Montgomery has a huge plethora of festivals each year. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee are held each February. The Bridge Crossing, held in Selma, about an hour away from Montgomery, celebrates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with a street festival, live music, mock trial, vendors, awards ceremony, and more. The SLE Rodeo happens every March in Montgomery, with horse shows, pageants, contests, vendors, and games. The Montgomery Zoo’s Zoo Weekend happens in March, too, where the zoo turns into a festival with games, rides, special animal showings and exhibits, and entertainment. The Alabama National Fair, each October, is famous for its wide-range of live music artists, various competitions like rodeo, photography, art, and livestock, as well as a frontier show, magic show, circus, pig races, demonstrations, and more. Other festivals and events include the Alabama Book Festival, Flimp Art Festival at the MFA, the Alabama All-Star Food Festival, Festival of Alabama Fiber Arts, Annual Christmas Light Festival, ClefWorks Chamber Music Festival, and visits from the Professional Bull Riders. Montgomery’s economy is doing well. Nearly 12,500 people are employed by the Air Force Base, 9,500 by the State of Alabama, 4,500 by the public schools, 4,300 by Baptist Health, 2,700 by Hyundai, 2,500 by Alfa Insurance 2,500 by the City of Montgomery, and the list goes on. Many people commute to Montgomery to work, and during the day, the population rises nearly 20%. In December 2012, the unemployment rate in Montgomery was 7.1%. Both the cost of living and salaries are low here. Nearly 60% of households make less than 50k a year, and 87% make less than 100k a year.
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