Every year a small town outside of Auburn called Loachapoka has Syrup Sopping, a festival centered around sugar cane syrup. The event usually sees 20,000 annual visitors every year. If you get there early enough you can enjoy some fresh syrup on a hot biscuit graciously provided by Hardees.
Syrup Sopping is part historical celebration, part craft fair, but all east Alabama. The moment you step foot in Loachapoka during Syrup Sopping you realize that you are smack in the middle of Alabama. The people, the sweet sounds of a bluegrass band, the smell of boiled peanuts in the air all remind you that you have stepped foot out of the semi less “Alabama” area of Auburn and jumped both feet into the heart of dixie. And I am not saying this is a bad thing at all, in fact it is more comforting to me than being in the middle of downtown Atlanta.
There are many “country” crafts available to buy at Syrup Sopping. Typical craft fair paraphernalia like pottery, crafty paintings, random art, etc. A lot of the work is very well done and unique. You also have the people selling things you would find at your typical county fair. Bulk purchased items like sunglasses, fake Coach purses, model cars, and the like. This mix makes for an interesting journey as you travel through the tents of anxious vendors.
All in all I can see why Syrup Sopping has been such a big success for many years. I enjoyed my Saturday morning wandering the streets of Loachapoka and plan on going back next year. We even came home with a couple treasures of our own this year. We have more syrup than you can shake a stick at. And in the spirit of Syrup Sopping and being a newly returned resident of Alabama I bought a new belt with my named stamped in the back, in case you are mistaken whose belt it is.