will include arts and crafts and an antique car-truck-motorcycle-tractor show. The Red Bay Museum will be open for tours, and many of the downtown merchants will offer sidewalk sales, specials and door prizes throughout the day.

A variety of delicious festival food will be available, and another crowd favorite is the giveaways. Prizes will be awarded to the largest family, longest distance traveled to the event and youngest and oldest attendees.

“This year’s Founders Fest is gearing up to be one of the best ever,” said Mayor Charlene Fancher. “We normally have anywhere from 50-75 vendors, and we expect to reach our maximum this year. The festival is always a wonderful opportunity to come together and have fun. It’s another way of saying ‘Welcome to Red Bay.’”

Bay Tree Park is located near Second Street in downtown Red Bay. Festival hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call Jennifer Garrett at city hall, 256-356-4473, ext. 3.