5 unique Birmingham characters you should know, including Bigfoot

Bigfoot doing yoga inside - unique Birmingham characters
Bigfoot, Birmingham, yoga, oh my. Photo via Bigfoot Church

What do Bigfoot, Batman and candy have in common? They’re all unique Birmingham characters who add even more magic to the Magic City. Keep reading to learn more about five fun local characters.

Finding fun local characters

I’m always on the lookout for fun facts about Birmingham. A recent post in the Facebook group “I Believe in Birmingham” introduced me to even more fun Birminghamians—some I didn’t know about before.

In the original post, a user asked about the interesting people in Birmingham who are features of the town. There are over 350 comments on the post, so clearly we have a lot of fun Birminghamians. Here are 5 of my favorites and their backgrounds.

1. Donnie Goodin, aka The Candy Man

Man in wheelchair selling candy
People have great memories of buying sweets from Donnie. Photo via Donnie Goodin’s Facebook

Donnie Goodin’s name came up multiple times when people remembered their favorite Birminghamians, but he’s most frequently called “The Candy Man”. He is well known throughout the city for selling candy and greeting everyone with a smile.

Donnie has been selling candy for 40+ years in different Magic City locations, from the Western Market on Highland Avenue to The Fish Market near UAB. You can support him and the next time you eat a sweet treat, think of him.

2. Austin Perine, aka “President Austin”

Young boy wearing a T-shirt that says "Show Love"
President Austin reminds everyone he meets to show love. Photo via Austin Perine’s Facebook

You might have seen this young caped crusader handing out sandwiches throughout Birmingham or on your TV screens. “President Austin” is a young Birmingham superhero with a simple message: “Don’t forget to show love!”

Bham Now featured Austin’s story in 2018, but he has only continued his mission of helping everyone he meets. President Austin is the best reminder that true superheroes support others whenever they can.

3. Bigfoot is one of the unique Birmingham characters we love

Person in Bigfoot costume doing yoga
Looking for inspiration to get moving? Just follow Bigfoot’s lead. Photo via Bigfoot Church

Ever seen “Sasquatch” doing yoga in Railroad Park? Then you’ve witnessed Birmingham’s very own Bigfoot. I reached out to Bigfoot and asked about their story after seeing photos of them for so long. No surprise, the costumed yogi was inspiring.

“We started in June 2020 and have searched for opportunities to engage with our community in meaningful and memorable ways. Generally speaking, Bigfoot Church is about empathy and ecology—the way we treat each other and the way we treat the other.

Yoga in the park was an outgrowth of that. It’s an excuse to be present, genuinely connect, and have a good time in a way that’s safe during a pandemic.”

Bigfoot Church

4. Mark Lindsey, aka Onewheel Jesus

Mural of a man in hospital gown on onewheel skateboard
“Don’t ever stop!” mural by Paul Cordes Wilm between Morris Avenue and 23rd Street. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

You’ve probably seen this mural, but did you know the story behind it? The mural is a memorial to Mark Lindsey who rose to national attention when someone recorded a video of him wearing a hospital gown and riding a one-wheel motorized skateboard.

Mark passed away in 2019, but you can see the mural in downtown Birmingham and take a moment to honor his legacy.

5. Willie Perry, aka Birmingham Batman, was a unique Birmingham character who inspired others

Black and white photo of man standing in front of "Rescue Ship" car
Willie Perry and his Batmobile. Photo via BhamWiki

Did you know Birmingham had its own Batman? Willie Perry was famous for driving around Birmingham and helping people with broken down cars in his “Batmobile Rescue Ship.” Perry was a true example of the best of Birmingham. He carried gas, jumper cables and tools to help people, and he gave free rides to anyone who needed one. What a testament to the spirit of the Steel City.

Which Birminghamian do you think everyone should know? Let us know by tagging @BhamNow on social.

Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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