1. Frying anything and everything.

The possibilities are endless. From chicken, pickles, okra, ‘taters, (not to be confused with ‘maters, which are also excellent fried and green), and catfish to country fried steak…it all tastes better dipped in grease.

2. College football

You’re either Roll Tide or War Eagle, and come September, the air changes with the impalpable excitement and tension of the college football season. Days are counted down until it starts, pretty much from the end of the last season. Wardrobes revolve around it, children are named after it, teenagers choose their schools over it, and you take your team loyalty with pride to the grave. Saturdays here in the fall revolve around SEC football, so don’t plan anything else (weddings included) and expect people to come.

3. White BBQ sauce

A North Alabama staple perfected by Bib Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur, the locals of the northern half of the state were raised on this sauce and swear by it.

4. Listening to local celebrity, weatherman James Spann.

You’ll often hear “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”, as a reference to the plaguing, sweltering mugginess that is relentless in the summer months. Also, summer pretty much starts in March and ends in late October, depending on the year. It’s also typical to learn to dress in layers when it does begin to cool off, starting the day in a winter sweater and shedding layers by lunchtime, when it somehow feels like mid-July again.

5. Craft beer

From Huntsville to Birmingham to Fairhope, quality craft breweries are popping up all over the state much to the delight of us Alabamians. Huntsville is home to Blue Pants Brewery and Straight to Ale, just to name a couple. The local Salty Nut Brewery recently released the wildly popular “Unimpeachable Pale Ale”, the name and label of which pokes at the Governor Robert Bentley scandal. Good People Brewing company in Birmingham is a favorite of the many solid breweries in the city, with a knockout selection including one of the best Pale Ales and IPA’s you’ll find in the area.

6. Saying “y’all”.

Yes, this stereotype is true. Don’t confuse “y’all” (selective), and “All y’all” (inclusive of everyone). You’ll hear the customary farewell upon the end of your visit to the Heart of Dixie: “Y’all come back now, ya hear?!”

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