As a recent University of Alabama graduate, I am still licking my wounds from last season’s Iron Bowl. For those of you outside the state or fortunate enough not to have kin invested in the schools, this is the biggest, baddest rivalry in all of football history. (Actually, you probably have a similar one in your own state. Just use that for reference.)
It’s not that likely I’d be-bop on down to Auburn, Alabama, and praise its high culture and talented community.
But I did, and I’m about to.
I visited Opelika, Alabama, on Saturday to check out a festival we included in last week’s Hot List (something you should check out every week). The Southern Revelry celebrates Southern culture, fashion, food, and music, and it does a dang good job at it. I fell for Opelika/Auburn’s charm instantly and didn’t even burst into flames upon entering Auburn city limits. This sweet town has already got me wondering when I can go back. (Just not for a season of Saturdays.)
There are, by far, more than five great things going on down in the Opelika/Auburn area, but these are just a few of the people, places, and things I was pretty excited to discover.
1. The Overall Company is Where. It’s. At.
This place has ice pops, coffee (Counter Culture Coffee at that), some pretty awesome art, and the best biscuits. The repurposed factory made for an excellent festival venue, and was able to smoothly transition to an indoor venue when the bottom dropped out on us.
2. Opelika just got a distillery.
The John Emerald Distilling Company just opened up in Opelika, and will be producing its John’s Alabama Single Malt, Hugh Wesley’s Gin, Spurgeon’s Rum, and Gene’s Spiced Rum. The bottles are beautiful and would inspire any bar cart.
3. Alabama artists have got it going on.
Besides the art on display upstairs in the Overall Company’s Color Room (definitely worth a look or several), the Southern Revelry had some pretty artistic vendors set up. I personally purchased a necklace that I couldn’t help but swoon over from the Rainy Day Studio, of Auburn. All the vendors there, from print makers to jewelry makers, had excellent, beautifully designed products. (Another I love includes Perch Jewelry Studio – check them out.)
4. The music ain’t bad either.
The Southern Revelry lineup included several fantastic bands, including a now favorite of mine, Family and Friends. From Athens, Ga. to Jackson, Miss., the bands proved Southerners know how to keep things cool, even in the sweltering humidity.
5. Downtown Opelika and Auburn are incredibly quaint.