Alabaster CityFest 2023 finds success with largest turnout yet

Published 5:54 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Thousands of people walked the lawn of Thompson High School to enjoy live music and festivities at the largest Alabaster CityFest ever.

The Alabaster Arts Council hosted the largest free public event in Alabama, Alabaster CityFest, on Saturday, June 3.

“This was the largest CityFest crowd we have ever had,” said Alabaster Arts Council President Adam Moseley. “Our KidsFest area was packed all day and the nighttime crowd was unbelievable.”

Alabaster CityFest is an annual free public event that provides residents with live music, food, vendors and live music.

“Every year we try to have a great family-friendly festival, and we love to bring great music and national artists like Chris Lane and Sister Hazel,” Moseley said. “Being able to do this in Alabaster and share our experience with all of our Shelby County and central Alabama neighbors is wonderful.”

Performers took the stage throughout the day on Saturday, June 3 beginning at 9 a.m., while the headliners took the stage later that night beginning at 5, including musical acts Michael Warren and Sister Hazel.

Chris Lane was this year’s main headlining act and took the stage at 9 p.m.

Alabaster City Councilmember and Arts Council Vice President Jamie Cole shared his thoughts on what makes CityFest special.

“This is the biggest free event of its kind in the state,” he said. “There’s just nothing else like it. When you have a music lineup that’s world class, but also stuff for kids to do, shopping, great food and all of that stuff coming together—it’s almost like a state fair combined with a concert festival.

“For a lot of people, CityFest is their first and sometimes only introduction to the city of Alabaster and what we’re about. So, to have it be world class, well-organized, well thought-out and to come off like it did this weekend, it just means a lot to the city of Alabaster.”

Cole shared his thoughts on the large turnout the event saw this year.

“The number of people that show up tell the story,” he said. “We think this is the biggest one we’ve ever had. As far as what contributes to that— (it’s the) beautiful weather, great lineup, a great vendor and food selection and a perfect storm so-to-speak.”

This year’s CityFest saw more than 150 vendors as well as the KidsFest area with rides for kids to enjoy.

“Multiple vendors shared with me that this was the most organized event they have ever attended,” Arts Council Vice President Camille Herron said. “As volunteers who work on this event 365 days a year, hearing this type of feedback is what makes it all worthwhile. Standing back and watching tens of thousands of individuals enjoying a free day of fun and entertainment—this is why we do what we do.”

Herron spoke on the amount of effort it takes each year to make the event possible.

“Alabaster CityFest requires countless hours from members of the Alabaster Arts Council, along with hundreds of volunteers the weekend of CityFest,” she said. “And the appreciation we receive from the attendees and vendors is why we do what we do each and every year.

Herron shared that this year, they presented the first Volunteer of the Year Award at CityFest.

“We presented our first Volunteer of the Year Award to one of our core volunteers who has worked every single Alabaster CityFest since it began in 2003,” she said. “ Henry Raymond, the first recipient of this award, has put in countless hours and sweat—literally, not figuratively. Henry is the most deserving person to receive this award, and we were so excited to present this to him Saturday night on stage in front of thousands.”

Volunteers are not the only vital aspect to the events continued success as the annual event also depends upon its many sponsors.

“We could not do this without the full support from the city of Alabaster, Shelby County Tourism, Alabama State Tourism, and especially our private sponsors,” Herron said. “So many sponsors not only contribute financially, but go above and beyond by donating their skills, their resources, equipment and even volunteers. It’s the one day of the year where we all just come together and pitch in to provide an amazing fun-filled day for not only our local community, but for visitors from surrounding regions and states.”

Alabaster CityFest is planned to return in 2024 for its 22nd year and the Alabaster Arts Council is already set to soon begin work on its preparation.