October 14, 2011 1:25:00 PM
There are signs.
A welcome cool ushers away the summer heat as crisp mornings and evenings call for sweaters.
The first leaves begin to brighten.
And suddenly fall has tip-toed in.
If you haven't welcomed the autumn season, perhaps it's time to let it welcome you.
This weekend offers a kaleidoscope of fall festivities, all within a 60-mile radius. There's something for every interest.
Are you a member or admirer of the fine-arts community?
Downtown Northport, Ala.'s Kentuck Festival of the Arts has bragging rights as one of the top craft festivals in the country, featuring music, crafts and contemporary artists in a shady grove of pines in that town's Kentuck Park.
Among the featured artists this Saturday and Sunday is Elayne Goodman of Columbus; contemporary folk art hardly begins to describe her playful and visually intoxicating pieces.
Bessie Johnson of the Tibbee community near West Point also will showcase her meticulously crafted treasures made from pine straw. Johnson brings new meaning and beauty to basket weaving. She says the secret is in the simplicity.
Interested in exploring blues culture?
Aberdeen's Bukka White festival celebrates a native son and its deep roots in Mississippi blues. The festival features arts and crafts, children's activities and a car show in addition to two days of music, tonight and Saturday. As for a local connection, White once sang about those "Sandyland women," referring to Columbus' Sandfield neighborhood.
Gearing up for Halloween?
Pumpkinpalooza can help, as it turns downtown Starkville into a Halloween destination tonight, complete with locally grown pumpkins and gourds, face painting and trick-or-treating.
And if you've never been to the big little town of Caledonia, allow it to charm you with the Caledonia Day festival today and Saturday.
With all the traditions of a small-town street festival and many of its own, Caledonia Day is an ode to simple family fun and an opportunity to drive though a lovely landscape at its loveliest.
So put down the remote.
And Bulldog fans, you don't have to forsake the Dawgs as they host South Carolina at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday. Ole Miss also hosts Alabama Saturday, with kickoff at 5 p.m.
But there's still time to let the children soak up some vitamin D and take advantage of this weekend's promise of glorious fall weather. We'll see you there.
Kentuck Festival of the Arts: www.kentuck.org/festival.html
Bukka White Blues Festival: bukkawhitefestival.com/
Caledonia Day: 662-356-4117