Memorial Day Weekend Without Jubilee Cityfest


By Ashley Thompson

For thirty-six years, Montgomery's Jubilee Cityfest has been a signature event downtown taking place on Memorial Day weekend, or close to it. But this year, the big event is not happening.

In 1976, Montgomery resident Margaret Carpenter had a vision for the city. She wanted to showcase what downtown Montgomery could be and bring more people to the city's river front. So, she started Jubilee Cityfest, at first just a family friendly artfest.

"Our mom felt that people needed to go downtown and have something to enjoy, to have sort of a party for the city," says Carpenter's son Grits Morris. "So she got it going, and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger."

Jubilee grew into a major event, attracting big-name headliners. Now, for the first time in decades, the cityfest isn't taking place after the event's board of directors moved to cancel it. But Carpenter's two sons Grits Morris and Dan Morris say Jubilee accomplished it's purpose of drawing people to downtown and is no longer needed.

"Really, right now it would be a dream come true for her to see everything that's happened in downtown Montgomery," says Dan Morris.

"The fact that the baseball team is there, I mean that really is remarkable," says Grits. "And the convention center, the size of the convention center there, the different street fests, the Second Saturdays, Montgomery really has matured into it's own. It doesn't need Jubilee."

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says although Jubilee is no more, there are other events in the works.

"Like dining on Dexter, or a goat hill derby or something," says Strange. "Those things that we've heard about and people have come to us along the way, kite flying out at Blount Park, the Bark Park that we have...

But still, some Montgomery residents say they will miss the annual event.

"We'll have to go someplace else to find another City Stages, something to go to," says Joanne Perry.

"They had the Brewfest which was okay," says Dan Raudonis. "But then you had to pay more to get on the boat. They had the free concert though so that's kind of nice but I mean I definitely liked the weekend long event."

The Jubilee Run for Cancer IS still taking place Saturday, although the cityfest, with all the music acts, is not.


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