Tourism Tuesdays May 26, 2015


  • Deadline for April Walking Tours 2016 is Monday
  • Attention: Alabama gift shop owners and managers
  • Alabama Restaurant Week set for August 14 – 23
  • Stones play ‘Sticky Fingers’ live for first time, including 3 songs originally recorded in Alabama
  • CVB/Port of Huntsville team up to launch Visitor Information Kiosk
  • Alabama Voices recognized by the American Association for State and Local History
  • The world’s largest alligator is now on display at the Mann Museum
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to commemorate Juneteenth
  • Alabama Historical Commission announces change in leadership
  • DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park celebrates 50 years of business
  • Nominations are open for the 2015 Tourism Awards
  • Search is on for Alabama Barbecue Restaurants
  • Alabama Makers
  • Mobile apps will be featured in 2016 Alabama Vacation Guide
  • 2016 Vacation Guide & Calendar of Event deadlines
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Deadline for April Walking Tours 2016 is Monday

Town interested in participating in the 2016 April Walking Tours should respond with an email giving their town’s name, starting location, contact person and shipping address to  The deadline to sign-up for the walking tours is Monday, June 1.

More than 1,600 people participated in this year’s April Walking Tours. Some 27 towns across the state hosted the tours.  The hour long tours start at 10:00 a.m. each Saturday morning in April. Dates for the 2016 April Walking Tours are April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.

“These tours are an excellent way for towns and communities of any size to be involved in a state-wide tourism campaign,” said Brian Jones with the Alabama Tourism Department.  “There is no cost to participate and state tourism provides all the posters, brochures and collateral materials. More than 20,000 people have participated in the tours since the beginning of the program twelve years ago” he said.

Attention: Alabama gift shop owners and managers

All gift shop owners and managers have an excellent opportunity to see many of the amazing things that are crafted right here in Alabama at the first Alabama Makers Market.

The Alabama Tourism Department will host the event on Thur., June 4, at the RSA Activity Center in Montgomery.  The market will showcase talented Alabama artists and crafters of Alabama especially for the gift shop owners and managers in Alabama.  Registration is requested, but not required, and there is no charge to attend

Hours of the market are 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  The RSA Activity Center is located at 201 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL  36104.

To register, contact Leigh Cross: OR by phone, 334-242-4416.

Alabama Restaurant Week set for August 14 – 23
Enrollment set for mid-June

The Alabama Tourism Department is preparing for the annual Alabama Restaurant Week promotion.  Held each August, the campaign is aimed at highlighting local restaurants in the state.  For a 10-day period, participating restaurants list their special Alabama Restaurant Week special meal.

This year’s event is set for August 14th-23rd.

Last year 238 restaurants participated in Alabama Restaurant Week.  The restaurants were located in 55 Alabama cities and towns.

The eight Alabama Tourism Department Welcome Centers distributed 30,000 Alabama Restaurant Week rack cards to visitors traveling in Alabama.  The Alabama Tourism Department supports the event with a public relations release and social media campaign. The Alabama Tourism Department provides in-store material for participating restaurants. In addition, many cities have their own Restaurant Week promotional material in support of the Alabama Tourism Department’s efforts.

To qualify for participation, a restaurant must be locally owned and operated and/or a restaurant important to the tourism industry and located in Alabama.  Most chain restaurants do not quality. Alabama Tourism Department reserves the right to include or deny any restaurant. Restaurant must enroll through and enter their specials before the beginning of the promotion.  Restaurants can start enrolling in mid-June.

The Alabama Restaurant Week set price multi–course meal(s) of $10, $20 and $30 for dinner and $5, $10 and $15 for lunch excludes tax, tip and drink. A restaurant may participate in all three preset prices for both lunch or dinner, or just one or any combination.  A restaurant does not have to participate in both lunch and dinner.

For more information on Alabama Restaurant Week, contact:

Stones play ‘Sticky Fingers’ live for first time, including 3 songs originally recorded in Alabama

By Matt Wake,, May 21

Recently in Los Angeles The Rolling Stones played their taut, narcotic 1971 album “Sticky Fingers” in its entirety for the first time ever. The LP includes three songs recorded in Muscle Shoals. The strutting “Brown Sugar,” pastoral “Wild Horses” and highway-blues “You Gotta Move.” According to the last time The Stones performed the latter song was Aug. 21, 1976 at England’s Knebworth Park Festival.

The Stones recorded those three “Sticky Fingers” tunes Dec. 2 – 4, 1969 at Sheffield’s Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Studio co-owner Jimmy Johnson – also guitarist with session musicians Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section aka The Swampers – engineered the tracks.

In our 2014 interview, Johnson said he didn’t know he was going to record the British bad-boys until about 12 hours before the session. “Because Jimmy (Miller, Stones producer) didn’t make it,” Johnson said. “He didn’t make the flight.”

The Stones sessions, held about a year after Muscle Shoals Sound opened, typically began around 6 p.m., Johnson said. “The songs were not even finished, two of them, ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Wild Horses,’ they wrote them as we were doing them.”

Johnson didn’t recall The Stones needing more than five or six takes to nail the three “Sticky Fingers” cuts.  “I found out what their engineer/producer does: They put it together on the floor themselves and it’s kind of a joint venture between Keith and Mick,” he said, referring to guitarist Keith Richards and frontman Mick Jagger.

Interestingly, Wednesday in Los Angeles the Stones played the “Sticky Fingers” material in a different sequence than on the album, which opens with “Brown Sugar” and closes with “Moonlight Mile.” The first tune played from the LP at the Fonda Theatre was the appropriately titled mid-tempo track “Sway.” Typically when rock groups perform an entire album live they adhere to the original track list. “Sticky Fingers” also contains apex Stones tracks like riff-rockers “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” and country lark “Dead Flowers.”

The Los Angeles show took place at the 1,200-capacity Fonda Theatre. By comparison, upcoming Stones stops on the “Zip Code Tour” – so named because of the zipper sewn into the Andy Warhol-designed “Sticky Fingers” cover art – in Atlanta and Nashville will be at 55,000- and 68,798-capacity stadiums. (June 9 at Bobby Dodd Stadium and June 17 at LP Field, respectively.) For decades the band has often played an intimate show as a final tune-up before kicking off tours in much larger venues. The 15-city “Zip Code Tour” official opens May 24 at San Diego’s Petco Park.

The Stones lineup still features original drummer Charlie Watts and Ron Wood, the spiky-haired ex-Faces guitarist who joined the group in the mid-70s.

The Fonda Theatre set included a couple non-“Sticky” deep cuts, including “When The Whip Comes Down,” from 1978’s “Some Girls” disc. And mandatory smashes, like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” The group also covered B.B. King’s blues shuffle “Rock Me Baby” and Otis Redding’s R&B raver “Can’t Turn You Loose.”

LA Weekly reporter Lina Lecaro wrote of the show: “We got to absorb more of the band’s chemistry seeing them so close, of course, but it was Sticky’s slower tempo numbers that really laid it bare … the bluesy beauty of tracks like ‘Sway,’ ‘Sister Morphine,’ ‘I Got the Blues,’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ enthralled like nothing else.”

The Fonda Theatre show was announced Wednesday morning on, with tickets going on sale at noon. According to LA Weekly, lucky fans able to purchase tickets paid $10 online via credit card and received that same amount back in cash when picking up their tickets.

Yes, these “Sticky Fingers” were free.

To read the entire article online, go to:

CVB/Port of Huntsville team up to launch Visitor Information Kiosk
Redesigned portal aims to enhance visitor experience, encourage return trip

The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) along with the Huntsville International Airport have announced a redesigned Visitor Information Kiosk, available during airport operating hours to provide visitors with information on area attraction, dining, hotel and activity offerings. The touch-screen kiosk also provides information from 18 counties in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee, Huntsville International Airport’s service area.

The new Visitor Information Kiosk replaces older kiosk technology and provides a swifter, more intuitive user-experience better aligned with the demands of a socially and digitally connected audience.

“It’s crucial we catch visitors at what is often their very first impression of our community – Huntsville International Airport – and not only make them feel welcome, but provide them the information they need to fully explore our community. That’s the goal of the new Visitor Information Kiosk. ” President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB Judy Ryals said. “And we’ve got great news for them. There’s so much to do here that they’ll need to book a return trip as soon as possible.”

The Huntsville/Madison County CVB operates a Visitor Information Booth by the baggage claim area of Huntsville International Airport. Staffed seven days a week to provide in-person guidance and assistance to visitors, the Visitor Information Booth is stocked with maps, visitor guides and other helpful information for visitors to Huntsville/Madison County.

“At Huntsville International Airport, we know that we are the doorstep to the community, and we have a unique opportunity to set the tone for visitors by painting a picture of what our area has to offer,” Public Relations Manager of Huntsville International Airport said.  “There’s no better way to do that than by forming a partnership with the organizations in this community that are the living, breathing essence of the area.  We simply offer a venue where they can promote themselves effectively.”

Alabama Voices recognized by the American Association for State and Local History

Alabama Voices, located in the Alabama Department of Archives & History (ADAH), has been selected to receive a Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History at their annual meeting in Louisville on Sept. 16-19.

Steve Murray, director of the ADAH, said, “The award confirms what we’ve known for a long while now—that a team of very talented and dedicated professionals worked together to bring the Museum of Alabama from a vision to reality.  Many people had a significant hand in making it possible.

“The exhibit has had a terrific 15 months since opening. Our visitation numbers are the highest since the early 1990s, and we scored tremendously well in a visitor evaluation program called Visitors Count! ( We will be sending out more details on those results soon.”

For more information, go to:

The world’s largest alligator is now on display at the Mann Museum
Giant Gator’s Age Revealed as 24 to 28 Years Old

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA), created in 2009 to promote the 23 Black Belt counties in Alabama, today celebrated the unveiling of the world-record American alligator caught on the Alabama River and now on exhibit at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum in Montgomery.

“This is a great example of the many activities that draw outdoors enthusiasts from all across the U.S. as well as Alabama residents to this region each year,” said Pam Swanner, ALBBAA Project Director. “It’s a testament to the fact that Alabama’s Black Belt region is a premier outdoor destination.”

Lifelong Black Belt residents Mandy and John Stokes of Thomaston, joined by Mandy’s brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his teenage children, Savannah and Parker, had no idea their first attempt to bag an alligator during the state’s short gator season would yield a Safari Club International-certified world record.

“It was just amazing,” Mandy Stokes said. “That was a long night, but it didn’t seem long. There were a couple of times we were sitting and waiting, but we had a job to do.”

The bull gator measured 15 feet, 9 inches to earn the Safari Club designation. It weighed 1,011.5 pounds and experts determined it was between 24 and 28 years old.

The Stokes family was joined at the unveiling by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Director Charles F. “Chuck” Sykes, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and State Sen. Clyde Chambliss of Prattville.

“I see this today as a celebration,” Guy said. “It’s really a celebration of the American hunter and the hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists who support our cause.”

For more information, go to

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to commemorate Juneteenth

BCRI will host entertaining and educational activities each Saturday in June to commemorate Juneteenth and the 150th anniversary of the ending of slavery in lieu of the Juneteenth Cultural Festival.  BCRI will also hold a special commemoration on Fri., June 19, the date identified historically as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement in Texas that slavery had been abolished.  White Texans had managed to keep the Emancipation Proclamation secret from 1863 until that day, when forced by the occupying Yankee soldiers to reveal the truth.  The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and is a time for reassuring each other and for family gatherings.  Juneteenth is an official holiday in a number of U.S. states.

For more information about BCRI and Juneteenth, call 328-9696, x 234 or visit the web site:

DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park celebrates 50 years of business

Desoto Caverns Family Fun Park brings back the Native American Festival as part of their 50 Year Celebration.

The two day event will be held Sat. & Sun., June 13 & 14, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  It will feature three different Native American Tribes performing in their vibrant, native regalia.  Continuous entertainment throughout both days will include various Native American dances, drumming acts, storytelling, basket weaving, bead work demonstrations and many other Native American traditions.  There will be a variety of craft and food vendors on hand.

Festival gate fee is $10 for adults, $8 for children 5-11, and children 4 and under get in free.  There will be free parking.  The caverns and all park attractions will also be operational during the two day event.

Alabama Historical Commission announces change in leadership

The Alabama Historical Commission recently appointed Lisa Jones acting executive director.  Ms. Jones had been serving as the commission’s director of finance.

The Commission also elected a new chairman, Dr. Jim Day, professor of history at the University of Montevallo, after Dr. Karen Rogers stepped down from that role.  Rogers will remain a member of the Commission.  Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan, USAF (ret.), was elected secretary of the Commission.

The change in leadership comes as the Historical Commission is preparing for a review by the Legislature’s Sunset Committee in the summer of 2015. Legislation currently in the House of Representatives would dissolve the Commission and transfer its functions to other state agencies.

“The Commission faces serious challenges in addressing its financial condition and regaining the confidence of state leaders and stakeholders,” said Chairman Day. “Today’s meeting was an opportunity to restate our commitment to good stewardship of the state’s resources, both historical and fiscal. We have a superb staff and dedicated commissioners who are going to work together to articulate the significance and benefits of the agency’s mission for Alabama’s citizens.”

For more information, go to:

Nominations are open for the 2015 Tourism Awards

Awards nominations are open for the 2015 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

There are 14 categories that nominations are accepted they are: Director’s Award, Tourism Hall of Fame, Attraction of the Year, Governor’s Tourism Award, Organization of the Year, Event of the Year, Rising Star, ATD Employee of the Year, Welcome Center of the Year, Tourism (Advocate) Media, Tourism (Advocate) Government, Tourism Executive of the Year, Tourism Employee of the Year and Tourism Partnership of the Year.

For each nomination submit a one page statement explaining why the nominee is deserving of the award (required). Supporting material such as a binder/notebook with letters, memos, press releases or other documentation to support your nomination (optional).

It is permissible to nominate your attraction, event, organization or co-worker for an award. You may also nominate yourself for an award.

The deadline for getting your nominations in is June 19.

Please send nominations to: Cynthia Flowers,

The conference will be held at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel & Spa in Mobile, Aug. 1-4.

For registration and more information, go to:

Search is on for Alabama Barbecue Restaurants

The Alabama Tourism Department is conducting a search for barbecue restaurants around the state that might not have made it into the Alabama Barbecue book.  If you are or know of any barbecue restaurants in your area, please go to to sign in and join Alabama Tourism’s Year of Alabama Barbecue.

Alabama Makers

Alabama is home to a vast number of talented and creative people who produce a wide variety of items including, but not limited to, woodwork, paintings, ceramics, fabrics and a lot of food.

The Alabama Tourism Department is looking for information about these artists and their products.  We are interested in the home-grown cottage industries rather than the industrial giants.

Please send information about people and their products, including contact information, to Peggy Collins, or call 334-242-4545.

Mobile apps will be featured in 2016 Alabama Vacation Guide

We need your assistance.  We are compiling a list of mobile apps offered by our Alabama Tourism Industry Partners.  A section in the 2016 Alabama Vacation Guide will be dedicated to mobile apps that promote the Alabama Tourism Industry.

If your organization has developed mobile apps to promote your area/attraction/business/event, please send a description and link to JoJo Terry,  Please send information regarding mobile apps that are even in the development stage.   The deadline is May 29.

If you have any questions, please contact JoJo Terry by email or phone, 334-353-4716 (direct line).

2016 Vacation Guide & Calendar of Event deadlines

It’s time to submit information in order to have your attractions and events listed in the printed version of the Alabama Vacation Guide & Calendar of Events.  The listings must be entered into the website by June 30, for the Calendar of Events, and July 10, for the Vacation Guide.

The web address is:

If you have any questions, call Pam Smith at 334-353-4541.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

May 28                        Ardmore Welcome Center Tourism Celebration
I-65 South of TN Line
May 29                        Deadline to get images to ATD
May 29                        Deadline to turn in mobile app information to ATD
June 1                          Deadline to sign up for 2016 April Walking Tours
June 4                          Alabama Makers Market, RSA Activity Center, Montgomery
June 30                        Deadline for Calendar of Events
July 9                          Alabama Tourism Workshop in Montgomery
July 10                        Deadline for Vacation Guide

 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.

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