The top 10 events in chronological order are Eagle Watch Weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park, Mardi Gras in Mobile, the grand opening of the Museum of Alabama in Montgomery, the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham and Guntersville, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet in Florence, the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Daviston, the 25th season of “To Kill A Mockingbird” play in Monroeville. Major events late in the year are the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama Bass Trail Championship in Jasper and the Lyric Theater Reopening in Birmingham.
The state tourism department selects the top 10 events based upon significant anniversaries and the uniqueness of the event. In addition to listing more than 1,400 events tourism’s 2014 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events contains colorful photos, feature articles, and a city-by-city listing of attractions and accommodations.
Here are more details about the top 10 events for 2014:
Eagle Watch Weekends, Lake Guntersville State Park, Jan. 17-Feb. 23
See eagles in their natural habitat during Eagle Awareness weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park in North Alabama. Eagle Awareness weekends feature guided field trips, knowledgeable guest speakers and talks from the parks naturalist. www.alapark.com
Mardi Gras, Mobile, Feb. 1-Mar. 4
Mobile is known as home to “America’s Family Mardi Gras.” The celebration last for more than two and a half weeks and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. The streets are filled with marching bands, float and crowds of parade-goers. Masked riders in costume toss “throws” of beads, moon pies, doubloons and candy into the crowd. www.mobilebay.org.
Grand Opening of the Museum of Alabama, Montgomery, Feb. 15
The Museum of Alabama has been named the Attraction of the Year by the state tourism department. The new museum is located adjacent to the State Capital at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Displays will include Native American artifacts, Civil War weapons and photographs of the Civil Rights Movement. The centerpiece exhibition of the museum is “Alabama Voices” containing more than 800 artifacts and hundreds of images from Alabamians telling the story of the state from prehistory to present. Other permanent exhibitions include the “The Land of Alabama” and “The First Alabamians.” www.museum.alabama.gov.
Bassmaster Classic, Birmingham/Guntersville, Feb. 21-23
Competition takes place on Lake Guntersville, daily weight-ins and the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. www.fishguntersvillelake.com, www.bassmaster.com.
Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet, Florence, Feb. 28
Black tie banquet honoring those who have made exceptional contributions throughout their careers to Alabama’s musical heritage. www.VisitFlorenceAL.com.
200th anniversary of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Daviston, Mar. 27-29
Experience live cannon fire, the lives of Creek and Cherokee Indians, hunting camps and demonstrations of traditional skills of the early 1800s. www.nps.gov/hobe.
25th season of “To Kill A Mockingbird” play, Monroeville, Apr.-May
Monroeville’s 25th annual theatrical production of Christopher Sergel’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” presented by the all-local Mockingbird Players. Tickets go on sale March 1. Performance dates are April 17-19, 24-27 and May 1-3, 8-10, 15-17. www.discovermonroeville.com.
National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores, Oct. 9-12
The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held each year during the second full weekend in October on the Gulf Shores public beach. The festival is one of the nation’s premier outdoor festivals attracting 250,000 people, featuring over 250 vendors that offer fine art, arts & crafts, a retail marketplace, outdoor world, live music performances and great shrimp. www.myshrimpfest.com.
Alabama Bass Trail Championship, Jasper, Oct. 10-11
Held on Lewis Smith Lake. With 21,200 acres spread over 500 miles of winding shoreline with large impounded creek systems, Lewis Smith Lake offers challenges for even the most experienced bass anglers. www.alabamabasstrail.org.
Lyric Theatre Reopening, Birmingham, late December
This 1914 vaudeville theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been restored and is reopening to the public as a world-class performing arts center in downtown Birmingham in late December. www.facebook.com/lyrictheatre.
The 2014 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events will be available the first week of January at the eight state welcome centers, local tourism bureaus and online at www.alabama.travel.