Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Druid City Arts Festival engages community


For the ninth year in a row, the downtown area will be abuzz with friendly chatter and live music as the people of Tuscaloosa experience the wide variety of art forms the area has to offer.

The Druid City Arts Festival, or DCAF, will take place this Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Government Plaza in downtown Tuscaloosa. The festival offers a variety of music to enjoy, food to eat and art to peruse and purchase. Admission is free for everyone – the only cost involved is the price of food and art from the variety of vendors. 

“If you look at [DCAF] when the festival is really going and when it’s buzzing and you have all the people out there, it looks like a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Bill Buchanan, the director of community development who played a major role in organizing the festival. “You have art booths, and you have people with their kids and with their dogs, and they’re visiting with their neighbors, or they’re looking at art, or their kids are in the bouncy houses, or they’re getting their faces painted.” 

DCAF vendor veterans, Jim and Carolyn Ezell, think the hometown vibes surrounding the festival are what makes it so special. As authors, they attend the event to sell and promote their books, most of which are set in or around the Tuscaloosa area. 

“I just like the fact that people are strolling around with their dogs and children are doing cartwheels on the green,” Ezell said. “It’s just sweet. People are pulling their kids in wagons and music is playing all the time.”

The bustling atmosphere also helps vendors sell their wares. Last year, around 15,000 people came through the festival, many from out of state.

“Part of it is social because we see old friends and people that we’ve known before, and we meet a lot of new people, too,” Jim Ezell said. “And hopefully the new people will buy books.”

The festival will consist of seven musical acts, 84 art vendors and nine food vendors spread throughout the plaza. The acts are arranged in such a way as to ensure that live music is essentially being played throughout the day.

Additionally, Government Plaza lies within Tuscaloosa’s entertainment district, so festival-goers who are of age can carry approved open containers of alcohol purchased inside the district as they enjoy the festivities.

Buchanan feels that the colorful hodgepodge of attractions makes the festival something everyone should experience, especially students. 

“I know that a lot of times students tend to just stay on campus – there’s almost like a road block set up at the end of the Strip,” Buchanan said. “A lot of times there is a campus attitude, and I understand that. I was a lot the same way when I was in school. The campus is great, and the University has grown, and there are so many great events, but there are great things out and about in town, too. DCAF is one of them.” 

Jewelry, literature, glass, metal, mixed media, photography, sculpture, wood and two-dimensional art are among the art forms offered for purchase at DCAF. Vendors like Steel City Pops, Local Roots, La Mexicana, Jim ’N Nick’s and New Orleans Style Shaved Ice will serve up tasty eats while Matt Jones and artists from The Alabama Blues Project shower the scene with music.

Though the food and art costs money, visitors should rest assured that there is something available for every budget. The items for sale there fall into a very wide range of prices.

“A lot of the festivals – as time has gone on – the items there get more and more and more expensive to the point where, if you don’t have 100 dollars in your pocket, you’re not really going to be able to buy anything because everything is really expensive,” Carolyn said. “But at Druid City Arts Festival, people go and they really do buy because you can find things there for just a few dollars.”

Overall, the goal of the festival is to bring a variety of art and a community atmosphere to the people of Tuscaloosa.

“Art, to me, it really elevates your life experience, I think,” Buchanan said. “[DCAF] is just a day when the community can come together and you can see friends out and enjoy the day together. It really is a quality of life event, and it adds to the quality of life living in Tuscaloosa.”

For more information on vendors and the festival itself, you can visit the DCAF website at Though light rain is forecasted for Saturday, DCAF plans to continue with all planned activities unless lightning is spotted. 

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