The W.C. Handy Music Festival in the Shoals is among the Top 10 must-see events in 2013, based on a ranking released by the Alabama Tourism Department.
The festival, in its 32nd year, is July 19-28 and honors legendary blues musician and Florence native W.C. Handy.
Known as “Father of the Blues,” Handy’s life and accomplishments are celebrated yearly in the state’s only 10-day festival that includes multiple disciplines of the arts.
Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Director Debbie Wilson said — as a result of being listed in the top 10 — the festival’s information will be included in the Alabama Tourism Department’s annual vacation guide and calendar of events.
“One of the things that makes this festival so wonderful is that it accommodates most everyone’s schedule in that there’s always something to do, or an event to attend, within those 10 days,” Wilson said. “The state realizes how big it is and that it’s a multi-cultural event that brings many different groups together.”
The Handy Festival has been recognized by other organizations in recent months. The American Bus Association named the festival to its list of the top 100 events in North America.
Nancy Gonce, executive director of the Music Preservation Society, which organizes the Handy Festival, said the honor is a tribute to the event sponsors and coordinators who work throughout the year to make the festival happen.
The festival involves about 200 events.
“This festival doesn’t lose its appeal because each year it’s different,” Gonce said. “Event coordinators work hard to keep things fresh. A lot has to come together to make a festival of this magnitude happen, but through a lot of hard work on the parts of many people, it always does.”
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.