I’m usually a shameless lapdog in supporting local events, but the Magic City Art Connection at Linn Park was a massive disappointment today. I’m sure I’ll make some friends mad, but this feels like something thrown together by someone who doesn’t “get” Birmingham and what people here have come to expect in high-profile local events. Contract carnival vendors with overpriced food ($15 for a cold dog, inedible grease fries and lemonade? Really?). Same old exhibitors you see at every other arts/crafts show in the Southeast. Contract bar rather than any of our five locally brewed beers. Only one local food truck (MELT) that I could see, though I’m told that more will be there Saturday.
Maybe it’ll hit its stride over the weekend, but with so much going on this weekend, it’s hard to recommend it. A few blocks to the south, also going on now, is one of my favorite annual events — the Lebanese Food and Culture Festival at St. Elias, 836 8th Street South. (The link wasn’t working when I posted this because it’s so popular their site is down due to bandwidth exceeded. Hopefully they can resolve that. Just take my word for it … wonderful food and atmosphere, and genuinely Birmingham.)
Another event I haven’t attended but which a lot of friends like is the Gumbo Gala, from 11 to 2 Saturday at Sloss Furnace, April 26. This is a competition of some 40 teams for the best gumbo, and it benefits Episcopal Place, which provides a home for seniors who might not otherwise have the means for a suitable place to live. That’s where I plan to be hanging out tomorrow, though I hope to get by St. Elias for dessert.
If you’re up for more action, this is the huge weekend at Barber Motor Sports Park — the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It took many years to attract this premier Indycar event to Barber, which Speed Network has called the Augusta National of Road Racing. Truth be known, this is where I’d have been today — watching practice — if I’d had a little more time.
I guess if you’re really looking for a painting or a sculpture, there’s no harm in a trip to Linn Park. Just don’t go near the food tents. Also stay clear of the ATM, which has $4 fees.