HANCEVILLE — For anyone who likes to get out and mingle, it’s been a long summer. Until this month, public gatherings both locally and nationwide have been all but nonexistent through the long COVID-19 lockdown, leaving otherwise busy activity calendars wide open.
But Hanceville leaders and businesses have agreed to spare one of the city’s annual late-year traditions from losing out to 2020. Plans are still on for the Mud Creek Marching Band Festival and concurrent downtown block party, hosted by local merchants, later this month.
With the city’s churches deciding against staging their annual Halloween-themed Fall Festival downtown, the Oct. 24 band festival and downtown merchants block party are timed to take advantage of some of that same seasonal spirit. While high school marching bands from across North Alabama play at Hanceville High School stadium nearby, Bangor Avenue downtown will close to traffic all day long to bring people out for a festival atmosphere — and hopefully, according to mayor Kenneth Nail, to do a little shopping.
“With the way this year has been, I think our merchants would welcome the business,” said Nail. “There have just been so many people staying at home for months on end, and for a lot of small businesses, that’s meant a pretty significant slowdown. With the churches deciding not to do the Fall Fest this year, this is kind of our main event for the fall. We’re hoping folks will take the opportunity to come out and just enjoy the day.”
As in years past, the block party will be a pedestrian-friendly, family-friendly street fair; with food and crafts vendors, kids’ games and activities, music, and local businesses keeping their doors open (and if the weather’s nice, spilling their wares out onto the sidewalks) to welcome casual browsers. Both the band festival and the block party will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, with the block party running from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Mud Creek Marching Band Festival kicks off at noon and ends after the Bulldog marching band takes the field at 8 p.m.