TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – The 44th Annual Helen Keller Festival officially kicked off on Thursday, June 23, with a festival throughout downtown Tuscumbia.

The festival experienced a low turnout in 2021 due to COVID-19, but festival representative Eli Harper told News 19 that they’re very hopeful about turnout this year.

“The economic impact that it has is huge,” Harper said. “Every hotel in this area is completely booked.”

The event typically sees nearly 20,000 people over the weekend that come to celebrate Helen Keller and her accomplishments. Co-chair of the festival Jamie Smith says they’re hopeful for a big bounce-back despite the extreme heat.

Smith stated that they were concerned about the heat, but that they will be providing plenty of opportunities for refreshments.

“We know that weather is going to be a huge factor,” Smith said.

The festival will have several concerts over the weekend, headlined by Jefferson Starship. There will also be a car show, arts and crafts, and more.

To learn more you can go to the festival’s website here.