1. Mardi Gras

New Orleans gets all the credit for Mardi Gras, but the holiday actually started in Mobile, Alabama — fifteen years before New Orleans was founded. Mobile was then the capital of Louisiana. New Orleans became the capital, and the Mardi Gras celebration as we know it today moved along. Mobile’s celebration is still fun, but a little more family friendly.

Mobile is the oldest permanent settlement in the original Colony of French Louisiana and was its first capitol.

2. Our do-it-yourself attitude

We hunt and fish, mend our own clothes, change our own oil, and make our own ice cream with rock salt based on our granny’s recipe. If we can save money by doing it ourselves, that’s what we’ll do. We were peddling handmade soap before it was cool, but we are mighty thankful that the rest of ya’ll are catching on.

3. Our college football teams

We’ve got two of the best college football teams, not only in the SEC, but in the whole dang country. We may bicker or engage in a friendly rivalry, but at the end of the day, the championship is coming home to the state of Alabama, and that’s all that matters!

4. Our craft beer scene

Now that Alabama finally has a craft beer scene, we’re really living it up. We’ve got breweries popping up all over the state, and my oh my, it makes us happy. From South Alabama’s Fairhope Brewing Company to Birmingham’s Good People, to Huntsville’s Straight to Ale, the whole state’s gotcha covered.

5. Our culture

Southern culture is having a moment, and we are proud to say that for once, folks are looking to us for inspiration. “Southern” restaurants are all the rage in NYC, and folk and country music are oh-so-trendy. We’re taking over pop culture — and that sure doesn’t make us mad.

6. Our dedication to space exploration

Alabama is A+ at building identified flying objects. Freedom7? Built by Alabama. Apollo 11? Built by Alabama. We’re also home to the US Space and Rocket Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

7. Our industrial history

We are the only state with all of the natural ingredients for iron and steel production. Visit our largest city, Birmingham, and you’ll see the influence everywhere. Birmingham is nicknamed “Steel City,” and “The Magic City,” because of its outrageous growth between 1880 and 1920. A short visit to Sloss Furnaces or our favorite Vulcan Park, and you’ll see why our industrial history literally put us on the map.

8. Milo’s Sweet Tea

Born and raised in Alabama, Milo’s Sweet Tea has started to improve the rest of the country in recent years via national grocery stores. Walmart claims to sell a gallon every two seconds, and we proud Alabamians all totally understand. We’re addicted too.

9. Our biodiversity.

The great state of Alabama also ranks high on the list for most biodiverse states, making it an excellent destination for wildlife tourism. Alabama is fifth when it comes to biodiversity in the US, and number one when it comes to crayfish, freshwater turtles, freshwater snails, and freshwater mussels. In fact, the 180 freshwater mussels species found in Alabama make up 60% of the nation’s total mussel population. Alabama is also the most biodiverse state when it comes to carnivorous plants.

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