The Madison Street Festival parade is a not-to-miss tradition for many festivalgoers. The community parade shows off youngsters in sports, music and civic-minded groups. City politicians wave to constituents. First-responders march. Small businesses advertise their wares and services. An assortment of fun parade entries will make their way through the cheering crowds from Mill Road to Front Street. The parade will start on Skate Park Drive at 9 a.m. and proceed down Mill Road and Church, Front and Sullivan streets. Parade units will disperse at Madison Elementary School.

TODAY IS THE DAY! The Madison Street Festival is here

Check out our 2023 Madison Street Festival Guide by clicking here.

Madison Street Festival map. Scan the QR code at the lower right to access an app with an interactive version of the map. Created by Steve Gordan (www.cartagram.com)

MADISON – It’s an al fresco classroom. It’s a marketplace. It’s a gathering of artisans with collector-worthy artwork or homespun Americana. But most proudly, it’s a homecoming for anyone lucky enough to be a Madisonian. It’s the Madison Street Festival.

2023 marks the 41st festival when Madison’s downtown streets suddenly convert to a party for a day, and today is that day!

However, this ‘party’ doesn’t happen overnight. “For the last eight months, over 40 volunteers that make up the Madison Street Festival 501(c)3 organization have been working diligently and passionately behind the scenes to create another magical festival FREE to the community on October 7, opening at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” MSF President Crystal McBrayer said.

“Each area has more participants than in years past, with a variety that will make every festivalgoer happy. Thank you to The Shoppes of Downtown Madison and the amazing homeowners who share this space with us on the first Saturday in October every year,” McBrayer said.

The 2023 festival is attracting more participants than ever before. Madison Street Festival attracts children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens to Madison’s historic downtown streets for the community’s largest signature event. In recent years, the Madison Police Department has estimated the crowd at 40,000. The festival has even claimed distinction as one of Alabama’s top 20 fall festivals.

To kick off the festival, the MSF PARADE will start on Skate Park Drive at 9 a.m. and proceed down Mill Road to Church Street, Front Street, Sullivan Street and disband at Madison Elementary School. “Make sure to head to the Entertainment Stage on Church Street for Opening Ceremonies, which begin when the parade ends,” McBrayer said. Coordinator: Debbie Hoover.

On SPONSOR ROW, festivalgoers can say, “Hello,” to businessowners who have helped fund MSF and can learn about their businesses. Financial sponsors for 2023 will set up on Church Street; these sponsors allow MSF to host a free festival. Coordinators: Keegan Mumaw, Casey Mosbarger, Emily Garay.

Off Church Street, ARTIST ALLEY is a juried art exhibit that showcases some of the Tennessee Valley’s best artists, specializing in fine arts. Stroll through an amazing display of high-quality, award-winning original works. Artists enjoy explaining their techniques as shoppers find that perfect design to take home. Also in Artist Alley, Madison Arts Alliance will offer a fun interactive art exhibit. Coordinators: Amber Keyes, Debbie Overcash.

The STUDENT ART AREA highlights creations by students from community schools. Also staged in Artist Alley’s area, the work of these brilliant young artists promises to impress the viewing audience. Coordinator: Deborah Burke.

CRAFTERS COVE, located on the corner of Church and Maple streets, features unique, handmade items that embody the craftsperson’s creativity and skill. Here visitors will find everything from hair bows, children’s clothing, dolls, wreaths, jewelry, wooden pallet designs, yard art, ceramics, cigar-box guitars, dog clothing and collars, candles, wooden toys, hand-painted objects and knitted/crocheted pieces. Coordinators: Susan and Dave Bailey, Brenda Parker.

The BUSINESS SHOWCASE down Front Street assembles companies and organizations (for-profit and non-profit) to show what they’re all about, McBrayer said. This area helps businesses and organizations explain their diverse products and services. From health and wellness, insurance, pet services, performing arts, civic and community groups, nature and wildlife . . . to name a few. Coordinator: Megan Moore.

An impressive 31 FOOD vendors will serve some of the South’s best choices. Barbecue, Greek, hot dogs, hamburgers, comfort food, tamales, tacos, funnel cakes, ice cream, shaved ice, Philly cheese steak, vegan options, popcorn, cookies and cakes, specialty coffee and lemonade . . . MSF has your taste buds covered. On Main Street and throughout the festival, vendors and food trucks will be cooking up tasty treats for the whole family. We promise every tummy will leave happy, McBrayer said. Coordinators: Rebecca Franz and Kathy Morris.

INTERACT ZONE features everything for children and teens. Off Maple Street by Fellowship of Faith Church, the zone is crammed full of interactive booths. The Children’s Area provides free arts, crafts, games and entertainment.The Teen Area hosts interactive stations visual and hands-on, ‘easy’ exhibits to learn to play chess, check out robotics, try STEM activities and more. Coordinators: Hallie Kenny -Children’s Area. Melissa Cain, Ashley Sewell, Melissa Patch – Teen Area.

MIDTOWN MADISON will be the destination to visit with Madison’s Mayor, council members, public works employees or city engineers, along with police officers and firefighters. Don’t miss their booths at Church and Front streets’ intersection. Ask questions, and check out their materials. Coordinators: Gina Romine, Jenny Spain.

LifeSouth will attend for the second annual ELBERT BALCH MEMORIAL BLOOD DRIVE. Balch was a longtime MSF supporter, and blood donations will respect his memory. Bloodmobiles will park at Animal Trax on Church Street.

COMMUNITY SHOWCASE STAGE on Main Street hosts performing art groups. The audience can enjoy many types of entertainment from martial arts, belly dancers, baton twirlers, quartets and much more. Coordinator: Cheri Volkin.

At the ENTERTAINMENT STAGE off Church Street, “Come here to put your hands together, stomp your feet, dance or just sit back and hum along to the live music,” McBrayer said. “This stage will bring some of the best local talents to please crowds throughout the day.” The Entertainment Stage also is Opening Ceremonies’ venue. Coordinator: Beth Heflin.

Stop by the MSF INFORMATION trailer in the parking lot for Animal Trax/The Glass Company. An MSF volunteer can answer questions about the festival, charge a cell phone or find a location within the festival. Coordinator: Erica DeSpain.

At Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park, a special flag raising will launch the festival after MSF Opening Ceremonies. Madison American Legion, Post 229 will decorate the park in patriotic colors, and Legionnaires will host a fun, interactive exhibit. Stop by the park at the corner of Church and Front streets.
At the Round House, Madison Station Quilters will demonstrate their skills and show their works of art. Visit them in the Village Green off Front Street to learn about quilting and admire their beautiful creations.

For the 2023 festival, Madison City Community Orchestra will fill the Madison Gazebo with classical music and pop sounds for the crowds to enjoy.

“If you see youth walking around with a press pass taking action shots, give them a High Five and tell them ‘great job,’” McBrayer said. “In 2022, we implemented a program with local high schools’ photography students. They help Madison Street Festival capture magical moments of the day!”

Visitors can ride to the festival in free SHUTTLE SERVICE buses from CrossPointe Church and Madison City Schools Stadium. Assisted-ride buses also will run. Another option is for visitors to park at the stadium and walk a short distance to MSF’s entrance on Wise Street. NOTE: The CrossPointe Church shuttle will reroute to a different drop-off location at the festival from 8:45 to 10:00 a.m. Visitors should go to the Maple Street Shuttle stop to return to CrossPointe Church, if you ride this shuttle during this time. Transportation Coordinator: Spencer Mahoney.

“Not only does MSF create a free-to-the-community event with the help of our amazing financial sponsors, but our heart as an organization is giving money back to the community after the event with our GRANTS to educational programs,” McBrayer said. MSF encourages anyone involved with schooling to apply for a grant. The grant period runs from September 1 through October 31. To apply, visit madisonstreetfestival.org/grant. Coordinators Keegan Mumaw, Stephanie Cravens, Alicia Winkle.

“The MSF organization is beyond grateful for the support that our community has shown for our 41st festival. We cannot wait to see everyone enjoying all that we have planned for the day,” McBrayer said.

For more information, check out the MSF’s website at www.madisonstreetfestival.org.

Previous stories about the Madison Street Festival:

The entertainment will be rocking at the festival

Behind the scenes at the Madison Street Festival

Madison Street Festival’s Community Showcase promises array of talent

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