Darter Fest: Alabama’s first waste-free festival happening on May 7

Darter Fest
Darter Fest (Southern Environmental Center)

The tenth annual Darter Festival at Avondale Brewery celebrates the conservation of the darters that reside in the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve will be the first waste-free festival ever organized in Alabama. The organizer, the Southern Environmental Center has teamed up with NewTerra Compost and World Centric, in making this event completely waste-free for the first time ever. Keep reading for more details on the event.

The Darter fish

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Photo of a Watercress darter. Via USFWS.

Did you know that three of the rarest fishes on planet Earth reside here in Birmingham and Jefferson County? The Vermilion, Watercress and Rush Darter Fishes can be found nowhere else in the world but in Alabama. Beautiful and tiny, they are sensitive to pollution–and some may be found only in a single stream or body of water. The Darter Festival is dedicated to raising funds to protect and preserve the darters and their habitat.

Why a waste-free event?

compost bins
Compost bins provided by NewTerra Composting (Southern Environmental Center Facebook)

Roald Hazelhoff is the Executive Director at Southern Environmental Center and the event organizer of the Darter Fest. According the Hazelhoff, fundraisers like the Darter Fest can be a great success to support the mission. However, most people don’t realize how much waste can be generated from just one event alone. Hazelhoff and his team at the Southern Environmental Center teamed up with companies like NewTerra Composting and World Centric to make this the first festival in Alabama to be completely waste free.

NewTerra Composting is a company based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee that provides better solutions to disposing of food residuals and compostables.

“Food waste is such a huge problem in our country and we are on a mission to reduce food waste through composting to expand the lifespan of landfills rather than creating more. We are excited for this partnership with Southern Environmental Center to make this year’s Darter Fest completely waste-free.” – Michael Ryan, Co-founder of NewTerra Composting

Ryan and his team at NewTerra will have several composting bins set up around the event ensuring that 100% of the waste can be composted into soil. In addition to composting stations, World Centric is providing sustainable products such as food containers, cutlery and cups that are all compostable for this year’s event.

What to expect

23 • • POSTER darter 2 Darter Fest: Alabama's first waste-free festival happening on May 7
(Darter Fest)

Trust us when we say that you do not want to miss out on this fun-filled event this weekend at Avondale Brewery. Here’s what to expect:

When: Sunday, May 7 from 12PM – 5PM

Where: Avondale Brewing Company | 201 41st St S Birmingham, AL 35222


  • Advanced: $10 for GA | $50 for VIP (includes food and drinks from Luna and prime indoor seating)
  • At the door: $20 for GA | $60 for VIP

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“The 10th annual Darter Fest celebrates the darter, a unique fish that are only found right here in Jefferson County and no where else in the world. These fish can only survive in clean water much like good beer needs to be brewed in clean water. So the partnership between us and the breweries helping us with this event are a perfect match.” – Roald Hazelhoff of Southern Environmental Center Executive Director, event organizer

Will you be going to Darter Fest at Avondale this weekend? Be sure to tag us at @Bhamnow and let us know!

Julia-Rae Hanson
Julia-Rae Hanson
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