Most towns have a festival or two each year and they are fun for the locals to attend, but
Fort Payne’s Boom Days Heritage Festival is a much bigger event than most. It has a much deeper breath of events and activities and is much further reach bringing in tourists from all over the region. It’s a significant cultural event for our city celebrating Fort Payne’s unique beginnings nearly 130 years ago. Boom Days was the North Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association’s Event of the Year in 2012 and in 2015 Boom Days was deemed the highest honor of becoming the state of Alabama’s Event of the year. Why?
We have to start at the beginning. Fort Payne, in the late 1880s, became an industrial Boom Town. A common expression of the era when a company or group of companies would find a location that had the natural resources to meet the need of their company. In the case of Fort Payne, it was coal and iron. The railroad was completed by then to get people and goods from the northeast to the south and from Boston they came to “Boom” Fort Payne. They brought industry and wealth to a very young community just beginning to find its way on the maps. In 1889 the boom was evident, Victorian homes were being built, an Opera House, attractive downtown buildings, and a grand hotel. Soon a beautiful sandstone railroad depot along with a host of industrial complexes scattered around the area.
Boom Days Heritage Celebration honors Fort Payne’s rich cultural past with events that tie the history to the present, great historical artifacts and clothing at the Fort Payne Depot Museum, a miniature railroad system in the original office of the Coal and Iron Company, music covering all musical genres with more than 30 acts on 8 different stages. City Park, once the front yard of the DeKalb Hotel with its 1889 Ginkgo trees, is filled with some of the finest arts and craftsmen in the region. There is a quilt display, artist demonstrations, a wine and beer tasting, and you might find the Mayor and First Lady of Fort Payne dressed up in period clothing of the Boom Days era.
Boom Days begins on the third Thursday of September each year and runs through Saturday ending with big name musical acts at the Alabama Park and Rotary Pavilion and our traditional Third Saturday Sunset Cruise In with a couple hundred classic cars.
Boom Days provides a wonderful fun experience to the attendees and those who are featured artists or entertainers participating in the event, but it is also financially rewarding to the sponsors and vendors. Boom Days’ large draw of 7,000 –10,000 people brings revenue to our city. Since many are tourists that spend the night in one of our lodging facilities, the event brings new revenue dollars to the committee and to the sponsors and vendors who are receiving a larger audience for their product and services.
Boom Days 2017 entertainment lineup included: The Guess Who, up-and-coming country singer Glen Templeton, The Voice Alumni Amelia Eisenhauer and Nakia Reynoso, The Devonshires, and The Journey Tribute Band,
Events included the Boom Days 5K, Arts & Crafts show, and the always-popular Third Saturday Cruise-in.
Boom Days 2017 drew the largest crowd to date, and there’s no reason to think that 2018 won’t be even bigger and better. So mark your calendar now for the 3rd Saturday in September when Boom Days will return to Fort Payne.