By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
PINSON — One of north Jefferson County's best-attended events begins its eighth annual run tonight.
The Alabama Butterbean Festival opens in downtown Pinson this evening, with the world's largest pot of butterbeans as its centerpiece. Butterbeans were a key crop in the early days of the Palmerdale Homestead settlement, where the festival originated.
This year, the California Lima Bean Growers Association is a top sponsor of the event, and will provide 5,000 bags of dry beans to the first attendees on Saturday. (Butterbeans are a variety of lima beans, which are grown in abundance in the area around Oxnard, Calif., the association's hometown.)
The association is also sponsoring the Friday night fireworks show, which is scheduled for sometime around 9:30 p.m.;the start time is flexible to allow fans to return from Pinson Valley High School's football game tonight at Center Point.
The festival kicks off officially at 6 with opening ceremonies, but there will be plenty going on for an hour or two before that, including an appearance by ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann. There's entertainment appearing on two stages throughout Friday night and Saturday.
Saturday's events begin with a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) road race at 7 a.m.,with registration starting at 6:15. There's also a petting zoo, camel ride and "WaterBall" attraction, plus a classic car show, fine art exhibit and scores of booths.
Admission and parking are free.