Downtown Northport offers one of the state’s most unique collections of homegrown art galleries, studios, and shops.
Not many people outside of Northport attended the first Kentuck Festival of the Arts in 1971. But more than 40 years later, thousands are expected for the October event that now ranks as one of the largest artist gatherings in the South and has sparked a downtown revival in the city set beside the Black Warrior River.
Here’s how to spend your day in Northport:
9 am - Start with a cupcake.
At Mary’s Cakes & Pastries, Mary Cesar creates special-order cakes as well as treats such as homemade tea cakes, cupcakes, biscotti, gingersnaps, and croissants (ranging from $1 to $4). 412 22nd Avenue; maryscakesandpastries.com
10 am - Shop on Main.
The Kentuck Art Center on Main Avenue serves as the artistic heart of town. The center’s galleries and gift shop exhibit and sell works by local and regional artists such as Key West painter Michel Delgado, whose works are exhibited October 4-27. 503 Main Avenue; kentuck.org
Two doors down, the Renaissance Art Gallery features works by Southern artists such as Mississippi native Elayne Goodman, esteemed for her painted and collaged guitars and globes. 431 Main Avenue; renaissanceartgallery.com
Owned by husband-and-wife team Carl and Harriet Adams, Potager specializes in home decor and French antiques. Shop for Brahms Mount woven herringbone throws while listening to the sweet tweeting of the shop’s zebra finches. 428 Main Avenue; thepotagerofnorthport.com
Also on Main Avenue, the 103-year-old Anders Hardware store, still run by the Anders family, stocks everything from hammers and drills to Radio Flyer red wagons. 419 Main Avenue; andershardware.com or 205/765-0461
Noon - Lunch like a local.
City Cafe‘s fresh and filling meat ‘n’ three lunch ($7) was recently chosen as one of The Year of Alabama Food’s “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” Grab a seat and have a to-die-for plate filled with fried chicken, green beans, banana pudding, and more. 408 Main Avenue; 205/758-9171
2 pm - Attend the festival.
More than 275 artisans will fill Kentuck Park during the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts, October 20-21. 3501 Fifth Street; kentuck.org or 205/758-1257