Alabama Sports Festival
The Alabama Sports Festival is a weekend-long sports festival with as many as 6,000 athletes competing in 20 events in a format patterned after the Olympic Games. The festival debuted in 1983 and is an affiliate of the National Congress of State Games, sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee, which invites medallists to compete in the annual State Games of America. The group is headquartered in Montgomery. The executive director is Marc Riker and the president and CEO is Bob Boothe.
In addition to the annual competitions, which amount to state championships in the various amateur sports, the Festival sponsors health education and scholarships. It partners with the Alabama Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities to program sporting competitions between public housing communities.
The first competition, held at Auburn, featured four sports and a total of 300 athletes. The event has grown each year and was listed as one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 events for June 2002. In 2006 the festival hosted the first Southeast Sports Festival in Shelby County.
During the opening ceremonies for the 26th annual festival in 2008, Birmingham mayor Larry Langford proposed putting together a task force to prepare the city to make a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. On July 22, 2008, Riker and Jim Smither, president of the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the bureau is providing $50,000 per year to keep the festival in the metro area at least until the 2013 games.
The Alabama Sports Festival features competition in archery/bowhunting, baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cycling, disc golf, diving, figure skating, lacrosse, football, gymnastics, karate, shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, taekwondo, track and field, triathlon, volksmarch and volleyball.
- 1983: Auburn
- 2004: Huntsville
- 2005: Mobile
- 2006: Mobile
- 2007: Birmingham
- 2008: Birmingham
- 2009: Birmingham
- 2010: Birmingham
- 2011: Birmingham
- 2012: Birmingham
- 2013: Birmingham
- Crenshaw, Jr, Solomon (June 20, 2008) "Let the games begin: Alabama Sports Festival with venue map and more." Birmingham News
- Crenshaw, Jr, Solomon (July 22, 2008) "Alabama Sports Festival will stay in Birmingham." Birmingham News
- Alabama Sports Festival website