World Games 2022: A Race Guide to Performances, Art Exhibits, Drinks and Restaurants

The World Games kick off in Birmingham on July 7, 2022 for two weeks filled with sports, concerts and events. But the fun is not limited to the venues of the World Games. Concert halls, museums, art venues and restaurants in the Birmingham area are hosting special shows and menus in honor of the games. Over the next three weeks, is keeping a list of things to see, do, drink and eat during the World Games session. Keep checking this list over the next few weeks – we’ll be updating it multiple times.


The opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games

Bootsy Collins performs at The Voodoo Experience on October 26, 2012 in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)Amy Harris/Invision/AP

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the World Games are expected to be the biggest musical evenings of sports competitions. The Opening Ceremony, the official introduction to the World Games and Birmingham, will begin on July 7 at 8:00 p.m. at Protective Stadium. The evening will feature a lineup of star performers including Nelly, Yolanda Adams, Alabama and Reuben Studdard. The closing ceremony, which will take place on July 17, will feature Lionel Richie in his first performance in Alabama in over 20 years, as well as the Blind Boys of Alabama, Pastor Mike, Jr. and Yung Bleu. Parliament-Funkadelic veteran and space-age bassist Bootsy Collins will lead the charge as emcee for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Tickets for both ceremonies are available on Ticketmaster.

[Read more about the lineup of artists coming to Protective Stadium for The World Games]

Shows at the World Games Square
Bio Boi, Lupe Fiasco, Big Head Todd

Bio Boi, Lupe Fiasco and Big Head Todd are among the list of artists to perform on stage at World Games Plaza (Getty Images)

Located on a pavilion at CitywalkBHM, The World Games Plaza will host 14 days of free concerts, entertainment, vendors and food trucks during the World Games. Performances will begin at 3 p.m. each day, with a lineup of hosts, DJs and actors. Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Lupe Fiasco and Big Boi are also set to take to the Plaza Stage.

The full schedule for The Plaza is available at The World Games website.

Sharrif Simmons at East Village Arts

Poet, musician and spoken word artist Sharrif Simmons is due to deliver a poem during the opening ceremonies of the World Games on July 7. The following evening, July 8, East Village Arts will host a concert and poetry night for Simmons. Doors will open at 6:30 a.m. For more information, visit the East Village Arts Facebook page.

Race to Freedom, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Freedom Race

Throughout the World Games, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will host Race to Freedom, an immersive exhibition about the triumphs and challenges of black athletes (courtesy Birmingham Civil Rights Institute)

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), in partnership with the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, NASCAR, Honda, Southern Custom Exhibits, Microsoft and the Southern Center for Broadening Participation in STEM, will host an exhibit in conjunction with the World Games.

“Race to Freedom: African Americans in Sport and the Marathon of Progress” will be an interactive exhibit centered on the challenges and triumphs of black athletes. “Race to Freedom: African Americans in Sports & The Marathon for Progress” opens July 7 and will be on display throughout the World Games.


World Games-themed cocktails at the Terrace Bar inside the Valley Hotel

The sumo wrestler

The Terrace Bar’s Sumo Wrestler cocktail, featuring raspberries, sparkling sake and Vulcan gin from the Redmont Distillery (courtesy The Terrace Bar/The Valley Hotell)

Beginning July 1, The Terrace Bar at The Valley Hotel in Homewood will serve unique cocktails in honor of the World Games. For gin lovers, the bar has created Sumo Wrestler with raspberries, sparkling sake, Vulcan gin and more. For vodka lovers, there’s The Archer, a refreshment made with Redmont vodka, Muscadine cider, lemon juice and orange bitters.

We will continue to add to this list over the next three weeks. Are you an arts venue hosting a show or concert in honor of the World Games? Are you a restaurant or bar that does a special menu? Let us know! Email Shauna Stuart at

William E. Bennett