• Top 10 barbecue restaurants in the U.S.
• Lucy Buffett honored as one of Alabama’s Retailers of the Year
• Montgomery chef named as a semifinalist in national food competition
• Annual Blue Marlin Grand Championship shatters state records – twice
• Trail of Tears 175th anniversary commemoration
• Centennial birthday celebration for Jesse Owens
• Bobby’s Bama: Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
• Jeanette Dunnavent Jones retires and Teresa Akins Todd takes the reins in Athens
• Montgomery recently featured on Tampa Bay TV show
• Luckie retains tourism advertising contract
• Global Travel Marketing to remain Alabama’s UK Tourism representative firm
• Alabama Tourism Department hosts Tourism Workshop in October
• Registration for Travel South Domestic Showcase is open
• Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


Top 10 barbecue restaurants in the U.S., Sept. 12

In the mood for barbecue, but just don’t want to light the grill? Thankfully, there are multitudes of restaurants ready to serve up a platter of ribs or put together a pulled pork sandwich to satisfy your ‘cue craving. For the best of the best, try one of these smokin’ spots, listed in no particular order.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que, Hoover, AL, it’s the zingy sauce and crunchy, peppery chow-chow at Full Moon Bar-B-Que that sets this barbecue haven apart from the others.

For the entire list of barbecue restaurants, go to:

Lucy Buffett honored as one of Alabama’s Retailers of the Year
Sept. 15

Lucy Buffett of LuLu’s and Lucy B. Goode in Gulf Shores is being honored as a Retailer of the Year by The Alabama Retail Association in cooperation with the COLLAT School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The group will honor 12 retail businesses as Retailers of the Year and one as a Centennial Retailer during the 2013 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon on Tues., Oct. 8, at The Club in Birmingham. Among those are Lucy Buffett of LuLu’s and Lucy B. Goode in Gulf Shores.

The October luncheon will mark the 32nd Annual Retail Day and the 14th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999 and the 11th presentation of the Centennial Retailer awards since 2002.

To read the entire article, go to:

Montgomery chef named as a semifinalist in national food competition
by Amber Sutton,, Sept.10

Montgomery Chef Leonardo Maurelli, III of Central restaurant was recently named one of eight semifinalists in a national food competition.

Chef Maurelli was named a semifinalist for the southern region in the US Foods Next Top Product competition after submitting his duck wontons recipe.

The top competitor with the most votes from each region will compete in a cooking showdown at the World Foods Championship in Las Vegas on Nov. 8 with a chance to win a $5,000 cash reward and a $15,000 kitchen makeover. The winning chef’s recipe will also be incorporated into the US Foods 2014 product line.

Supporters can vote for Chef Maurelli’s Duck Wontons by visiting the competition’s website, selecting the southern region and posting a vote on Facebook or Twitter. Fans can cast a vote daily until Sept. 20.

Chef Maurelli, a native of the Republic of Panama, immigrated to Alabama in the early 1990s. He is an avid supporter of local farmers, cheese makers, beer makers and artisans. He is the 2011 Alabama Restaurant Association and Alabama Hospitality Association Chef of the Year.

Annual Blue Marlin Grand Championship shatters state records – twice
Sept. 12

Alabama’s 53 miles of brief but beautiful coastline provide the state a prized location for seafood, but also for sport.

Known among top anglers as one of the country’s best sport fishing tournaments, The Blue Marlin Grand Championship takes place in Orange Beach each summer. This year’s event, which sold out its entire 50 spots with teams from as far as Wilmington, DE and the British Virgin Islands, started its opening night with a bang – within a two-hour period, participants broke not one but two state records.

From the site of weigh-in location The Wharf, event organizers recognized Chris Ferrera and his family team from the Biloxi, MS-based team of Reel Fire for Ferrera’s epic landing of an 845.8-pound blue marlin. The winning title, which included a payout of $250,000, defeated the state’s prior record by 56 pounds. Reel Fire’s total payout for the tournament, including their second place finish for a tuna catch, totaled $304,000.
That record had itself only been set earlier that evening by the 58 Viking Orange Beach-based team of Rising Sons, when angler Jeremy Powers boated a 789.8 pound blue marlin. His fish broke the 24-year-old Alabama blue marlin record. For their second place overall finish the Rising Sons team received $123,385 in tournament awards and cash prizes.

Closing ceremonies took place at The Compleat Angler, part of the Baumhower family of restaurants. Of the festivities, Bob Baumhower, Alabama restaurateur, said: “The nationwide draw that this event brings to Orange Beach speaks for itself. Alabama’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for sport fishing is only second to our state’s seafood bounty. The skill level of these anglers is just unparalleled, and I think this tournament helps raise the profile of the fishing community at large, and the economic impact they represent.”

In addition, the tournament featured a catch and release division which represented a total of 38 billfish, including blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish.

Championship co-organizer Chris Miller said: “Anyone can say they boast the best in sport fishing, but when you look at the counts, weights, quality and abundance of the tuna, dolphin and wahoo caught during this year’s Blue Marlin Grand Championship, you see that in the Gulf of Mexico, we walk our talk.”

Donated fish from the tournament went to a faith-based non-profit called One Meal, which provides a weekly meal for the homeless, hungry and working poor in downtown Mobile.

Trail of Tears 175th anniversary commemoration
On Sept. 28, 2013, the Lake Guntersville State Park, along with other state and regional parks, is commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears with the “800-Miles History Treks on Trails.” An early morning hike, trail blessing, drumming, symbolic walk, lunch and various presentations, artifacts, videos and speakers are scheduled throughout the day.

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail encompasses more than 800 miles of 14 land and water routes that begin in North Carolina and end in Oklahoma. Visitors to Alabama’s state and national parks are encouraged to bike, hike and paddle the routes taken by the people from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole nations when they were pressured in the 1830s to leave their homeland and settle elsewhere.

Participants who keep a log of distances hiked, biked and/or paddled are eligible for special keepsakes being issued by the parks and Trail of Tears Association. The first 500 people to reach these goals will receive the following: 100 miles: a pin; 400 miles: a patch; and 800-mile travelers will receive a Trail of Tears hiking medallion. Alabama participating parks include Russell Cave National Monument, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Lake Guntersville State Park and DeSoto State Park.

This event-filled day of activities is free and available for all ages. A schedule of events is posted at For more information, contact Patti Donnellan at 256-571-5445 or or contact Amanda Glover at

Centennial birthday celebration for Jesse Owens
The Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum pays tribute to the legacy of Olympic track and field superstar Jesse Owens on Sat., Sept. 21, in commemoration of his 100th birthday with a day filled with free food, Olympic-style competitions, and museum tours. With a theme of One Chance Is All You Need, the centennial birthday celebration gets underway at 11 a.m. at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum located at 7019 County Road 203 in Danville.

Born in 1913 in Oakville, Ala., Jesse Owens moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was nine years old, and at the age of 15 began the transformation into an Olympic champion. During his tenure at Ohio State, he set new conference records in all three events in which he competed: the 100-yard dash 9.6 seconds, the 220-yard dash 21.0 seconds and the long jump 24 feet 10 inches, and was undefeated in 42 events and won 4 firsts at the Big Ten Championships, four in the NCAA Championship and two in the NAAU Championships. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, he captured four gold medals, overcoming racial and socioeconomic barriers. In 1955, he was named Ambassador of Sports by President Eisenhower and toured the world promoting the virtues of amateur programs and served as his personal representative to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. In 1970, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and in 1976, President Gerald Ford presented him the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the US bestows upon a civilian, saying, “Your character, your achievement, always will be a source of inspiration.” In 1979, President Jimmy Carter presented him with the Living Legend Award. Jesse Owens died of lung cancer at the age of 66 on March 31, 1980.

The festivities begin with an opening ceremony that includes recognition of dignitaries, family members of Jesse Owens, and the sculptor of the park’s Jesse Owens statue, Branko Medenica who will be on hand to talk about the history of the statue from its conception to its completion. The youth can compete in Olympic-style competitions and win an award. Competitions include 100-yard dash, 200-yard dash and broad jump – the three events Owens excelled in.

There will be free museum and home replica tours, conducted by park volunteers. The museum showcases rare memorabilia including programs from the 1936 Olympics, replicas of track uniforms and shoes, medals, and trophies from Owens’ high school days and offers interactive kiosks that highlight his life and accomplishments. While touring the home replica, visitors can listen to audio that tells of Jesse Owens’ life as a sharecropper’s son, narrated by his brother Sylvester. The Jesse Owens Memorial Park also showcases memorials for Owens including a statue and a1936 torch replica and provides facilities for community use including a basketball court, baseball/softball fields, playground, picnic tables, and pavilions. Athletes can test their skills in the long jump pit to see how close they can come to Owens’ 1936 Olympic gold medal distance of 26 feet 5 5/16 inches.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Festival goers will also be treated to free hot dogs, drinks and birthday cake as long as supplies last. All activities are free and open to the public.

For more information on the Centennial Birthday Celebration, call 256.974.3636 or visit them at For more information on the Memorial Park and Museum, visit

Bobby’s Bama: Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
by Bobby Shuttlesworth, WAFF 48 News, Sept. 13

If you know where to look, a house in Florence offers a rare peek at the work of an architectural giant. One look at the house and you know something is different. Local architect Bob Whitten was a friend to the sons of owners Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build the house.

“This house was designed in ’39 and was finished around the fall of 1940,” explained Whitten. He spent time here as a boy. Stanley’s parents lived across the street.
Wright had several “must-haves” which he wove into the fabric of the house and the property. “Wright was asked to shift the house a little bit on the property so that the parents’ home could still see the river,” said Whitten.

‘Usonian’ homes were for middle-class people, with no basements or attics and little ornamentation, a precursor to the “ranch-style” home. “The Usonian concept, in simple English, is to eliminate the unnecessary,” said Whitten.

That definition is clear when you see the size of the rooms, such as the living room. It is not large. “But it is ample,” said Whitten. “The original house was about 1,500 square feet, and the addition in 1948 added another 1,000.”

The bedrooms are also small by today’s standards. Closets were pulled out, looking more like furniture. Another bedroom was used by Mildred for her weaving hobby. “This was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. Another specific request that the Rosenbaums had was to provide a master bath. In 1939, that was not common,” said Whitten.

To read the entire article, go to:

Jeanette Dunnavent Jones retires and Teresa Akins Todd takes the reins in Athens
Athens-Limestone County Tourism President Jeanette Dunnavant Jones retired Aug. 31 and Teresa Akins Todd assumed the president’s position Sept. 1.

Teresa has served as the co-President of the Tourism Association for the past 6 months and served on the Tourism Board for the past 3 years. Jones stated, “Teresa is trained and ready to assume the helm. She is highly enthusiastic about promoting and growing the tourism program.” Teresa stated “I am honored and very humbled to be given this opportunity to promote all of Athens-Limestone County and I look forward to working with our communities, officials, organizations and businesses. Jeanette has been an inspiration in the way she has increased the positive exposure of tourism to our area and her dedication to serving our county. My goal is to continue to showcase all that our communities have to offer in every aspect of tourism.”

Todd has just completed the first portion of a three-year professional development program in Dahlonega, Georgia that will lead to certification as a Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP).

Montgomery recently featured on Tampa Bay TV show
Montgomery was recently featured on the The Daytime TV Show’s “Awesome American Road Trips” in the travel segment that aired on Aug. 20. This show was on WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa Bay, FL.

The Montgomery CVB PR and Marketing Department pitched this as a follow up to a lead received through the Help a Reporter Out daily email list serve.
To see the clip, go to:

Luckie retains tourism advertising contract
Luckie & Company, the Birmingham advertising agency, was awarded the advertising and marketing contract for the Alabama Tourism Department following a request for proposal and bidding process, tourism director Lee Sentell says.

After the tourism department sent notices to more than 60 firms registered with the state’s purchasing department for adverting and promotional services, two responded and Luckie was selected. It was the third time in 11 years that Luckie had won the contract. The new contract is for $7 million for each of the next two years, the maximum length of time for a state contract.

The Alabama tourism industry has grown by 60 percent in the past decade to $10.6 billion in annual expenditures, Sentell said.

Global Travel Marketing to remain Alabama’s UK Tourism representative firm
The Alabama Tourism Department has announced that Global Travel Marketing was selected to represent Alabama in the important United Kingdom market for the next two years.

The UK is the largest international tourism market to the United States with over 3.7 million visitors in 2012 and is expected to increase an an average of three percent per year over the next five years. In Alabama, international visitors represent $146 million annually in direct spending. Both the U.K. and Germany are top markets for Alabama.

The decision to continue with Global Travel Marketing was made by a selection committee that evaluated returned proposals on a grading system of five categories. The categories evaluated included experience, similar work, plan of action, personnel/resources and costs.

Fifty-eight firms registered with the State of Alabama under the category of advertising and public relations and an additional seven overseas companies were sent notices of the request for proposal. Of those responding to the Request for Proposal, Global Travel Marketing received the highest score. The firm is headed by Venessa Alexander.

Global Travel Marketing is the tourism department’s current representative firm in the U.K.. As a result of the committee’s selection, Della Tully will remain Alabama’s primary tourism sales person in that market.

To contact Della Tully, telephone 011-44-208-339-6122 or email For more information concerning Alabama Tourism Department’s international efforts, contact Grey Brennan, 334-242-4459,

Alabama Tourism Department hosts Tourism Workshop in October
The Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) will host a Tourism Workshop on Wed., Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Johnson Center for the Arts, located at 300 E. Walnut St. in Troy. This workshop event is for tourism industry members, event organizers and anyone interested in enhancing tourism in their area. Come learn about the many programs and services the ATD offers.

Lunch, sponsored by the Alabama Tourism Department, will be provided.

To register or if you have questions or need additional information please contact Rosemary Judkins at Rosemary.Judkins@Tourism.Alabama.Gov or 334-242-4493

Registration for Travel South Domestic Showcase is open
Travel South Domestic Showcase is scheduled for Feb. 23-26, 2014 in Charleston, WV. Travel South Showcase is the only regional Marketplace focused solely on the cultural, musical, artistic and culinary heritage of the south.
For registration information:

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events
Sept. 19 Alabama Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting
Oct. 16 ATD Tourism Workshop
Dec. 3-6 International Showcase, Nashville
Feb. 23-26, 2014 Travel South Domestic Showcase, Charleston, WV

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: