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Bluesman Earl ‘Guitar’ Williams will headline Black Belt Birding Festival expo Friday night

Blues musician Earl ‘Guitar’ Williams will be the headlining performer for Friday night’s Black Belt Birding Festival Expo, to be held at Lions’ Park in Greensboro from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Photo by Roger Stephenson.

The second annual Black Belt Birding Festival will be held this weekend in Greensboro. Highlighting the birds, history, and culture of Alabama’s Black Belt region, the Black Belt Birding Festival is a popular offering from the storied conservation nonprofit’s Black Belt Birding Initiative, a program aimed at bringing the economic benefits of ecotourism to this stretch of rural Alabama.

Blues musician Earl “Guitar” Williams will headline the event’s vendor expo on Friday evening at Lions’ Park from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The expo will also feature tables from regional nonprofits, conservancy groups, and artists who will be sharing information on the important work they are doing in the region. The Southfresh Fish Truck and Snoville Shaved Ice will be on hand with food and other refreshments for sale.

The first Black Belt Birding Festival, hosted on August 7, 2021, gathered over 170 registrants in historic Greensboro, Alabama, and surrounding areas. In addition to taking in the town’s diverse bird population and culture, attendees came out in droves to support local businesses of all kinds in downtown Greensboro and surrounding cities. An already economically struggling region, many local business owners throughout the Black Belt were forced to make difficult adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have family businesses that survived 2020 and want to continue surviving,” said Mo Kitchen, Cofounder of The Stable. “Having this special event helped our community in so many ways.”

This year’s festival will feature many of the popular offerings from last year, including a continued ecotourism partnership with Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours, LLC, field trips to experience the diverse birds and environs of the Black Belt, and opportunities to learn about the rich culture and history of this region. New additions for this year include a free kickoff event at Lions Park featuring a vendor expo with local businesses, artists, and food trucks, on Friday, July 29; Alabama Audubon will also be introducing an “a la carte” pricing system to the festivities on Saturday, July 30, allowing attendees to choose their own birding adventure for the weekend. Details and tickets can be found at alaudubon.org/blackbeltfestival.

Founded in 1946 as the Birmingham Audubon Society, Alabama Audubon has since grown to become the state’s leading nonprofit promoting conservation and a greater knowledge of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. Alabama Audubon’s Black Belt Birding Initiative works to bring the economic and environmental benefits of bird-based ecotourism to one of the country’s most economically challenged rural areas.