SugarFest 2023 brings Labor Day fun to Arab

Two attendees stroll through the vendor area, donning signature Arab Knights blue on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at the city’s annual SugarFest. (Cayla Grace Murphy)

ARAB, Ala. – Hundreds of residents poured into Arab City Park on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, to celebrate Arab’s annual SugarFest. SugarFest, a celebration of all the things that make life sweeter in the South, brought a combined 162 vendors, dozens of food trucks and several carnival experiences to delight the senses of young, old and all those in between.

The one-day festival has steadily grown in size and attendance, with this year being the biggest yet. Weathering the balmy late afternoon temperatures with a slew of volunteers, City of Arab Planning Services Assistant Kim Johnson was on the scene to give her perspective on the growth the festival has seen over the years.

“I have probably 10 vendors who sold out an hour ago, and several who have told me they’re ABOUT to sell out!” she exclaimed, fanning herself with a SugarFest-branded, revival-style fan.

With a sprawling venue hosting tons of activities and vendors, there was enjoyment from every angle, but the venue did present some logistical challenges for the SugarFest team, according to Johnson, the “chaos coordinator” of the craft area boasting over 100 unique vendors.

“It’s a 140-acre park; it’s beautiful, but it’s challenging logistically. All the levels, getting people in and parking… I mean, it just goes and goes!” she laughed.

Johnson shared that while the festival was born out of a one-man fireworks show, it has grown to be a celebration of culture and community that you can’t find anywhere else other than Arab, but it still maintains its down-to-earth roots of old-fashioned fun.

“It’s just something fun for the community, just something for people to enjoy,” she smiled.

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