TOURISM TUESDAYS October 7, 2014

·      Tourism contest winners get road trips across Alabama

·      Baumhower’s ShrimpFest and BBQ event returns to Oak Mountain for finale

·      Alabama Tourism Workshop a big success

·      Canadian Traveller posts Alabama information

·      Upcoming Decatur archery tournament to host U.S. Olympians

·      Board overseeing Birmingham baseball museum officially takes over project

·      Travel writers tour Lawrence County museums

·      A hidden gem along historic Fort Morgan Road, Shell Banks Cemetery

·      Jackson County wins award

·      Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


Tourism contest winners get road trips across Alabama

By Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser, Oct. 6

Seven groups are hitting the road in Alabama after winning road trip giveaways from the state Tourism Department.

More than 46,000 people entered the contest to win themed trips like a beach getaway to Gulf Shores and a golf package in Prattville. They included transportation, accommodations, meals and admission to area attractions.

The values ranged from about $1,500 to about $5,000.

Winners came from Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Washington, D.C.

“A promotion of this caliber highlights the quality, diversity and beauty of destinations that make Alabama attractive to tourists,” said Lee Sentell, Director of the Alabama Tourism Department. “We are pleased to rally our industry partners to showcase our state to visitors in such a unique way.”

People could enter on the department’s Facebook page or a special website.

The department said it had more 71,533 visits to the site and added more than 8,000 fans on Facebook through the promotion.

The Prattville road trip giveaway included a two-night stay for two people in the Presidential Cottage at the Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill, daily breakfast, two days of unlimited golf at Capitol Hill and a $750 Visa gift card.

To read the article online, go to:

Baumhower’s ShrimpFest and BBQ event returns to Oak Mountain for finale

By Martin J. Reed,, Oct. 6

After kicking off the inaugural Baumhower’s ShrimpFest and Barbecue event at Oak Mountain State Park last November, the event that delivered delicious Alabama seafood to places around the state is returning for its finale.

The concluding event starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday near Oak Mountain State Park’s beach area. For the $3 admission price, visitors can enjoy fresh Alabama Gulf Coast boiled shrimp, gumbo, barbecue, live music and inflatables for the kids.

There are just 2,000 tickets available.

ShrimpFest partners include Alabama State Parks, Baumhower’s Restaurant, Alabama Gulf Seafood, Good People Brewing Company, Red Diamond, Buffalo Rock, Conecuh Sausage, Alabama Propane, ZeeKee Interactive, SRA Foods and Woodfruitticher.

Baumhower’s ShrimpFest and Barbecue launched last year at Oak Mountain State Park to coincide with the state’s promotion of 2014 as the Year of the Park in Alabama. This year celebrated the 75th anniversary of Alabama’s state parks.

Throughout 2014, the event visited Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Lake Point State Park in Eufaula, Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville and Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville.

“The ShrimpFests are perfect examples of the many partnerships the state parks have with local governments, civic clubs, user groups and the business community,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a press release.

“Partnerships like these contribute greatly to the success of the entire park system, while benefiting all Alabamians through outdoor recreation. I appreciate Bob Baumhower’s support for Alabama’s beautiful state parks during its 75th anniversary,” Bentley said.

Bob Baumhower, a former NFL and University of Alabama football player who is CEO of Aloha Hospitality, commended the state for supporting the event. “This has been an exciting time for the state parks system and I’m honored to have partnered with them to highlight its 75 years of service,” he said.

The final stop of ShrimpFest will include a proclamation declaring “Bob Baumhower Day.”

For more information about the event, call the park’s office at (205) 620-2520.

To read this article online, go to:

Alabama Tourism Workshop a big success

The Alabama Tourism Workshop held in Montgomery on Oct. 7, was considered a big success by the attendees as well as tourism staff members.  The purpose of the workshop is for the attendees to learn about the many programs and services the Alabama Tourism Department offers.

Those in attendance were:

Aviva D. Muhammad, Manager, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

Tina J. Williams, Director of Sales, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Montgomery

Percy B. Gill, Councilman, City of Wetumpka

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews, Director, Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce

Wanda Overstreet, South Mobile County Tourism Board

Annette Johnson, Councilperson, City of Bayou La Batre

Treva V. Wilson, Owner, LDL Traveler Agency

Kim Dunn, Director of Marketing & Events, Alexander City Chamber of Commerce

Garryea Caffey, Event Planner, Masive Events & Designs, Tuskegee

E. Ann Clemons, Tour Guide Specialist, Triple E Group Services, Montgomery

Sheryl Vickery, Executive Director, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce

Derrick Owens, Director of Sales, Hilton Hotel, Hope Hull

Cotina Terry, Executive Director, Randolph County Economic Development Authority

Florence Giles, Education Director, Old Alabama Town, Montgomery

Vicky Grice, Executive Director, Tuskegee-Macon County Community Dev. Corp.

Lawrence Haygood, Business Dev. Specialist, Tuskegee-Macon County Community Dev. Corp.

Donovan Archie, Civil Rights Memorial Center, Montgomery

Jim Inscoe, President, Jasmine Hill Gardens & Outdoor Museum, Wetumpka

Tunisia Thomas, Membership Dir., Landmarks Foundation (Old Alabama Town), Montgomery

David Melling, Smith-Byrd House, Prattville

There will be another workshop in Birmingham at the McWane Science Center on Thurs., Oct. 9 and the workshops will be offered again in March or April.  Watch your Tourism Tuesdays newsletter for details.

Canadian Traveller posts Alabama information

The Canadian Traveller website has added an Alabama article this month called “Alabama: The Yellowhammer State.”   Published Oct. 4, the story lists several What’s New items including;

·       Rock N Roll Heaven, the increase in tourism in Muscle Shoals due to Stephen Badger’s Muscle Shoals documentary

·       Civil Rights Anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March

·       Bus Boycott Anniversary, the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

 Photographs of downtown Montgomery and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center were featured in the article.

Attractions highlighted were: the Mobile Carnival Museum, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Events highlighted were: Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s performance season in Montgomery, Mardi Gras in Mobile, To Kill A Mockingbird play in Monroeville, Helen Keller Festival & Miracle Worker play in Tuscumbia and the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores.

Three Alabama cities were included in the Places section and as part of one of the Alabama Tourism Department’s trails.

·      Birmingham: Explore the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church; McWane Science Center, the Jazz Hall of Fame, and Railroad Park.

·      Mobile: Visit the Exploreum science museum, the USS Alabama battleship and sample some fresh seafood in the U.S. birthplace of Mardi Gras.

·      Montgomery: Downtown museums include the Rosa Parks Museum, Dexter King Memorial Baptist Church and the Civil Rights Memorial. You can also visit the Hank Williams Museum and the Mooseum.

·      Civil Rights Trail: Stops include the Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park and 4th Avenue North in Birmingham.  The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Rosa Parks Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial were included in Montgomery.

The article also listed small town destinations in a section called Hidden Gems.

·      Mentone: Ideal base for exploring De Soto State Park and Little River Canyon National Preserve. North East Alabama.

·      Fairhope: A small, quaint artist community where the author Winston Groom (Forrest Gump) and the artist Nall reside. Mobile Bay.

The Canadian Traveller website was developed by the magazine of the same name as a place to promote their extensive experiences and world travel information.  To see the article, go to:

For more information on Alabama Tourism Department’s international marketing efforts, contact

Upcoming Decatur archery tournament to host U.S. Olympians

By Jack Madison, WAFF TV 48, Sept. 30

The 2015 Outdoor Nationals will be held in Decatur in July 2015, the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced recently.  In the world of competitive archery, this is the biggest event in the United States.

The 2015 Outdoor Nationals is a combination of the U.S. National Target Championships, The U.S. Open, and the Junior Olympic Development Championships.  Most of those who will be on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Archery Team in Rio de Janeiro will be competing.

Melinda Dunn, CVB president said there will be more than 1,500 athletes, family members, and supporters in town for the 6-day event, and they estimate that will mean up to $3 million for the local economy.

When asked why they selected Decatur, Denise Parker, CEO of USA Archery said, “The Jack Allen Recreation Center is first rate.  It provides us the space and field usage that we need. Second to that, we can’t do it without some sort of community support and Decatur has a great CVB, great hospitality and hotel packages, and it’s a community that embraces our organization.”

The 2015 USA Archery Outdoor Nationals will take place July 1-5 at the Jack Allen Complex.

To read the entire article, go to:

Board overseeing Birmingham baseball museum officially takes over project

By Joseph D. Bryant

The board overseeing building of a downtown Negro League baseball museum officially took responsibly for the project last week and approved major contracts for construction, planning and oversight.

The museum will be built near Regions Field and across from Railroad Park.

The five-member PACE board is the city-appointed authority that also oversaw development of the adjacent Regions Field baseball stadium.

The museum, set to open in April 2015, will have 15,750 square feet, including 8,700 square feet of exhibit space and 7,050 square feet for special events, a rooftop restaurant and a gift shop.

To read the entire article, go to:

Travel writers tour Lawrence County museums

By Jeff Edwards, The Moulton Advertiser, Sept. 25

Travel writers from around the country got to see just what kind of history Lawrence County has when they visited as part of a travel writers’ conference recently.

Several travel writers from numerous publications took part in a conference in Huntsville hosted by the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.  Part of the conference was going to different sites in North Alabama. One group took in the Jesse Owens Park and Museum and the Oakville Indian Mounds and Museum.

“Each of the areas we go to we spend the afternoon exploring to get material to write articles, or use social media to tell our readers where we’ve been,” said Jeffrey Lehmann, the Emmy award-winning host and producer of the television show Weekend Explorer.

Lehmann, who is based in the San Diego area, said he was very impressed by what he has seen in the area.

The group, which also included writers from the New York City and Los Angeles areas, toured the Jesse Owens Museum and replica home, taking pictures and notes about one of Lawrence County’s favorite sons.

For some in the group, it was a chance to find out more about a famous Olympian they looked up to.

“He was always someone I looked up to growing up as an athlete in Kansas,” Carla Rupp, a writer based in New York City, said. “To be able to come here to his home and visit this fantastic museum is super, super exciting.”

Joyce Cole, co-director of the Jesse Owens Museum, said people who visit the museum are often taken aback by how professionally done it is.

“They come here and expect a couple of pictures and a few books and they don’t really expect to see everything we have,” Cole said. “You expect to see museums like this in larger cities, but not in rural Lawrence County.”

The museum’s guestbook has a place for people to write their names and where they are from, and it is filled with foreign counties.

“In a year, we have people from 35 to 40 states and about 15 foreign countries,” Cole said. “We’ve had quite a few Olympians come as well as a number of Germans who come because of Owens performance in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.”

Lehmann said discovering jewels in out of the way places such as Lawrence County is sometimes more exciting for a travel writer than exploring the more well-known places.

“It’s great to come to an area and discover more than you thought was there,” Lehmann said. “I’m always open to that. It’s our responsibility as travel journalists to enlighten people to these types of attractions.”

To read the entire article, go to:

A hidden gem along historic Fort Morgan Road, Shell Banks Cemetery

By Brian Kelly,, Oct. 5

About eight miles down Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores behind the Fort Morgan Volunteer Fire Department is Shell Banks Cemetery, a small graveyard surrounded by live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. This gem on the way to historic Fort Morgan is tucked behind Shell Banks Baptist Church. Here, visitors will discover names like Plash, Calloway, and Wallace, the names of some of the oldest families in Pleasure Island. There are about 270 visible headstones remaining (the parcel of land has seen vandalism and theft over the years) but the most interesting tombstones are those of soldiers from the Civil War. There are reportedly five Confederate soldiers buried at the site, but only three are visible, the earliest being 1864 with the latest being 1901.

The cemetery has come to be known to some locals over the years as Persimmon Swamp Cemetery or Old Spanish Cemetery. The historical marker in front of the church claims that in 1539 the Indian village of “Achuse” was visited by an expedition from the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto. Locals claim the cemetery holds pirates, Native Americans and others. While that remains to be seen, we do know Civil War soldiers are buried there. It’s worth the time to read the historical marker to get a full understanding of this gem along Fort Morgan Road. If you’re lucky enough to encounter a local, you might hear some fascinating tales about Shell Banks Cemetery.

To read the entire article and view the pictures, go to:

Jackson County wins award

Jackson County’s principal media piece: Your Alabama Road Trip Begins in the Mountains and Lakes of Jackson County will be given the Excellence in Craft award at the SEOPA (South East Outdoor Press Association) annual conference on Thursday.  Jackson County Tourism Director J.P. Parsons had a major part in the design and creation of the piece and will accept the award.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Oct. 9                          Tourism Workshop, McWane Science Center, Birmingham

Nov. 3 – 6                   World Travel Market, London, England

Nov. 9 – 11                 2014 Alabama Welcome Center Educational Retreat

Dec. 2 – 4                    Travel South International Showcase, New Orleans

Dec. 5 – 8                    Travel South International Super FAM to Alabama

Tourism Tuesdays is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry.

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