Small Talk: Berman Museum gears up for annual Autumn Suds-Fest
by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star
Sep 09, 2012 | 1669 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
September is upon us, bringing with it the promise of cooler nights and falling leaves. After a long, hot summer, most Alabamians look forward to the return of autumn, and all the wonderful things it brings, like football season, children returning to school, and, perhaps most of all, the return of Berman Museum’s annual Autumn Suds-Fest! One of the most anticipated events in Calhoun County, Autumn Suds-Fest is a beer-tasting, food-sampling, live music, fun-and-friends event that has been drawing crowds to Anniston for close to a decade. Returning to Berman Museum of World History for its eighth amazing year, the Fest is set to take place this year on Saturday, Sept. 22.

The Autumn Suds-Fest transforms the usually sedate and urbane Berman Museum into a lighthearted atmosphere of fun and festivity. Tents, tables (topped by handmade artwork), and softly glowing Chinese lanterns fill the museum’s front lawn and parking lot, making a welcoming space for the outdoor portion of the event, including the band and the ever-important beer bars. Inside the museum, the smells of delectable dishes perfume the air as participating restaurants set up their serving stations in the lobby and auditorium.

The hundreds of attendees who take part in the Fest every year are treated to an evening event like no other, thanks in large part to the incredible generosity of fabulous beer and food donors. Chief among these are our returning beer vendors, including Barry Clough of Supreme Beverage Company, Chuck Bussey of Bama Budweiser of Anniston, and Don Hill of Alabama Crown Distributing Co., who will be bringing a variety of beers to sample. There are always surprises to be found at the bars, with flavors, aromas and ingredients that may be unexpected, yet enticing. Representatives from each distributor will be on-site to answer questions on their wares, so be sure to seek them out if there’s something you’d like to know. Berman Museum truly appreciates the goodwill and loyalty of these distributors. Without their donation of beers for the event, the Suds-Fest would not be possible!

In addition to the support of these great companies, many other local businesses and restaurants help make the event the huge success it has become. This year’s Fest will benefit from the participation of: Jason Wilson and Zach Folmar of Back Forty Beer Co. of Gadsden, Randall Wilson and Dana Davis of White Oak Vineyard, David Wright of Wright’s Dairy, Marc Spaulding of Heroes American Grille, David and Cathy Mashburn of Classic on Noble, Gregg and Mary-Ann Stay of Smoke-N-Hot BBQ, Stephen Landers of Effina’s Tuscan Grill, Dave Garfrerick of Garfrerick’s Café, Ryan Fritts of Struts of Jacksonville and Oxford, Terry Phillis of Mellow Mushroom, Sandy Knight and Dev Wakeley of Wake and Bake Pizza & Coffee Co., Jill Waters of Jillybean’s Cupcakes & Ice Cream, Kristy Farmer of The Peerless Saloon and Grille, and Kimberly Hill of Covalli’s Italian Kitchen. Taste a bit of the most popular menu items these restaurants have to offer, enjoy handmade cheeses, locally made wine, and even sample some new, locally brewed beer!

Also “on tap” is the annual dollar raffle. It’s a fun addition to the evening, with neat prizes to be won. Plus, returning for its second year, the Tabletop Art Exhibit features whimsical and creative decorations atop each of the Suds-Fest dining tables. Not just for looks, these artworks will also benefit the Museum as they will be sold right off the tables during the event! Of course, no Fest would be complete without the sounds of great live music, and this year the Shiny Objects, otherwise known as Tracey Tucker, Alan Renfroe and Mike Broussard, will rock the stage performing a selection of classic hits and original tunes. Brock and Paula Watkins make the evening’s music possible, as 2012’s generous band sponsors. Other event sponsors are Ginger Harvey and staff of Westinghouse-Anniston, Lesa and David Cummings, Nathan and Carol Hill, Greg and Cheryl Potts of GFP Consulting, Ed and Lynne Isom and Greg Kernion of New Leaf Marketing, who also donated the red solo logo cups for the beer sampling! Another great donor, Waldron Automation, is providing golf carts to shuttle attendees to and from their cars before and after the Fest. In addition, great museum volunteers supporting the event with their services are: Lynne Isom, Louise Lokey, Joel and Nancy Denny, Neal and Sarah Ballard, Lee Ann O’Neal of Regions Bank, Rod Nowlin of Alabama Power, Linda Mann, Sarah Starling, and Susan and Craig Waldron.

It’s a party you don’t want to miss, and a fun way to help out Berman Museum. Proceeds from the dollar raffle and art sale go directly toward upgrades to Berman Museum Exhibit Hall components and signage, as do profits from Suds-Fest ticket sales.

Tickets are available now at the museum, by phone at 256-237-6261, or via email, at All-access tickets are only $35 for general public or $30 for museum members. Or, get a group of 10 friends together and get your tickets at only $25 per person! Not a beer drinker? Purchase a designated driver ticket for only $20 and enjoy all the Fest has to offer, (except the beer and wine bars, of course!). You must be 21 to attend and you’ll have to bring a photo ID to check in at the Fest, regardless of age or ticket type. (Sorry, it’s the law!) No tickets at the door, so call or email today to be sure you get a spot at Berman Museum’s eighth annual Autumn Suds-Fest!

To share your news with Small Talk, contact Annette Maddox at

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Drive it like you mean it at the annual Austin Joplin Memorial Golf Tournament, Oct. 13 at Cane Creek Golf Course. Proceeds fund scholarships and grants, and purchase supplies and equipment for students and teachers in the Weaver school system. Register at the pro shop at Cane Creek by Oct. 11.
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Small Talk: Berman Museum gears up for annual Autumn Suds-Fest by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star

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