Alabama Tourism Department News May 13, 2014

  • April Walking Tours has record number of participants
  • Southern Makers event in Montgomery builds on success
  • Freedom Rides Museum to open new exhibit Memorial Day Weekend
  • Sara Hamlin one of the 14 most influential women in group travel
  • Business Insider names Highlands Bar and Grill one of the nation’s best
  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame pays tribute to Earl Peanutt Montgomery
  • Birmingham-Southern professor has written guide to Alabama’s biodiversity
  • Dauphin Island trademarks ‘sunset capital of Alabama’
  • Welcome Center surprises travelers with celebration
  • RSA to build 400-space parking garage in downtown Mobile
  • Mobile Bay CVB tourism chief David Randel stepping down
  • Poke Salat Festival celebrates 30 years
  • Eat Pepper Jelly, Preserving the Traditions of Mama n’ Them
  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony on APT-PBS using COVE
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


April Walking Tours has record number of participants

A record 1,900 people participated in the Alabama Tourism Department’s April Walking Tours this spring.  Some 32 towns across Alabama hosted the tours.  Towns with the most participants included Florence with 240, Fairhope with 210 and Columbia with 196.

The hour-long tours started at 10 a.m. each Saturday morning in April. The tours were coordinated by Brian Jones with the Alabama Tourism Department.  “Alabama is the only state in the nation to hold these statewide, simultaneous walking tours.  More than 22,000 people have participated in the tours since the beginning of the program eleven years ago.  The success of these walking tours is all about the efforts of the local tourism offices and chambers and they do a phenomenal job,” said Jones.

Towns wishing to sign up for the 2015 April Walking Tours should respond with an email giving their town’s name and starting location to


Southern Makers event in Montgomery builds on success

By Alvin Benn, Montgomery Advertiser, May 3

Last year’s Southern Makers inaugural event was a big hit, but it paled in comparison to this year’s second version — a smashing success from start to finish.

Long lines formed well before the 11 a.m. start time, and the Union Station Train Shed quickly filled with visitors from across Alabama.

By early afternoon it was shoulder-to-shoulder as people from Huntsville to Mobile sampled specialty foods as well as traditional dishes that had some returning for second helpings.

Artisans displayed wares ranging from pottery to brooms, from pickles to Latin American coffee beans.

Food was only part of the attraction for the $20 admission, and no one seemed bothered by the price. A few sample plates would easily top seafood and barbecue menu listings at pricy restaurants.

Capital City tourists tuckered out by all the walking at the train shed sat on square bales of hay listening to country music groups picking and grinning their way through the day.

For those wanting more, there were even workshops focusing on a variety of topics, including foraging. Crowds quickly filled seats to listen to the experts, and then were given a chance to test their own abilities.

George Jones Jr. and his “Broom Closet” attracted many visitors who watched as he produced his specialties within a few minutes.

“I’ve been making my brooms for the last 28 years,” he said. “It was started by my great-grandfather, and I’m keeping our family tradition going.”

Jones said each of his brooms is hand-stitched and can cost between $10 and $100. He was particularly pleased with the business he received — about $200 worth of brooms in less than an hour.

“Some really creative minds came up with this event, and it’s wonderful to see such a large crowd here today,” said Denise Greene of EAT South, an urban farm operation that was one of several major sponsors.

Greene said online ticket sales were brisk for the second straight year.

“The last tickets were bought by 7 p.m. the day before, and the vendor booths were filled months ago,” she said.

“We couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve received for this event.”

Attendance at the 2013 Southern Makers kickoff extravaganza was limited to 1,000. This year’s event was increased to a capacity of 1,500, and Greene said a decision should be made soon about next year.

“Some of our vendors had to travel up to five hours to get here and set up their booths,” Greene said.  “I think it was a clear indication of how much they wanted to be part of what we’ve got going here.”

Lee Sentell, director of the state Department of Tourism and Travel, had reason to smile as he watched the crowd continue to grow before his eyes.

“What we’re seeing here today is a remarkable display of talent by so many Alabamians,” said Sentell. “It would seem to me that it has all the makings of being an annual event.”

He said the event has become so popular that officials in other states are interested in promoting their own.

“From what I understand, representatives from several other states have contacted Southern Makers about helping them set up something similar,” Sentell said. “That is a clear indication of how successful ours has become.”

To read the article online, go to:

Freedom Rides Museum to open new exhibit Memorial Day Weekend

Travelin’ Down Freedom’s Main Line opens Memorial Day Weekend at Montgomery’s Freedom Rides Museum.

Recently voted America’s Best Historic City, Montgomery was the site of three of the seven major campaigns in the 1955–1965 Civil Rights Movement. In ten short years, African Americans led protests that won equal treatment in city and interstate bus travel and in public places like stores, theaters, and restaurants.  And, finally, they won the right to register and vote.

The 1955–1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March were the era’s bookend protests.  But the 1961 Freedom Rides, and events surrounding it in Montgomery, were a critical step along America’s journey to toward full equality for all citizens.

Using artwork, architecture, photographs, and the stories of Freedom Riders,”Travelin’ Down Freedom’s Main Line” places the Freedom Rides in the context of the movement and its iconic Alabama events.

In their own words, riders, young and old, tell about their commitment (or not) to nonviolent direct action. What happened when they told their parents (or didn’t) that they were going.  What it was like to be in jail. How the rides changed them (or didn’t).

Exhibit opening events take place 12–4pm Friday, Saturday, and Monday, May 23–26.  Events will include docent led tours, gallery talks, and book signings.

The Freedom Rides Museum is operated by the Alabama Historical Commission, and is located in Montgomery’s Historic Greyhound Bus Station at 210 South Court Street.

It is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 12-4pm and other days by advanced appointment for groups of 10 or more.

For more details on Travelin’ Down Freedom’s Main Line and the Freedom Rides Museum, go to or contact or 334-242-3935

Sara Hamlin one of the 14 most influential women in group travel

Groups Today is pleased to present The 14 Most Influential Women in Group Travel. Group travel comprises myriad businesses, and these women represent many facets of the industry.

Sara Hamlin, Vice President of Tourism, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau:

through online resources and a mobile app, Birmingham provides tour operators with convenient options, while still offering personalized customer service. Sara notes that technology is helpful, yet relationships with customers and colleagues in the industry are the key to success. In addition to cultivating those personal relationships, Sara says that involvement in professional organizations on the local, state and national level helps provide networking opportunities.

To see a complete list of the 14 women, go to:

Business Insider names Highlands Bar and Grill one of the nation’s best

By Bryan Davis, Birmingham Business Journal, May 12

Highlands Bar and Grill has been named one of the Best Restaurants in America by Business Insider.

Tied for the No. 24 spot with San Francisco’s Saison, Frank and Pardis Stitt‘s “French-inspired Southern restaurant is a James Beard Outstanding Restaurants semifinalist” the publication said.

Last week, Highlands came in runner-up for the Outstanding Restaurants title from the James Beard Foundation behind another San Francisco eatery, Slanted Door.

Stitt is responsible for launching a number of high-profile chefs into the Birmingham market over the years, sparking a culinary boom in the Magic City.

To read this article online, go to:

Alabama Music Hall of Fame pays tribute to Earl Peanutt Montgomery

Earl Peanutt Montgomery will be honored with a bronze star in the Walk of Fame located in the lobby of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Immediately following the ceremony, Charlene Montgomery will host a book signing of her new book, “The Legend of George Jones His Life and Death”. The event will take place at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on May 16th at 6pm.

“May 16th is going to be an exciting time at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame because we are honoring one of Alabama’s musical couples. They have contributed greatly to the music heritage of the state,” said Dixie Connell, manager of the museum.

Music is often a family tradition and the Montgomery family is a prime example. Four of Peanutt Montgomery’s siblings were active in the music industry.

His oldest brother Aaron played with Hank Williams, Monty was a vocalist, Carl was a songwriter with “Six Days on the Road,” and his sister, Melba, was a successful singer with many country hits to her credit.

Peanutt was the youngest, and in the 1950’s and 60’s he played guitar with Shoals area artists, such as Bobby Denton, Charlie Senn, The Fairlanes, as well as Shoals area recording sessions with Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes, The Tams and Tommy Roe.

He has written or co-written many songs, such as “What’s Your Mama’s Name Child,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “One of These Days,” and “Loving You Could Never Be Better.” Over 70 of Montgomery’s songs were recorded by George Jones, with 38 of these released as singles.

He has toured with George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Red Foley, Michael Landon, Cowboy Copas, and Patsy Cline.

In 1976, he was called to preach and in 1980 became the pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in Sheffield. He and his wife Charlene began writing gospel music with songs such as “Let’s All Go Down To The River, There’s a Man Walking On The Water.”

In 1997, Montgomery earned the Music Creator’s Award, presented by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Charlene’s most recent achievement was publishing her book, “The Legend of George Jones”.   Montgomery and his wife currently own and operate Sweetwater Recording Studio and Mister Magic Music Publishing Company in Sheffield, Alabama.

Birmingham-Southern professor has written guide to Alabama’s biodiversity

By Susan Swagler,, April 9

There are thousands of reasons — more than 4,533, in fact — to be proud of Alabama. That’s the approximate number of species we harbor within our state. It puts us fifth in the nation when it comes to biodiversity. We’d have another huge reason to be proud if we all knew and appreciated the magnitude of this wealth of living things.

R. Scot Duncan, the son of two renowned birders and naturalists, grew up in the Florida Panhandle and today is an associate professor of biology and environmental studies at Birmingham-Southern College. Well versed in the facts and figures of natural science, he initially was skeptical about that number. In his book, “Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising Biodiversity,” he writes:  “Who knew? Honestly, I can’t remember when I first heard the statistic, but I clearly remember my reaction — I didn’t believe it. How could it be possible that Alabama, Alabama, could lead most of the nation, and all of the eastern United States in the number of species within its borders?”

It’s true. Alabama’s ranking of fifth in the country is surpassed only by the much larger Western states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. We rank seventh in the U.S. with 144 endemic species (those not found anywhere else).

In fact, when all the species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, wildflowers, dragonflies, tiger beetles and ants are counted, we are home to more species than 90 percent of the country. For several major freshwater categories of living things, including fish, snails, mussels, turtles and crayfish, Alabama leads the nation in biodiversity.

Once he accepted the statistic, Duncan began to explore why this is. It wasn’t size. Alabama is midsized, and Alaska, our largest state, is last in species diversity. Latitude could account for it, he thought. The top seven states generally line up along the southern perimeter of the country, and southern states have longer growing seasons and milder winters (although we had a time of it this past winter). But then there’s Mississippi, similar size and latitude, which ranked 17th.  It wasn’t the coast; Florida has more of that. It wasn’t the mountains and exposed rock. The southern Appalachians begin in the heart of Alabama, but other states like North Carolina have more mountains and fewer species.

Duncan finally narrowed it down to three important natural factors. Our warm, wet climate is one. Ancient geological activity is another; our area ended up in its current latitude with a topographically diverse terrain and a great range of rock and soil types exposed at the surface. In fact, the mild climate and this diverse terrain give Alabama 64 distinct ecological systems — terrestrial, aquatic and subterranean.

Biological evolution is the third important reason for our diversity, Duncan says. Dramatic changes in climate and landscape forced our flora and fauna to continuously adapt.

There is a fourth reason, but it doesn’t exactly fit with the rest: Alabama’s boundaries were drawn in a way that includes several distinct geographical regions, and each has its own group of ecosystems.

“Southern Wonder” is a beautiful, informative, exciting and accessible book. It’s also impressively big because, here in Alabama, we have lots to celebrate.

To see the article online, go to:

Dauphin Island trademarks ‘sunset capital of Alabama’

By Cassie Fambro,, May 7

Dauphin Island was named sunset capital of Alabama by its town council with the support of the Alabama Tourism Department and now it can claim a trademark.

“We did public outreach,” said Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier. “We felt that it would be a good tagline for us.”

Collier said that the view from Dauphin Island is like no other.

“We have an unobstructed viewpoint,” he said of the shores. “It’s very family-friendly.”

Collier said the island is not catered towards spring breakers and that family is its focus.

“It’s a step back in time, reconnecting with nature and feeding your soul,” said Collier of visiting the island.

With the fast-paced nature of the world, the mayor said sometimes it’s best to take time to stop and watch the sunset.

“It’s the way family and fun used to be,” he said.

Collier added that the island offers rich history, ecotourism, and fishing as big draws for visitors.

The island doesn’t plan on becoming mainstream anytime soon, either.

“As we change and grow, we don’t want to jeopardize the charm and character,” he said.

On May 17, there will be a crawfish boil at Dauphin Island’s Cadillac Park.  In June, the island will host its first car show.

To read the article online, go to:

Hey, Y’all! Welcome Center surprises travelers with celebration

By Jennifer Calhoun,, May 9

Luc Melendez smiled as he pulled into the Houston Welcome Center on Highway 231 on Friday morning.

“I said, ‘There’s a guy in a duck suit! What the heck is going on?’” said Melendez, who had stopped at the rest stop while traveling from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to Atlanta with his mother, aunt and their dogs, Libby and Torii.

Melendez and his family had stumbled on the welcome center’s annual event to celebrate National Tourism Week. Travelers were greeted with popcorn, cookies and candy, as well as beauty queens in sequined gowns and a giant yellow duck mascot sporting a Water World logo.

Many also heard a hearty, “Hey, Y’all! Welcome to Dothan! Y’all doin’ OK today?” from greeters.

Deborah Tillis, the welcome center’s manager, said the event increases awareness of the economic, social and cultural impact of tourism. More than 100 restaurants, hotels and attractions in the region were part of the event by donating pamphlets and treats, or setting up booths, Tillis said.

If it sounds like a big deal, it is.

According to the Alabama Tourism Department’s preliminary estimates, more than 24 million people visited the state last year, with travelers spending about $11 billion. Travelers were responsible for more than 163,000 jobs in the state in 2013.

“I can tell you that between the eight welcome centers, we see from eight to 10 million people a year,” she said. “It would cause (Alabama residents) to pay an extra $400 a year in additional taxes, if they did not stay and spend money in our state.”

Roberta Burnhart, who lives in Panama City Beach and owns a home in Georgia, said she always stopped at the Houston Welcome Center on her trips back-and-forth.

But she’d never seen it like this.

“I was just excited to see it,” she said, smiling.

Sandy Stacy and Johnnye McEver agreed. The longtime friends often travel between Panama City Beach and their homes in a town just north of Atlanta.

“It’s a very pleasant surprise,” Stacy said. “It gives you a flavor of the culture of the state and the friendliness of the South.”

To read the article online, go to:

Mobile County welcomed 2.8 million visitors in 2013, generating nearly $1 billion in travel-related revenue

By Kelli Dugan,, May 6

More than 2.8 million people visited Mobile County in 2013, spending nearly $917 million on travel-related expenditures, the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau revealed Tuesday.

More importantly, the statewide “Alabama Travel Economic Impact 2013 Report” indicates that activity supported 15,200 Mobile County jobs during the year, and only half of the bustle is directly tied to annual events such as Mardi Gras, BayFest or the New Year’s Eve Moon Pie Over Mobile.

“What a thrill it was to see so many folks in the crowd today celebrating the tourism industry,” Stacy Hamilton, the bureau’s vice president of marketing and communications, told the crowd of more than 100 area business leaders and tourism industry professionals gathered Tuesday for the CVB’s annual business meeting at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile.

“Convention and leisure tourism has been, and will continue to be, an important part of Mobile’s economic growth,” Hamilton said, before recapping some of the past year’s biggest tourism successes and previewing a few initiatives in the pipeline.

Among the many things on the horizon is a new website; a content-heavy blog; a comprehensive survey and research project; a mobile visitor information vehicle that will travel to city and regional events; and a series of local pride campaigns that will be fueled primarily via social media.

To read the article online, go to:

RSA to build 400-space parking garage in downtown Mobile

By Michael Finch,, May 9

The Retirement Systems of Alabama plans to build a parking garage on Royal Street next to the Battle House Hotel.

When complete the structure will feature 400 parking spaces and about 2,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The site has already been cleared, paving the way for construction to start in the upcoming 30 days, according to Steve Timms, director of construction and development for RSA.

The completion date is not until around summer 2015. The lot was purchased for an undisclosed amount last fall when they bought the the Van Antwerp building, Timms said. The neighboring building, which will be renovated for more retail space, was purchased then as well.

Now that its holdings include most of the city block between Dauphin and St. Francis Streets, Joe Toole, RSA’s director of real estate, said building the garage is a logical step to provide the convenience for its surrounding properties.

To see this article online, go to:

Poke Salat Festival celebrates 30 years

The city of Arab is ready for the 30th Annual Poke Salat Festival May 16 and 17, downtown. Hosted by the Arab Downtown Association and the City of Arab, it features a variety of vendors, contests, entertainment areas and street performances, children’s activities and more.

Vendor booths include art and craftsmen, a variety of food, non-profit organizations and churches, and local businesses. Artisan Avenue is an area dedicated to showcasing some of the area’s best artists and artisans – browse a variety of handcrafted items along 1st Avenue NW.

Basket weaving, broom making, chair caning, beekeeping, and pottery demonstrations will be held each day from 8 am-5 pm.

There will be plenty of “Poke Salat” at the L’Rancho Cafe and a variety of other foods and treats in Downtown diners and cafes and the Festival’s Food Court.

For a full schedule and show times, visit the Festival’s website:

or Facebook page:

Eat Pepper Jelly, Preserving the traditions of Mama n’ Them

By Meredith Bethune, The, April 2014

“Eat pepper jelly” com­mands the water tower rising above the kudzu-covered treeline in Thom­aston, Alabama.  This is the motto of the tiny town (fewer than 400 resi­dents), thanks to a group of dedicated community members.

Volunteers at the Alabama Rural Heritage Center are using this handmade food product to foster economic development and cultural preservation in the historically challenged Black Belt region. In 2005, a partnership with the Rural Studio at Auburn University transformed a former high school building into this modern community center. According to board member Margaret Parker, it remains viable through the “dedication and hard work by the board and other volunteers who love it and want to keep it going.”  Sales from Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly benefit this cherished facility. The name is derived from the regional colloquialism “Mama n’ them,” meaning kinfolk. Volunteers grow the peppers in a sprawl­ing garden on what used to be the school’s football field. Then in the center’s commercial kitchen, six volunteers chop the peppers, make the jelly from scratch, and can it on site. The red and green variet­ies differ subtly in flavor and heat level, but both are flecked with substantial pieces of pepper that add textural contrast to the dense jelly. According to foundation chairwoman Lisa Griffith, “It’s made with a lot of love!”

 Recently volunteer board members, including several women who make the pepper jelly (Kath­ryn Friday, Margaret Parker, Cindy Neilson, and Lisa Griffith), discussed with TLP the founding of the Alabama Rural Heritage Center, making Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly, and the significance of the annual Pepper Jelly Festival.

 TLP: What is the history of the Alabama Rural Heritage Center and its significance to the community of Thomaston?

 Kathryn Friday (KF): It was the dream of a woman named Patsy Sumrall. She was the mayor of Thomaston at the time, and she wanted to give people a reason to visit. She just had this vision of creating a place for craftsmen. She wanted to preserve the region’s rural heri­tage, promote econom­ic development, and maintain a center for the community. The town had sort of lost its center, its core, after the Marengo County High School closed. She wanted to bring that back.

Cindy Neilson (CN): Today the center is a hub of community activities offering educational courses for local farmers and gardeners, club luncheons, an annual festival, and a gift shop.

 TLP: The gift shop is filled with impressive and unique crafts and products from the Black Belt region—including your own Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly made right in the center’s commercial kitchen. Why did you choose pepper jelly as a product to make and sell?

 KF: Mayor Patsy Sumrall had noticed that she couldn’t buy pepper jelly in the local grocery stores. Since we live in a rural area, it’s more of a specialty product. People usually made it themselves. Patsy said to herself, “Well, we grow peppers around here—and a lot of them.” Af­ter that, we started working with Auburn and a professor there, Dr. Robin Fellers, to select a recipe.

 CN: The product was also chosen because the peppers were easy to grow and affordable, as well as resulting in a delicious product that could be used with desserts, veggies, and meats.

 TLP: Tell us a bit about the process of making the Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly and what makes it so special.

 Margaret Parker (MP): It’s all natural, made from locally grown products, and with lots of tender loving care.

 KF: It’s made with bell pepper and jalapeño pep­per, and there’s no artifi­cial colors, additives, or preservatives. There are little pieces of pepper in it, and that’s why it’s so good to cook with.

 TLP: What are some of your favorite ways to serve it?

 KF: You can put it on pork tenderloin and cook it. I like to grill it so the pepper jelly forms a little crust, and it’s really good. I also make a corn muffin where you put the jelly right there in the center and bake it that way. There are just about endless ways to use it. Of course the tradi­tional way is to serve it over cream cheese. My children wouldn’t think it was Christmas if we didn’t serve pepper jelly!

 TLP: How did the center’s annual Pepper Jelly Festival start, and what is it like now?

 KF: It started while we working with Auburn to select a recipe—we had people from the community taste four or five to decide what they liked best. Now we have a Pepper Jelly Festi­val the last Saturday in April every year unless it’s Easter weekend. People also dem­onstrate dying rural crafts. There are basket makers, arrowhead makers, and local artist Charlie Lucas demon­strates his sculptures. We have other food and craft vendors and something for the children to do. Many classes from the old high school will also plan their re­unions for that weekend.

 MP: People come from near and far to attend the festival and listen to the music, visit with old friends and family. Also, eating! Especially our good ole Thomaston barbecue!

Lisa Griffith (LG): The barbecue is cooked on an open pit, whole hog, which is the secret. Then volunteers hand pull and pick the meat. Of course our board member Carolyn Finley is the wonderful sauce maker, using a family recipe. The barbecue is so good that people buy it no matter what the cost!

 TLP: Besides pepper jelly and barbecue, what other foods do you remember eating while growing up?

 CN: Alabama cuisine is sweet, Southern, and soulful. Due to our climate, we can grow many of our own veggies and raise our own beef and pork. I remember eating veggies like peas, beans, potatoes, and greens as a child. I don’t remember broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or spinach being offered in the fresh produce de­partment as it is today.

 MP: Good comfort food. I remember eat­ing and enjoying vegetables along with good cornbread. Also, roast beef, pork chops, ham, and fried chicken—yum! Don’t forget bis­cuits along with coconut cake, pound cake, caramel cake, and marble cake, which was my birthday cake!

KF: Oh, gosh. The same thing ev­eryone else here does. We also ate lots of wild game like turkey and deer. I don’t think I ate domesticated turkey until I was an adult because my father was a turkey hunter.

 TLP: Thomaston is a very small, rural community. How do you find the resources to keep the Alabama Rural Heritage Center open after so many years?

 LG: Lots of hard work! We have a great board of directors who volun­teer their time to keep the center running. They love it and what it stands for and what it brings to the community.

 KF: We really are trying to preserve a slice of life. Even in rural areas, things have changed, but we want to preserve some of that. It’s some­thing we need to save.

 Visit The Alabama Rural Heritage Center in Thomaston April 26, 2014, to attend the Pep­per Jelly Festival. Order Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly by e-mail at or through the website at

Mobile Bay CVB tourism chief David Randel stepping down

By Kelli Dugan,, May 6

David Randel announced Tuesday morning he will step down May 31 as president and chief executive officer of the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Randel was named the Port City’s tourism chief in February 2012, following a one-year stint in an interim capacity.

Randel, who made the announcement during the bureau’s annual business meeting, said he has several options moving forward and has truly enjoyed his time in Mobile.

“I’m married with no kids, so I could be headed anywhere from Montana to Paris,” Randel said, adding, “There’s just a lot of opportunity out there right now.”

Stacy Hamilton, the CVB’s vice president of marketing and communications, confirmed a national search for Randel’s replacement began several weeks ago.

Prior to moving into the president’s chair, Randel was the vice president of convention sales and service for the bureau. Before joining the bureau, he led group sales for Marriott International’s Orlando World Center, a 1,500-room resort in the Florida tourism mecca. will have a full report as more details become available.

To read the article online, go to:

Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony on APT-PBS using COVE

The unabridged version of the 2014 Alabama Music Hall of Fame (AMHOF) induction ceremony is online through the use of COVE, a video streaming database system that is available to any PBS affiliate and allows those participating stations to select programs in COVE for video streaming from their websites.

To view the 2014 AMHOF induction ceremony, go to:

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

May 15                        Lanett Welcome Center Tourism Day

May 22                        Baldwin Welcome Center Tourism Day

May 23                        Grand Bay Welcome Center Tourism Day

May 29                        DeKalb Welcome Center Tourism Day

May 30                        Ardmore Welcome Center Tourism Day

July 19-22                   Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Auburn

Sept. 7-14                   World Leisure Congress, Mobile


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:

To subscribe to the weekly Alabama Tourism News, please contact Peggy Collins at:

Alabama Tourism Department