Let the good times roll: Foothills Festival starts tonight

By ED HOWELL
Posted 9/7/18

It's showtime for the 2018 edition of the Coca-Cola Foothills Festival, with thousands expected to come into downtown Jasper to hear free entertainment from top acts. Officials expect upwards of …

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Let the good times roll: Foothills Festival starts tonight

Posted

It's showtime for the 2018 edition of the Coca-Cola Foothills Festival, with thousands expected to come into downtown Jasper to hear free entertainment from top acts. 

Officials expect upwards of 20,000 people to attend the regional event, which will include a wide variety of vendors on the streets and special events at downtown businesses. 

The first act on the main stage today begins at 6 p.m. with River Dan, following Will Hoge at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's main attraction, The SteelDrivers, will take the stage at 9 p.m. for a 90-minute set. Performances on the main stage will be on the corner of Third Avenue and 19th Street, just off the courthouse square. 

Performances will go on rain or shine, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms expected at times. 

At the Family Fun Zone, a family movie is expected to be played at around dark both tonight and Saturday. 

Investors for the event - named to recall being in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains - include Honda of Jasper, Hyundai of Jasper, Pinnacle Bank and Tallulah Brewing Co. The Daily Mountain Eagle is listed as a premier sponsor for the event, along with Carl Cannon Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Jasper Orthodontics, Ford of Jasper, Jasper's Oldies 101.5 FM and Byars | Wright. Sponsors include Bank of Walker County, Desperation Church, Synovus, Designs on You, Aaron's, TriGreen, 5 Loaves Bakery and Lavish Boutique. A number of other supporting sponsors and friends are listed for the event. 

The Eagle will have booth set up on the west side of the Walker County Courthouse, where visitors can check for a subscription special and various free items. A guide with a map and show schedule for the event is scheduled to be published in this edition of the Eagle. 

The official information booth for the festival will be on the grassy area of the courthouse. 

Saturday's entertainment will actually start at Restoration Hall, on the west end of 19th Street near the railroad track. The contemporary Christian band 1898 will play from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., followed by soul and R&B group The Groove Revival from 12:45-1:45 p.m. and classic rock group Two Jimmy Band at 2:15-3:15 p.m. 

Then the Main Stage will take over at 3:45 p.m. with the Chris Simmons Band, followed by the McCrary Sisters at 5:15 p.m., Paul Thorn at 6:15 p.m., and Taylor Hicks at 7:45 p.m. The headliner, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, will kick off a scheduled 90-minute set at 9:15 p.m., although the set could run later. 

Also on Saturday, the Family Fun Zone Stage entertainment will be as follows: 10:30 a.m. - Marilyn Sanders Performing Arts, as well as ACE of Jasper at about that time; 11 a.m.  - Athletic Arts; 12 p.m. - DreamFit; and 12:30 p.m. - Athletic Arts.

A number of other features are also part of the festival, including the children-friendly Family Fun Zone, sponsored by Desperation Church on the east end of 19th Street, across the bridge. 

"The Family Fun Zone, including carnival rides inflatable’s and games, will be happening during the entire festival," Desperation Church pastor Adam Hicks said. "I would say just let people know that the Family Fun Zone is totally free. They will have to come to one of our check-in stations to get a wristband and that wristband is good for the entire festival."

The City of Jasper Animal Shelter will be finding new homes for pets by displaying them in the pocket park next to the Jasper First United Methodist Church youth center. 

Mural artist Missy Miles said during the festival she would continue working on her mural on the back of the Los Reyes Grill building off of 19th Street and the courthouse square, which visitors will be able to see from the street below.

The Cigar Box, a sponsor of the festival, has announced it will host the founder and CEO of GTO cigars, Dr. Oscar Rodriguez of Montgomery, from 6-9 p.m. Friday, selling cigars and answering questions about his family's tobacco plantations and cigar rolling factories in the Dominican Republic. On Saturday, cigar rollers from New Orleans will demonstrate how cigars are rolled from 2-6 p.m. Saturday. 

Many vendors, ranging from businesses to non-profit groups, will set up booths as downtown Jasper will be blocked off along the 19th Street area and some of its intersecting avenues. 

Restaurants and stores are expected to be open downtown. About a dozen food vendors of many types, will also set up, about double from last year. 

The city's Entertainment District will be strictly enforced by police, officials said, as it is clearly marked with red lines and/or signs to show where alcoholic beverages in open containers can be held.  The district, created in 2015, allows one to have a cup filled with alcohol at a downtown establishment and then go outside within a certain distance, eating on tables or participating in concerts or activities, particularly along 19th Street. The district also has off-shoot sections from 19th Street, south along Birmingham Avenue to take in the Midnight Special, and north up Fourth Avenue to include Tallulah Brewing Co. 

Jasper police will set up a command post downtown and stay throughout Friday night, staying 24/7, and until the conclusion on Saturday night. They are expected to patrol regularly during the festival.

Jasper Fire Department will have a medical response area set up near Warehouse 319 on 19th Street, within site of the main stage and up the hill from the children's area. The After Hours Clinic, which also has a pharmacy inside, at 1800 Birmingham Ave. (across from the civic center) will be open until 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. Hospital Discount Pharmacy will be open nearby the clinic until 5:30 p.m. Friday and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-noon 

The Foothills Pathway 5K will be held for different age groups on Saturday, as a fundraiser for the Walker County Center of Technology. Registration will be at 7:30 a.m. at Jasper City Hall, with the run started at 8 p.m. One may register online at Eventbrite.com or in person at the Walker County Center of Technology. Awards will be given for different age groups, with the first 50 participants getting a T-shirt and gift bag. Entry fees will be $25 for adults and the first family member and $15 for additional family members. Fees will be $10 for children 14 and under, as well as for track team members. Anyone wanting more information may contact Shawna McCullar by emailing mccullars@wcslive or by calling 205-387-0561 at Ext. 2620. 

The Carl Elliott House Museum will be open at 17th Street and Birmingham Avenue, about a block behind the Jasper Civic Center, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Public parking will be available on 20th Street and First Avenue, 20th Street and Fourth Avenue, and along other roadways downtown. ATMs will be available at Pinnacle Bank and Synovus, as well as BBVA Compass, which is behind the After Hours Clinic and civic center. 

Streets downtown will start to be blocked on the north side of 19th Street early Friday morning. The rest of the roads will start to be  blocked at 1 p.m., not just on 19th Street but Second Avenue through Fifth Avenue, as well as some of the area between 19th and 20th Streets. Vendors  will come in starting at 2 p.m. Friday, with set up required by 5 p.m., Myers said. 

Officials are cautioning the public not to park at the civic center late Friday afternoon as a preliminary meeting concerning the Alabama Bass Trail Open is set to take place, although participants in the meeting are expected to leave that area by 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Parking at that area should be fine throughout Saturday. 

For the first time, handicapped parking will be available at the old Downtown Foods parking lot, which will be enforced by police. Handicapped tags or placards will be required for entrance. 

Coca-Cola is providing signage this year that will help direct to the handicapped parking, restrooms, medical and police facilities. In the lot behind Johnathan Sapp's law office past the Walker County Probate Judge's office, air-conditioned, handicapped accessible, large portable toilets will be set up there. Portable toilets, set up a couple at a time, will be installed from one end of the festival to another, from Lavish to Restoration Hall. 

According to the festival's website, officials encourage bringing sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, digital cameras, a valid driver's license, comfortable footwear and cash. Prohibited items include flasks of alcohol and coolers, illegal substances, bicycles, scooters, personal motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs) and musical instruments. 

 Anyone wanting more information may go to the festival's information booth at the courthouse. They may also go to foothillsjasper.com or call Myers, at 205-221-2100 or 205-717-8054. Her email is events@jaspercity.com. The festival's Facebook page is "Foothills Festival Jasper, Al."