ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT NEWSLETTER JULY 9, 2013

Final days to join 153 restaurants participating in Alabama Restaurant Week
• Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
• July 15 deadline for nominations in National Geographic Map Project
• Senator Orr will unveil historic marker to Olympic medalist on Friday
• ASU gets $800K grant for voting rights interpretive center
• Mega-mollusk mania: The Oyster Trail is coming to town
• Belle Chevre takes the cake, wins top honors in awards competition
• The ultimate American fried chicken roadmap for 2013
• Rebuilding history, one log at a time
• Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
• Mobile sign in UK’s The Guardian’s list of Top 10 iconic US road signs
• Travel Channel’s “Monumental Mysteries” series to feature The Face in the Courthouse Window Thursday night
• The GulfCoastNewsToday.com interviews, “Little Zoo that Could” director Patti Hall
• Monte Sano State Park’s new office/store is open
• Vote for Landmark Park in Dothan
• Houston Welcome Center featured in Dothan City Guide
• Webinars offered
• Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is Aug. 17-20 in Huntsville
• Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
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Final days to join 153 restaurants participating in Alabama Restaurant Week

Just a few days left until the July 15 deadline for restaurants to enter and complete their meal offering for Alabama Restaurant Week. With less than one week till the Monday deadline, the number of restaurants already signed up has increase to 124 across the state plus an additional 29 in Birmingham for a grand total of 153.

As part of The Year of Alabama Food, the restaurant week promotion runs August 16-25 and is free for Alabama Restaurants. A small marketing fee is charged for the Birmingham Restaurant Week.
To see which restaurants have signed up so far, go to www.alabamarestaurantweek.com. Restaurants go to this same website to sign up and enter their meal offerings and to see participation rules.

Participating restaurants are listed on this website with exact meal offerings once they are known. The Alabama Restaurant Week pricing is fixed at $10, $20 and $30 for dinner and $5, $10 and $15 for lunch. In all cases, the price is per person and does not include tax, tip and drink. Restaurants may offer a meal at all or just one of the preset prices. A restaurant’s regular menu will also be available. Alabama’s Martie Duncan, a finalist on the hit show “Food Network Star,” will be using her popularity again in 2013 to promote Alabama Restaurant Week. Duncan will visit several of the participating restaurants for a social media ‘meet and greet’ with the public.

For more information, contact Grey Brennan 334-242-4459, grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov.
For information on Birmingham Restaurant Week, contact James Little, 205-595-0562, jlitte@revbirmingham.org

Deadline for 2014 Vacation Guide & Calendar listings is Aug. 1
We look forward to featuring your organization, accommodation, attraction or resource center in the 2014 Sweet Home Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events. To confirm, update or add a listing:
• Log on to the new website, http://partners.alabama.travel, and either confirm, change or add your listing right then and there.
• The new online listings process, which is more efficient, will save you and the state a great deal of time and money.
• You can review or download the “quick start” guide which walks you through a few easy steps for updating or confirming your existing listing at this site: http://partners.alabama.travel/files/Alabama_Partner_Portal_Quick-Start-Guide.pdf.
• Please take a look at the quick start guide and visit the website to update your listing by Aug. 1.
Updating your listing will take only a few minutes. We hope you appreciate this easy and efficient process.
For any questions, e-mail pam.smith@tourism.alabama.gov or call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

July 15 deadline for nominations in National Geographic Map Project

With only days left until the July 15 deadline for submissions in a National Geographic Map Project, the number of Alabama submissions posted is nearing the 100 mark.

The first part of the U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism website and mapguide project was kicked off the end of May with a nomination process until July 15. So far there has been widespread support from the Alabama tourism industry with eighty-four points of interest in Alabama submitted and posted as nominated sites or events. Even more may have been submitted, just not posted as of yet.

Residents, community organizations, tourism stakeholders and/or local businesses are asked to self nominate their sites for potential inclusion in the interactive Geotourism-themed program being conducted as part of the National Geographic Brand.

The Alabama sites nominated and posted as of July 8 are:

Accommodations
Columbiana Inn Bed & Breakfast, Gulf State Park, Gulf State Park Lakeside Cabins and Cottages

Community
Abbeville, First in the nation alphabetically, Battle-Friedman House and Gardens, Belle Mont Mansion, Downtown Fairhope, Fendall Hall, Five Points South, Hank Williams Trail, Historic Downtown Montgomery, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, LaGrange College Site Park and Pioneer Village
Old Alabama Town, Old Decatur and Albany Historic Districts, Olde Town Daphne, Quilters of Gees Bend, Shape Note Singing in Henagar, Spanish Fort, Studios of Muscle Shoals, Timeless Splendor of the South (Bullock County)

Festival or Event
Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival, Annual Jubilee Festival, Daphne Annual Arts and Crafts Festival,
Demopolis Christmas on the River, Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Mobile Mardi Gras, W.C. Handy Music Festival

Food or Drink
Tuscaloosa River Market

Historic Place
Alabama Governor’s Mansion, Chattahoochee Trace, Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center, Confederate Memorial Park, Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Gaineswood National Historic Landmark, Hart House,
Magnolia Grove Historic Site, Moundville Archaeological Park, Pickens County AL Courthouse, Wilson Dam

Local Points of Interest
Boil Weevil Statue, Carlisle Drug Soda Fountain, Fromagerie Belle Chevre, The Markers Market Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa River Market

Museum
Alabama Museum of Natural History, Berman Museum of World History, Cleburne County Mountain Center, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Fort Mitchell Historic Site, Gorgas House Museum, Guntersville Museum, Hank Aaron Children Home and Museum, Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, History Museum of Mobile, Jacksonville State Planetarium, Little River Canyon Center, Mildred Westervelv Warner Transportation Museum, Paul W Bryant Museum, Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, W.C.Handy Home

Natural Area
Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Burrnt Corn Creek Park, Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Dauphin Island Public Beach, Frog Pond USA, Gulf State Park, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, Tigers for Tomorrow

Outdoor
Alabama Inshore Artificial Reef, Alabama Offshore Artificial Reef Zone, Captain Jack Charters, Cherokee Rock Village, Coleman Lake, Talladega National Forrest, Shoal Creek, Conecuh National Forest, Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Toulouse – Fort Jackson Historic Park, Gees Bend on the Alabama River, Mount Cheaha State Park, Swift Creek US Army Corps of Engineers, Tombigbee River, Scenic Fossil Hunting, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Package Experiences
Holy Ground Battlefield Park

Nominations are being accepted through July 15. Alabama attractions that are unique, such as local restaurants, wildlife and scenic trails, bed and breakfasts, historic attractions, fishing destinations, museums, artist galleries as well as events are encouraged to self nominate. To nominate your site, go to www.usgulfcoaststatesgeotourism.com

For more information on Alabama nominations, contact Grey Brennan of the Alabama Tourism Department: Grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov or 334-242-4459

Senator Orr will unveil historic marker to Olympic medalist on Friday

Sen. Arthur Orr will unveil a historic marker for Olympic medalist David Donald Albritton on Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m. in Danville. State Tourism Director Lee Sentell, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest will attend the ceremony.

Dave Albritton (1913-1994) was a Danville native who tied Cornelius Johnson for the World High Jump Record during the 1936 Olympic Trials in New York City. They were the first African-Americans to set the world mark. Albritton won a silver medal at the XI Olympics in Berlin becoming the first Alabama native to win an Olympic track & field medal. He competed in the Olympics with his lifelong friend and Oakville native Jesse Owens.

Albritton graduated from Ohio State University after the Olympic Games and became a coach leading three teams to the Ohio State High School Championships. In 1960, he was elected as a Republican to the Ohio House of Representatives and became the first African-American to chair an Ohio House committee. He completed six terms in the Ohio General Assembly. Albritton was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980.

Morgan County resident and historical writer Tom Roberts encouraged the Alabama Tourism Department to recognize Albritton with the historic marker. Roberts wrote the nationally syndicated column “American Chronicle” for the Chicago Tribune for more than seven years. The marker will be on a site 8.5 miles west of downtown Hartselle on AL Hwy. 36 next to Orr Cemetery and near the Danville Post Office.

ASU gets $800K grant for voting rights interpretive center
by Scott Johnson, The Montgomery Advertiser, July 1
Montgomery’s interpretive center for a trail commemorating the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights march has taken another step forward thanks to a new grant.
The state has awarded $800,000 to Alabama State University’s National Center for the Study of Civil Rights & African American Culture to help it build the interpretive center.

The Alabama Department of Conservation already had awarded $1.2 million for the construction of the center, which will be on ASU’s campus near the new football stadium.

The latest grant moves the project to two-thirds of the funding goal for the interpretive center’s first phase, which will be the portion dedicated to voting rights.

The total cost of the center is expected to be between $15 and $20 million, but the portion dedicated to voting rights is expected to cost about $3 million, said Danielle Kennedy, ASU vice president for university relations.

The voting rights portion will be the first phase of the interpretive center, and ASU officials said they hope to have it open in time for the 50th anniversary of the march, which will be in March 2015.

Securing the full $3 million in funding will be a crucial step, said Howard Robinson, university archivist.

“There has already been some design talk with an architectural firm,” and full funding should move those talks forward, Robinson said.

ASU is carrying out the project along with the National Park Service, which named the university as the site of the interpretive center two years ago.

The Montgomery site will be the third and final interpretive center on the Selma to Montgomery trail. There already are centers in Selma and White Hall.

The interpretive center will have resonance far beyond just the university or the city, said Rolundus Rice, special assistant to the dean at the national center.

“It is so important because it speaks to those core concepts the republic was founded upon,” Rice said.
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20130702/NEWS01/307010017/ASU-gets-800K-grant-voting-rights-interpretive-center

Mega-mollusk mania: The Oyster Trail is coming to town
by Tamara Ikenberg, al.com, July 3
Mobilians, prepare to meet your mollusks. At 5 p.m. on Thurs., July 11, six giant, professionally painted fiberglass oysters will become downtown Mobile denizens.

Their unveiling will mark the debut of The Oyster Trail, an interactive public art and conservation project of the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program.

“We’re really excited. It’s been a long time coming,” said Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program coordinator P.J. Waters. “I hope everybody can come out and take a look at them and learn something about oysters.”

Our new neighbors will live in parks, hotel lobbies, on sidewalks and other locales where one would be surprised to run into a nearly five-foot tall bivalve.

Well, I guess one would be surprised to see a five-foot bivalve pretty much anywhere.
Oyster Trail followers will be provided with a map, and will have the opportunity to embark on an oyster treasure hunt.

“The treasure hunt is a fun way to be educated and enjoy public art,” said Oyster Trail volunteer Marie Dyson.

Dyson, who was instrumental in recruiting artists and securing funding, added that the Trail is also likely to increase Gulf Coast tourism.

Later in the year, six more oyster sculptures will be added to the Trail, which is meant to raise awareness about the importance of oysters in the ecosystem and economy, and support the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program, which has been working to replenish Mobile Bay’s oyster reefs for more than a decade.

In 2010, Waters was inspired to launch the Trail after seeing a presentation about The Clam Trail, a similar restoration and public art project benefiting New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay.

Mobilians can expect to meet more delightfully decorated mollusk friends in the future.
“Our plans are to expand the trail around the bay over time,” Waters said. “Ultimately, we’d like to have a trail of these public art education installations that encompasses the bay.”

For more information on the project, visit: www.oystergardening.org and www.theoystertrail.com.
To read the entire article, go to: http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/07/mega-mollusk_mania_the_oyster.html#incart_river

Belle Chevre takes the cake, wins top honors in awards competition
by Amethyst Holmes, al.com, July 3
Belle Chevre won two top honors Monday at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.
The Specialty Food Association awarded the Elkmont creamery with two sofi™ Gold awards for its Goat Cheese Cheesecake and its Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese. The two products won in the Baked Good, Baking Ingredient, or Cereal category and the Diet & Lifestyle category.
See award winners and finalists from each category.

“A sofi™ Gold is the highest honor in the fine food industry,” owner Tasia Malakasis said in a press release. “The fact that a small goat cheese creamery like ours has been recognized as one of the best in the nation is something I am very proud to say.”

The creamery’s cheesecake was also named Best Dairy Dessert during the 2013 Dairy Innovation Awards announced at a gala dinner during the 7th Global Dairy Congress in Lucerne, Switzerland June 19.
B

elle Chevre is located at 18849 Upper Fort Hampton Road in Elkmont. For more information, visit bellechevre.com.
To see the article, go to: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/07/belle_chevre_takes_the_cake_wi.html

The ultimate American fried chicken roadmap for 2013
The Daily Meal, July 08
We know, you think your mom makes the best fried chicken out there. Nostalgia and hometown bias aside, though, many of us are also very opinionated about our favorite fried chicken joints outside of our own childhood kitchens.

Fried chicken is a quintessential American dish, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, barbecue, peanut butter, and casseroles. It’s cheap, relatively easy to prepare (although some obviously do it better than others), and is a great equalizer: no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re expected to eat it with your hands.

Fried chicken may have a particularly strong association with the Southeast, but its roots belong to many immigrant populations who settled in all corners of the country. People from West African, European, and Asian ethnicities can all take some credit for both introducing and continuing the fried chicken tradition stateside.

Last year, we brought you an extensive roadmap of the country’s best places for fried chicken. So how did we come up for additions to this year’s roadmap? We considered reader feedback while also consulting our staff and several national experts. Along with some necessary Midwest mentions (such as a couple of infamous dueling restaurants in Pittsburg, Kan.), we’ve included a unique venue that feeds its scraps to local raccoons, as well as a North Carolina church kitchen turned popular local restaurant.

Flour, water, salt, chicken, and lard are just the beginning when it comes to fried chicken. These basic ingredients lay the foundation for customization — whether it’s a vinegar-based marinade, cayenne, or even maple-honey butter. The possibilities are (actually) endless. Everyone’s got their favorite, so if your preferred establishment didn’t make this year’s cut, let us know by leaving a comment.

We’ve listed the best of the best here, so be sure to consult our slideshow for the next time that you stray from your mom’s recipe.

#5. Café Dupont, Birmingham
Café Dupont offers a “fresh perspective on regional ingredients,” using organic foods and fresh produce to create a menu bursting with traditional flavors and contemporary flair. Owner and chef Chris Dupont, a New Orleans native, is the mastermind behind Café Dupont’s eclectic menu and has developed strong relationships with local farmers to help fuel his dishes. In 2005, Café Dupont’s fried chicken was ranked number 13 on the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel’s list of 100 Dishes You Must Eat in Alabama. This might come as no surprise, however, because this is not your average fried chicken. Dupont serves buttermilk-fried chicken with a lemon basil sauce, served atop warm creamed potatoes. Sounds like award-winning fried chicken to us.
For the entire article, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/07/08/ultimate-american-fried-chicken-roadmap-for-2013/?intcmp=features

Rebuilding history, one log at a time
by William Moore, The Baldwin Times, July 5
By the end of this month, there will be a historically accurate blockhouse guarding one corner of Fort Mims.

While not the structure that was started this spring, officials are thrilled to see the dovetail jointed beams being set in place this week.

“One of the guys helping us get it here said this was the best built and most historically accurate blockhouse he had ever seen,” said Fort Mims director Claudia Campbell.

A small crew began the tedious process of reassembling the blockhouse one timber at a time Tuesday morning. Butch Fuller, who is heading the reconstruction, estimated it will take about five days to set and spike the massive timbers on the two-story structure. Putting on the roof and finishing the inside will take another week. Even with dirtwork and laying sod around the base, the blockhouse will be finished in plenty of time for the 200th anniversary of the Fort Mims massacre on Aug. 30.

“We are thrilled to see it going up,” said Campbell. “This has been in the works for quite some time. The size changed our enthusiasm didn’t.”

The Fort Mims Restoration Association has been working for years to rebuild the blockhouse that offered security and a high vantage point for the early settlers. Officials were working on a blockhouse using round logs and saddle notches when they were informed it was not historically accurate. They needed squared timbers with half-dovetail joints.

Changing direction
The association went back to Square One. An architect worked for about 8 months on a suitable design when Campbell got a call offering them a blockhouse in rural Georgia. All they had to do is dismantle it, truck it to Alabama and reassemble it.

In December 2011, a Daughters of the American Revolution chapter offered the association a replica blockhouse built near Omaha, GA. Since Fort Mims was actively working on their own blockhouse, they turned down the offer. When opportunity knocked a second time, officials jumped on the chance.

The replica of Fort McCreary’s blockhouse is historically accurate for Fort Mims. In addition, Fort McCreary played a role in the Creek Wars, as did the Baldwin County site.

Fuller said the blockhouse was well constructed. The timbers were all spiked together, making the dismantling process take longer. The roughly 23-foot tall structure should be completed in about two weeks.

The cost of bringing the blockhouse to Tensaw and rebuilding it was funded by sponsorships and a grant from the Poarch Indians, Campbell said.

To read the entire article, go to: http://www.gulfcoastnewstoday.com/the_baldwin_times/article_deb8d480-e599-11e2-a366-0019bb2963f4.html#.UdgoSXGdSwI.email

Sign-up for International Showcase in Nashville
Registration is currently underway for the International Showcase held in Nashville, Dec. 3-6, 2013. This will be the second international show presented by Travel South. Last year the response from both overseas tour companies and Alabama suppliers was great.

Nashville will be an exciting city for the International tour operators, so I think the level and number of companies attending will be even better. In anticipation, this year the showcase will have two full days of appointments instead of just a day and a half. This will allow you to have even more appointments. More than 75 international tour operators from more than a dozen countries around the globe are expected to attend.

Thanks to the large number of Alabama suppliers that signed up last year, Alabama projected a solid image of an area of the south where tourist should and do come to spend their money and have a good time.

Thank you to those that came last year. You know how great the show was. If you didn’t sign up last year, join us this year.

Sign up now. The early bird special pricing that starts as low as $995 for a single seat at a three-seat appointment table ends Aug. 31. For the best appointment results, come with two others from your area and have a unified tourism message. Starting Sept. 1, the price of appointment taking admission will be higher.

To sign up, look at all pricing and regulations, go to: http://travelsouthusa.org/international/default.aspx,
and to download the International Showcase brochure, go to:
http://travelsouthusa.org/!userfiles/showcase/International%20Showcase/IntlShowcase2013_Brochure.pdf

Travel South is expecting that booth space will sell out, so the Alabama Tourism Department suggests destinations, attractions and accommodations register as soon as possible to make sure you can attend.

For more information, contact Liz Bittner at Travel South or
Grey Brennan, Alabama Tourism Department, 334-242-4459, grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov.

Mobile sign in UK’s The Guardian’s list of Top 10 iconic US road signs
US road signs, logos, slogans, graffiti and other Americana have come to represent the country for many visitors. Here are 10 of the most iconic ‘visions of America’
by Salena Lettera, The Guardian, June 21
The United Kingdom publication, The Guardian, has published a list of their top American Road Signs. Proclaiming that road signs, logos, slogans, graffiti and other Americana have come to represent the US for many visitors, their list of the top 10 includes a political roof top sign in New York “No Human Being Is Illegal,” the tourist “Voodoo Doughnut” shop sign in Portland, Oregon and a sign on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Alabama.

The Hoffman Furniture Company sign in Mobile includes the words “Cheerful Credit” which the reporter noted. The article included a description of Mobile and Alabama’s Coast. “I marvelled at the opulence of the Saenger Theatre – a city landmark and entertainment venue since 1927, and learned that the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the US takes place here, and had lunch at Wintzell’s Oyster House, a restaurant that’s been serving award-winning food since 1938. On my last day in town, I drove less than an hour to lounge on a white sand beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. That’s what I call cheerful.” The article had links to both downtown Mobile and the Gulf Shores CVB.
To see the entire story, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2013/jun/22/top-10-us-iconic-road-signs?INTCMP=SRCH

Alabama’s In-Market UK representative Della Tully works on our state’s behalf to get positive tourism publicity.

For more on Alabama’s international program, contact Grey Brennan: grey.brennan@tourism.alabama.gov, or 334-242-4459.

Travel Channel’s “Monumental Mysteries” series to feature The Face in the Courthouse Window Thursday night
“Monumental Mysteries” scours the United States for the nation’s history-rich monuments and unveils tales that are unknown to many Americans. These fascinating stories include why New York’s Ellis Island served as a beacon of hope for the world-famous Von Trapp family, why the hands of a huge clock on the island of Hawaii are forever frozen in time, and how a newlywed couple inexplicably vanished in Arizona’s breathtaking Grand Canyon. History explorer and museum enthusiast Don Wildman uncovers some of America’s most intriguing events, greatest triumphs, well-known disasters, and even some notorious crimes that are linked to many of the nation’s monuments. These include iconic buildings, bridges, memorials, national parks, statues, sculptures and gravestones across the country.

Face in the Courthouse Window (Pickens County Courthouse, Carrollton, AL) to air on Thurs., July 11, at 9pm ET/PT on Travel Channel.

The quaint southern town of Carrollton, Alabama is home to charming churches and old cemeteries. But a window on one building in the heart of this quiet hamlet has a mysterious and horrifying image that some say was left there by an angry spirit. What chilling story of vengeance, guilt, and a dying vow still haunts this town?
travelchannel.com www.CourthouseWindow.com

The GulfCoastNewsToday.com interviews “Little Zoo that Could” director Patti Hall
by Jill Clair Gentry, Baldwin People editor, GulfCoastNewsToday.com, July 2
Patti Hall has been the director of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo since 1997. She loves interacting with the animals.

When Patti and her husband moved to the Gulf Coast in the mid-90s, after retiring from careers in publishing, she started volunteering at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo 30 to 40 hours a week, which turned into a job — where she has worked at least 60 hours a week for the past 16 years.

Interacting with animals every day, as well as guests from all over the country, is the realization of a dream for Patti. Because the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is so small, it is able to provide guests with one-on-one experiences with animals, and that’s exactly what Patti believes zoos should be doing.
“I always wanted to create a zoo that I wanted to go to as a kid that didn’t exist,” she says. “If you allow people to interact with animals and they can connect, and they end up walking around with a little more respect for animals than they did, we’ve done our job. We’ve entertained you, educated you and hopefully made you look at the animal world with a different view.”

When Hurricane Ivan hit Baldwin County in 2004, Patti, her staff and volunteers evacuated 280 animals to her home in Elberta, where she had 10 acres of land. She also housed some of the zoo’s staff and their pets.

“We found out later we were the only zoo in recorded American history that has ever staged a full evacuation,” she says.

The heartwarming story of the Little Zoo that Could inspired a show by the same name on Animal Planet, interviews with news anchors across the country and donations — the community rallied behind the zoo, and it has been improving ever since.

Now, the zoo, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that relies on donations, grants and admissions for funding, is trying to raise money to build the world’s first environmentally sustainable zoo on 50 acres of land a few miles north of its current location.

The Amazing Green Zoo will also be almost entirely hurricane proof, Patti says.

“But we’re running around a year behind in our fundraising because of the economy,” Patti says. “We’re waiting for a couple of big grants. We’re still working hard — it will be built. I say we’re on a five-year plan. I’m getting older, so in five years, I just want to be riding around our new zoo in a little golf cart and talking to our guests.”

The new zoo will cost about $25 million, and Patti says in addition to grants, serious fundraising efforts will begin early this fall.

For the entire article, go to: http://www.gulfcoastnewstoday.com/people/features/article_7b00e3d8-e319-11e2-b1e6-001a4bcf887a.html

Monte Sano State Park’s new office/store is open
Renovations to the Monte Sano State Park main office and camp store are complete and the new facility opened for business Sat., July 6. The original park office was destroyed by fire in 2010. Since then, the store has served as both administrative offices and store. With renovations complete, the expanded facility will offer refreshments, limited groceries and souvenirs, and is equipped with handicap accessible restrooms.

According to Kent Wilborn, Monte Sano superintendent, the new office/store is a major improvement to the park and will allow his staff to provide better customer service.
“Everything is located in one central building so we can book campground reservations, answer phone calls and monitor our camp store without separating our staff,” Wilborn said.

Monte Sano, Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” rises more than 1,600 feet above sea level in Huntsville, Ala. The mountain has attracted visitors since the mid-1820s. Today Monte Sano State Park offers an escape from the hustle of city life via more than 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, various camping options, and other outdoor activities.

The park offers 89 RV camping sites and 18 primitive sites. Monte Sano also offers 14 cabins; two are dog-friendly. For campground reservations, call 256-534-6589. To reserve a cabin or pavilion, call 256-534-3757. For more information, email Monte.SanoStPk@dcnr.alabama.gov or visit www.alapark.com/MonteSano/.

Vote for Landmark Park in Dothan
You can help Landmark Park in Dothan win one of three recreational grants, up to $100,000. For more information, visit: www.coke.com/parks
To vote for Landmark Park, go to: https://parks.livepositively.com/parks/index.html

Houston Welcome Center featured in Dothan City Guide
An article about the Houston Welcome Center, the Gateway to Dothan, by Laura Stakelum, with photography by Nick Stakelum, appeared in a recent issue of the Dothan City Guide.
To read the article, please go to: http://tourism.alabama.gov/content/uploads/Cityguide1.jpg

Webinars offered
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will host a series of webinars this month on how to increase sales during the travel season.

To view the link to the webinars, go to: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/july-webinar-series-how-increase-sales-during-travel-season

Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is Aug. 17-20 in Huntsville
Mark your calendars for the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Aug. 17-20, at the Westin Hotel in Huntsville next to Bridge Street with its’ seventy upscale shops, restaurants, movie theater and spa just footsteps away.

For information and registration, go to: www.algovernorsconference.com

An Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism Facebook Page has been created. The link to it is http://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGovernorsConferenceOnTourism. If you have a FB account please “like” the page and “share” it on your page and/or invite your friends to like it.

Make a difference by donating to the AGCT Silent Auction to benefit the Alabama Tourism & Hospitality Industry Scholarship Fund
The Silent Auction held during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism benefits the Alabama Tourism & Hospitality Industry Scholarship Fund. The AGCT Silent Auction has risen over $202,000 over the past 20 years. Scholarships are awarded annually to students currently working toward degrees in the field of hospitality, tourism, hotel, culinary or food service management. Students enrolled in four-year colleges/universities must be at least a second semester freshman, but no further along than a second semester junior at time of application. Students from two-year colleges must be at least in their second semester of their first year, but no further along than their first semester of their second year at time of application.

To make a Silent Auction Donation please visit: http://www.algovernorsconference.com/silent-auction/. Scholarships will be awarded during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, August 17-20 at the Westin Huntsville.

Conference registration, full agenda and hotel reservations are available online at: http://algovernorsconference.com/.

Wine and Craft Beer Pull scholarship fundraiser
The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism is bringing back the Wine Pull Fundraiser to the annual conference to be held August 17—20, in Huntsville. Last year more than $2,000 was raised for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry “Scholarship Fund” and the 2013 goal is to double that amount. A Craft Beer Pull is being added to this year’s fundraiser venue.

What is a wine and beer pull?
An opportunity to pay $10 for a bottle of wine or assorted craft beers ranging in value from $20 to $120 or more.

Donate a bottle of wine or craft beer
Please help award more scholarship dollars by donating at least one bottle of wine or craft beer (valued at $20 or more). When you register for the Alabama Governor’s Conference, please commit to donating a bottle of wine, craft beer or a cash commitment. The Alabama Tourism Partnership will be glad to do the shopping for you.

Convenient donation drop-off locations
For your convenience drop-off locations are available in three regions of the State: South, Central, and North. Please contact the Alabama Travel Council directly and we are happy to make pick up arrangements with you.

For more information, contact: morgan@alabamatravel.org, or call (334) 271-0050

Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College
For one week each year, tourism industry professionals from all over the Southeast meet at University of North Georgia for the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College. During the week, students experience a broad-based curriculum of courses designed to teach marketing techniques from all facets of the tourism industry. Marketing College professors are working, experienced professionals from across the U.S. who not only bring expertise, but real-world knowledge and experience, to the classroom. From the time students arrive on Sunday evening until they depart on Friday, they enjoy classes, lectures, discussion groups and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities in an academic environment conducive to learning. Students who attend three years of Marketing College receive a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification, presented at a special graduation ceremony at the STS spring meeting.
Dates: Aug. 4-9. University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Aug 4-7 Alabama Motorcoach/Georgia Motorcoach Operators/South Central Motorcoach Association, Birmingham
Aug 17-21 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism – Huntsville, AL (Westin)
Sept 19 Alabama Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting
Dec. 3-6 International Showcase, Nashville
Feb. 23-26, 2014 Domestic Showcase, Charleston, WV

ATD is currently registering and planning for the following 2014 Consumer Shows:
Cincinnati Boat and Travel Show – Jan 17-19 & January 22-26, 2014
Louisville Boat Show – Jan 22-26, 2014
Indianapolis Boat and RV Show – Feb 14-23, 2014
Nashville Southern Women’s Show – Mar 27-30, 2014
If you are interested in working in the Alabama Tourism Department’s booth, please contact Rosemary Judkins at 334-242-4493 or rosemary.judkins@tourism.alabama.gov
The Alabama Tourism Department News is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry. The newsletter can also be accessed online by going to: www.tourism.alabama.gov
ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT
www.alabama.travel