Tourism Tuesdays July 14, 2015

>AL governor proclaims July 14 Go Set A Watchman Day
>The Wall Street Journal: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman takes over literary world
>LA Times: Harper Lee’s hometown in a frenzy on the eve of Go Set a Watchman release
>Watchman to bring more dollars to Mockingbird town
>World attends Harper Lee’s Watchman celebration today
>Harper Lee ‘chortled’ over Watchman reviews, Wayne Flynt says
>Anticipation builds in Alabama for Go Set a Watchman
>Johnny Depp’s company developing series based on music documentary
>Bobby and Jamie Deen’s north Alabama visit to air this month on Food Network show
>Fishing tournament boosts economy in the Shoals
>Frank Jackson State Park Trail Masters
> One-tank trip: Gadsden, Ala.: Natural wonders only part of attraction
>Man once bedridden with broken back to complete 650-mile canoe trip
>New tagging program studying horseshoe crab population on Alabama coast
>PGA Tour event could make $25 million impact in Auburn-Opelika
>Prattville lands new hotel
>Alabama best friends compete on HGTV’s Beach Flip reality show
>Southern sounds in Suffolk: Maverick Festival 2015
>Bellingrath Gardens and Home hires Director of Special Events
>Twenty-four Alabama Restaurant Week signups in first week
>Make a difference by donating to the AGCT Silent Auction
>Search is on for Alabama Barbecue Restaurants
>Alabama artists and craftspeople
>Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


AL governor proclaims July 14 Go Set A Watchman Day

To celebrate the book release of Alabama author Harper Lee’s latest novel, Governor Robert Bentley announced on Monday that July 14, 2015, is proclaimed Go Set a Watchman Day in Alabama.

Lee’s new novel was released at midnight Monday.

“The release of Go Set a Watchman is an exciting time for our state,” Bentley said. “To join the national and international excitement surrounding the book, I have proclaimed Tuesday as Go Set a Watchman Day in our state. Harper Lee is a great source of pride for our state, and the literary mark she has left on our state and nation should be commended. I am honored to issue this proclamation in recognition of her second book being released.”

To Kill a Mockingbird, published in July 1960, was Lee’s first published novel. The novel focused on segregation, tolerance and the trial of a black man falsely accused of raping a young white woman during the Depression era in rural Alabama. The novel went on to become an international bestseller, and was adapted for the screen in 1962. Earning eight Academy Award nominations, the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird won four awards, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch. To date, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into 40 languages.

In 1997, by joint proclamation of the Legislature, Monroeville, Alabama, was designated as the “Literary Capital of Alabama” because of its history to produce many famous writers. The state of Alabama has a diverse and rich literary heritage, and is home to several Alabama-born authors.

Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell commented that the impact of Alabama authors is an important segment of the tourism economy.

“Harper Lee and other authors whose stories are set in Alabama are responsible for attracting many visitors who want to experience the towns they read about,” Sentell said. “Literary tourism is a growing segment of our hospitality industry.”

The Wall Street Journal: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman hits shelves, takes over the literary world
By Jennifer Maloney and Anna Russell, The Wall Street Journal, July 14

Harper Lee‘s “Go Set a Watchman” went on sale in more than 70 countries Tuesday amid much celebration and more than a little trepidation.

While readers and booksellers from Yokohama to London and New York welcomed the novel, some people said they had canceled their preorders because of the revelation that Atticus Finch, the beloved character from Ms. Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is depicted in “Watchman” as a segregationist.

“It’s a game changer, and it’s the literary event of my lifetime,” said bookseller Sarah Sawyers-Lovett of Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Philadelphia. About 25 fans gathered there to celebrate the book’s midnight release with bourbon-laced Lane cake, a dessert mentioned in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“Watchman,” submitted in 1957, was Ms. Lee’s first attempt at writing a novel. It featured a character named Jean Louise “Scout” Finch as an adult, returning home to visit her father in Alabama. Ms. Lee revised the manuscript, under the direction of her editor, to focus on Scout’s childhood. The result was “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which has sold more than 40 million copies, and is among the most commonly assigned novels in American schools.

Interest in “Watchman” – and questions about how the manuscript came to light– have surged since its rediscovery was announced in February. HarperCollins, the book’s U.S. publisher, has printed more than 2 million copies. HarperCollins, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp.

“Watchman” is the most pre-ordered book on since “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007. At Barnes & Noble, it is the most pre-ordered title since Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” in 2009, said Mary Amicucci, vice president of adult trade and children’s books.

“We wanted to be one of the first places where people could come to pick up their book,” she said.

At the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., a crowd of 60 people counted down to midnight, when a bookseller cut into cardboard boxes bearing orange embargo labels. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, the store had sold just over 200 copies, including preorders.

In London, hundreds of fans lined up before midnight at the Piccadilly Circus Waterstones bookshop, the flagship store of the country’s largest bookselling chain. James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, said he expected to sell 20,000 to 30,000 copies of the book in the first day, and 100,000 in the first week.

Across the U.S., Barnes & Noble stores opened early at 7 a.m. At the Barnes & Noble store in New York’s Union Square, a large sign out front advertised a free hot coffee and a tote bag for early buyers of the new book. But journalists outnumbered customers when the doors opened there Tuesday.

Mekdad Muthana, 25 years old, was among the early birds, arriving at about 6:30 a.m. Mr. Muthana, who works in retail and studies literature at the City College of New York, described himself as “a big fan of Atticus Finch.” He said he had so far avoided reading reviews or the book’s first chapter, which was published by the Journal on Friday.

“I’m going back home to read the book,” he said. “I want to read it first and have my own opinions.”

To read this entire article online, go to:

LA Times: Harper Lee’s hometown in a frenzy on the eve of Go Set a Watchman release
By Kerry Madden, Los Angeles Times, July 10

Monroeville, Ala., rests approximately 100 miles equidistant from Mobile and Montgomery, not on the way to anywhere, but it has become a key stop on the literary map of America thanks to Harper Lee and her next-door neighbor and childhood best friend, Truman Capote.

Local newspaper clippings about “To Kill a Mockingbird” circa 1960 include “This Mockingbird Is a Happy Singer,” “Monroeville Thrills to News of Native Daughter’s Award” and “Mockingbird Author Wants to Disappear.” Fifty-five years later, as the world awaits the publication of “Go Set a Watchman,” the town mood is similarly mixed – celebratory but also tempered by questions in the media about whether the publicity-shy, 89-year-old author (known to her friends as Nelle) is being exploited.

“Monroeville is pretty subdued,” says Nathan Carter, cousin of Lee’s childhood pal, Truman Capote. “There is a lot of trepidation with this new book. There is also the element of balancing what Nelle would want. We’ve spent our lives maintaining her privacy. We’re not sure what we should or should not say. Do we completely change? What does this all mean? There’s nobody to give us permission.”

Carter says he takes comfort in the assurances of Alabama historian Wayne Flynt, a close friend of Lee’s, whom Flynt sees on a regular basis at the assisted living facility in Monroeville. Flynt told NPR: “Does she understand what’s going on? If you make her hear, she can understand what’s going on. Can she give informed consent? Absolutely, she can give informed consent. She knows what she likes, who she likes, what she doesn’t like.”

Flynt will be speaking publicly about “Go Set a Watchman” with Harper Lee expert Nancy Anderson, in the courtroom at the Monroe County Heritage Museum on Wednesday, the day after “Watchman” is published — one of many festivities the town has planned for residents and tourists.

On the day of the book’s launch, the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce will serve lemonade and teacakes and the museum will do a marathon read of “Go Set a Watchman” the same way it did for “To Kill a Mockingbird’s” 50th anniversary, also in the courtroom. “It will be a first-come, first-serve for whoever wants to read,” says Stephanie Rogers, director of the museum. “We just want to honor Miss Lee.”

Monroeville’s population is just more than 6,000 residents, and the local bookstore, Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe, has already presold 7,000 copies of the new book from local and nonlocal sales. The bookstore’s release party (from midnight to 2 a.m. Monday night) will include finger food and a Gregory Peck imitator.

The number of books already presold is remarkable, according to Lee Sentell, Alabama tourism director since 2003. Sentell attended a lunch last week for Harper Lee held at the Prop and Gavel, a restaurant across from the courthouse. Asked about the author’s state of mind, Sentell says that “other than some mobility issues, she is sharp, decisive and in charge.”

Charming second-hand anecdotes about Lee circulate through the town. Sentell says at the Prop and Gavel lunch that he spoke to a HarperCollins employee who told him the story of how Lee was given a mock-up of the forthcoming book’s jacket earlier this year.

“She looked at it and said there should be no comma after the word ‘Go,’ ” says Sentell. “It was then pointed out to her by one of the editors that in the King James Version of Isaiah 21:6 there is a comma.” According to Sentell, Lee responded, “‘That’s the Lord’s Book. This is my book. And there is no comma.’”

In “Mockingbird,” Scout remarks of a tea party: “Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere” — and the feeling in town is a little like that tea party, according to Crissy Nettles, who played Miss Stephanie in a staging of the play at the courthouse this past spring with the Mockingbird Players. “People are speculating or bringing their already-formed opinions to the table, all mixed in with the rest of the local gossip. And everyone from here who has ever met Miss Lee is sure she won’t be in the public eye, but everyone who comes or calls in from Des Moines to Der Spiegel wants to know if she’ll be front and center, signing books and waving and smiling.”

Chances are slim of that occurring, although I did get to meet Harper Lee back in 2012, when Fannie Flagg was presented with the Harper Lee Award, which is given to a distinguished Alabama writer to celebrate a body of literary work. After the ceremony in Monroeville, Lee was wheeled out to the curb to wait for her ride back to the assisted living facility. I had written “Up Close Harper Lee,” a biography for teenagers, and a friend asked, “Did you tell her you wrote the book?”

I said, “No, I didn’t.” The thought of approaching her when I’d spent years respecting her privacy filled me with dread. It was one of those now or never moments, so, terrified, I went outside and knelt down beside her while she waited alone and introduced myself. She looked hard in my face and yelled, “WHAT?”

I remembered she was hard of hearing, so with my heart slamming inside my chest I yelled back, “I’m Kerry Madden and I wrote the book about you for teenagers, ‘Up Close Harper Lee.’”

She broke into a radiant smile and said, “Oh, honey, bless your heart,” and we squeezed hands and it was over.

Next week, we’ll be seeing Maycomb again through the eyes of the adult Scout in “Go Set a Watchman.” It’s unlikely that Harper Lee will be out and about greeting the crowds in Monroeville, but I’m hoping this book is everything she wants it to be.

To read this article online, go to:

Watchman to bring more dollars to Mockingbird town
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 13

All eyes are on Monroeville, Ala., in anticipation of the July 14 launch of Harper Lee’s second book, “Go Set a Watchman.” Monroeville, between Montgomery and Mobile, is believed to be the inspiration behind Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

The legions of fans expected to descend on the small town in celebration of the novel’s debut will be treated to a very different Monroeville as it transforms into Maycomb circa 1955, the fictional town at the center of “Mockingbird,” complete with vintage vehicles, an adult “Scout” and an aging “Atticus.”

But for now, Monroeville, with a waning population of 6,519, looks like the shrinking Southern town that it is.

The historic courthouse looms over shuttered shops and businesses on the town square. Vanity Fair Mills and Georgia Pacific’s plywood plants, once the cornerstones of Monroeville’s long industrial heritage, shut down years ago, taking with them hundreds of jobs. And with nearly a third of Monroeville’s population living in poverty, there doesn’t appear to be many economic bright spots for the town.

Despite these realities, tourism remains a pillar of Monroeville’s economy. Each year, about 30,000 people visit the self-proclaimed “Literary Capital of Alabama,” bringing with them about $8.4 million, and almost $114,000 through the Alabama state lodging tax, according to the Alabama Tourism Department.

This revenue is largely due to the town’s connection to Lee’s “Mockingbird,” as Monroeville is a major stop on the Southern Literary Trail. Droves of fans come to enjoy Mockingbird-themed restaurants and lodging, statues recognizing characters, murals depicting scenes from the novel, and countless other sites of “Mockingbird” significance. The town’s annual dramatization of “Mockingbird” alone is estimated to have an economic impact of nearly $1 million.

The Alabama Writers Symposium, now in its 18th year, is also an economic driver for Monroeville. The literary festival attracts many of the state’s most celebrated writers and scholars.

It’s also worth noting that Lee is not the town’s only literary legend. Truman Capote, next-door neighbor and childhood friend of Lee, is also highly celebrated in Monroeville. Foundation stones from the author’s childhood home have been preserved as a memorial and is a popular destination for visitors.

Author Mark Childress, best known for “Tender” and “Crazy in Alabama,” and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker also have ties to Monroeville, further solidifying Monroeville’s status as a literary destination.

The concept that literature can have an economic impact is at the core of the mission of the SouthEastern Literary Tourism Initiative. The organization encourages writers to publish place-based fiction so that readers can celebrate the literary heritage and history of fictional sites.

“Today’s modern e-readers allow readers to instantly browse tourism websites related to fiction through links embedded into the story, but many writers and publishers have not thought to include that yet,” SELTI founder Patrick Brian Miller told

Stephanie Rogers, executive director of the Monroe County Museum, said literary tourism is the next big thing for Monroeville.

“I would be the one who would stand on the middle of the courthouse square and shout it from a pedestal: Tourism is our industry right now,” Rogers told the Alabama News Center.

If Rogers is correct, “Go Set a Watchman” could create a surge to Monroeville’s already growing literary tourism industry.

To read this article online, go to:


World attends Harper Lee’s Watchman celebration today
By Rick Harmon, Montgomery Advertiser, July 14

Gov. Robert Bentley has proclaimed today Go Set a Watchman day in Alabama to celebrate the release of Alabama author Harper Lee’s novel, and people from all over the world are already here for the celebration.

CNN, a Saudi Arabian TV station, a British TV station, two British newspapers and the New York Times, were already in Monroeville on Monday.

“And this is a day before the book comes out,” said Travel and Tourism Director Lee Sentell. “No one has any idea how many people are going to be here Tuesday.”

Sentell downplays the state tourism department’s role in the celebration in Monroeville, saying it has “supported” the local chamber of commerce for maybe a couple of months.

He doesn’t downplay the importance of that celebration or of the release of Go Set a Watchman.

“This elevates the Alabama brand because even though To Kill a Mockingbird may be fiction, people not only feel that they know the characters, but that they are family,” he said.

Sentell said the scenes from both To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman are based on identifiable parts of Monroeville that people will want to see.”

“It also references Mobile, Birmingham and obviously Montgomery, so it really helps promote those locations too,” he said.

Tourism got involved as part of a project it is undertaking to put together a compilation of 100 Alabama road trips, but he doesn’t expect the department’s involvement to end there.

He said the Selma-to-Montgomery March celebration was an enormous success both because of the attention President Barack Obama brought with his appearance and the Oscar-winning movie and that there is a connection to Monroeville.

“You can’t drive across the Edmund Pettus Bridge without seeing people from all over the country and the world who are making a pilgrimage,” he said. “We have found that a lot of those visitors are also adding Monroeville to their trip. Because of To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s being added as part of Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail.”

Monroeville will celebrate the launch of Lee’s new novel by becoming the fictional Alabama town of Maycomb as it would have been 60 years ago.

Everyone from historian Wayne Flynt, a close friend of the author, to Jerry Pickett, who taught in Montgomery schools for 45 years will take part in the celebration.

A grownup “Scout” Finch will return from New York to visit with her aging father, Atticus, at the town made famous in To Kill a Mockingbird. There will be vintage cars and trucks parked around the 1903 courthouse and about 250 fans of the famous novel will take part in a marathon reading of Watchman.

Guides will lead walking tours around the square and point out locations that inspired scenes in both of Lee’s novels, the chamber director said.

Sentell said the independent Monroeville book store, the Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe, has already sold about 7,000 copies on “Watchman.”

To read this article online, go to:

Harper Lee ‘chortled’ over Watchman reviews, Wayne Flynt says
By Kelly Kazek,, July 14

On Monday, the day before the release of her second book, 89-year-old Nelle Harper Lee was in her element. “She chortled,” said Wayne Flynt, Lee’s friend and professor emeritus at Auburn University.

Flynt, who was in Monroeville for the release of Lee’s much-anticipated “Go Set a Watchman,” said he went to Lee’s assisted living home and showed her several articles, including the review on the front page of The New York Times, a rare position for literature.

“The argument did she want this to be published has been answered pretty overwhelmingly,” Flynt said.

The next question is: Will the publicity, much of it negative, cause Lee to have regrets. But Flynt feels Lee chose to release the book now for a reason. He said she did not follow the regular path to writing success, which would typically include dozens of rejections and magazine articles before a novel would be published. Instead, for more than 50 years, she had what amounted to a one-hit wonder.

“Basically, she felt she was living in the shadow of Truman Capote and his success,” he said. “She’s insecure. I don’t think she believed in herself.”

Monroeville native Claudia Swift isn’t worried about how “Miss Nelle” will handle the negative publicity. “She can take care of herself,” she said with a dismissive wave, reflecting the attitude of many who know her that Nelle Harper Lee is a tough old bird.

Swift, dressed Tuesday morning as Miss Stephanie from “To Kill a Mockingbird” as part of the day’s festivities, is more concerned about Lee’s surviving family, specifically Dr. Edwin Lee, Lee’s nephew and a local dentist. Edwin’s father and Nelle’s younger brother, also named Edwin Lee, died when he was 30 years old.

His son is Swift’s dentist. “He is the dearest, kindest, nicest man ever,” Swift said. Recently, he has suffered the loss of his wife and health problems and Swift is hoping he will be able to handle the swirl of publicity, including the labeling of the beloved character Atticus Finch, inspired by Lee’s father, A.C. Lee, as a racist.

“It’s infuriating,” Swift said. “It’s history. He’s not a racist. He’s a separatist. There’s a big difference. In 1935, he wanted to make sure his client got a fair and just trial. But this is the 1950s (in the “Watchman” timeline) and times have changed. Now, there’s a very real possibility of the two societies mingling and he’s not sure how he feels about that. It threw him for a loop. But he does come around at the end. It’s important for people to realize that.”

Another shock for many fans is the fact that Scout’s brother Jem has died in “Watchman.”

“People are upset about Jem being killed off but that’s what happened in real life. Her (Lee’s) brother died early,” Swift said, referring to Edwin Lee. Harper Lee’s brother and mother, Frances Finch Lee, died only weeks apart in 1951, giving a glimpse into her mindset when she would return to Monroeville for visits after moving to New York. It was a changed world for her, and not only inside her family. The idyllic young writer now understood the rumblings of change in society and viewed her family and hometown through more enlightened eyes.
Flynt said people should remember that when comparing “Mockingbird” and “Watchman.”

“‘Mockingbird’ is black and white,” he said. “It’s seen through a child’s morality.”
In “Watchman,” he says, Atticus “is a man caught in Monroeville, Ala., practicing law, not in 1932 when all blacks know their place and stay in it, but in the 1950s…In that world, Atticus Finch has to make a choice.”

Robert Champion, a retired Monroeville police detective dressed on Tuesday as the character Boo Radley from
“Mockingbird,” is grateful for the book, despite the publicity.

“The financial impact on Monroeville is tremendous,” he said, breaking from character to give his thoughts on “Watchman.”

“I haven’t even read the first chapter but I hope people don’t start to compare the two books. I hope they let it (‘Watchman’) stand on its own and realize people, even fictional book people, change.”

To read this article online, go to:


Anticipation builds in Alabama for Go Set a Watchman
By Kacey Drescher, WSFA-TV 12, July 11

Anticipation is building for the release of Alabama native Harper Lee’s new novel “Go Set a Watchman”, and with two million hard cover books being printed of a book that fewer than 100 people have read, its already bound to be a hit.

It was a forgotten manuscript.

“She said I found another manuscript,” explained Andrew Nurnberg, Publisher of Lee’s second novel. He held “Go Set a Watchman”, the soon-to-be bestseller, without even realizing it.

“They weren’t characters she dropped from ‘Mockingbird’,” Nurnberg explained. “There was a whole other manuscript, same size same pages right underneath.”

More than 50 years in the making, Lee’s latest novel is an unprecedented event in the publishing world.

“This is the largest printing of any novel in American history,” Lee Sentell explained, and with pre-sales for the book projected to beat the likes of Harry Potter, like the events surrounding the movie Selma, Alabama is once again on the map.

“Any time that a city or state has a big movie or big book that’s ever filmed there or written about the location, there is a long shelf life in the tourism industry,” Sentell, Director of the Alabama Tourism Department, admits.

Sentell expects south Alabama’s Monroeville, the real life setting of Maycomb in Lee’s novels, to see a big boost in business.

“That is like free advertising for the tourism industry,” Sentell quipped. “People want to come, they want to make a pilgrimage literally to see where something has happened, when she walks on the street, and turns onto South Alabama Street, that’s the exact street her house was on.”

With copies under lock and key until midnight releases Monday, the world is anxiously awaiting “Go Set a Watchman”.

“You open the first page and you know immediately, well this is Harper Lee,” Nurnberg states.

Books a Million opened from midnight to 1 a.m. on July 14 for the release of Harper Lee’s new novel. Bookstores in Monroeville will also be opening up at midnight for the special release. The town is also holding a marathon reading.
“Go Set a Watchman” is already the No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon.
To read this article online and see a video including interviews with publisher Andrew Nurnberg and tourism director Lee Sentell, go to:


Johnny Depp’s company developing series based on music documentary
By Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, July 7

Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil is teaming with Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced and City Entertainment to develop a series based on the music documentary “Muscle Shoals.”

The Grammy-nominated doc celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and the signature sound he developed in songs such as “I’ll Take You There,” “Brown Sugar,” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.” The TV drama will go behind the music to tell the stories of Muscle Shoals that birthed the iconic “Muscle Shoals Sound” by exploring the rich and vast milieu of the segregated South through colorful characters, cultural and political history and Southern gothic settings.

The series will feature the original doc’s director and producer Greg Camalier, who will produce the television adaptation with Depp and Christi Dembrowski of Infinitum Nihil; Virgin Produced’s Branson, Jason Felts and Justin Berfield; and City Entertainment’s Joshua D. Maurer and Alixandre Witlin. Virgin Produced’s exec VP of production Rene Rigal will also oversee the project with Infinitum Nihil’s Bobby DeLeon.

“Greg’s film unearthed the poetic mysticism and inspired us to produce a series that utilizes music and narrative in a unique and ground-breaking way,” Felts said. “This provocative story about the rich region and pioneering artists that birthed the iconic ‘Muscle Shoals Sound’ fits in with Virgin’s music roots and provides an ideal opportunity to partner with Depp, Infinitum and City Entertainment.”

Dembrowski said: “‘Muscle Shoals’ is an extraordinary story in which, through adversity, some of the world’s most amazing music was created. It is perfectly suited for Infinitum as it combines Johnny’s love of music and its history with our company’s creative mission to tell these stories.”

“Muscle Shoals,” released by Magnolia Pictures in 2013, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and received critical praise at film festivals including SXSW and Hot Docs.

To read this article online, go to:

Bobby and Jamie Deen’s north Alabama visit to air this month on Food Network show
By Lucy Berry,, July 7

Viewers can watch Paula Deen’s sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, fulfill a childhood dream later this month during the second episode of new series “Southern Fried Road Trip.”

The cooks and television personalities rolled through Huntsville and Decatur in April to film an episode for the show, which is produced by Follow Productions and will debut next week on Food Network. The “Space Camp, the Final Food Frontier” episode featuring north Alabama will air at 9 p.m. July 20.

“The south is one big culinary adventure, and on this road trip the Deen brothers let their stomachs be the guide,” said Bob Tuschman, general manager and senior vice president at Food Network.

During their visit, the Georgia natives worked up an appetite while attending Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. They later stopped at the following restaurants to try some of their best-known dishes:
C.F. Penn’s, Decatur — All the Way Slug Burger — recipe here.
Blue Plate Cafe, Huntsville — Cocoa Biscuits — recipe here.
Lyn’s Gracious Goodness, Huntsville — Tomato Pie (recipe here) and Carl John’s Fried Bologna Sandwich (recipe here).
After the July 20 premiere, the episode will run again at midnight July 21 and 2:30 p.m. July 25. Visit Food Network’s website for a full schedule.

The Deen brothers, who have starred on numerous shows for Food Network and Cooking Channel, have published four books together. Food Network failed to renew Paula Deen’s contract in 2013 after the celebrity cook admitted she used racist language in a desposition for a lawsuit by a former employee.

In June, two other well-known north Alabama restaurants were featured on Food Network shows. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q of Decatur made an appearance on “Top 5 Restaurants,” while Tuscumbia-based Rattlesnake Saloon was included on the reality TV series, “Craziest Restaurants in America.”

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Fishing tournament boosts economy in the Shoals
By Marie Waxel, WSFA TV 12, July 9

Anglers with The Bass Foundation High School World Finals are not only making waves on Pickwick Lake, but leaving their mark on the economy as well.

Tournaments like this one make a huge economic impact in the host city and surrounding areas, bringing in money and exposure to local businesses and beyond.

With 166 teams from more than two dozen states in town for the Bass Federation High School Fishing World Finals, Florence, Alabama is once again being thrust into the national spotlight.

“Approximately six people travel per boat and this is a championship, they’re practice fishing this is their family vacation, they’ve fished all year to qualify,” explained Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Assistant Director, Alison Stanfield.

After a quick economic survey at check-in, local tourism leaders say the competitors and their families are staying an average of 7-10 days in the Shoals.

“They have to buy a lot of gas, all their family members are going to be here eating, they’ve got to buy bait and tackle, they stay in hotels, so the economic impact of an event like this is well over $500,000 the week they’re in town,” said Stanfield.

Not to mention, the tournament has its own film crew and the tournament will air on national television later this summer.
Fishing isn’t the only sport helping to stimulate the local economy. Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock says recent youth softball and baseball tournaments have also impacted local businesses.

“This is just another piece of the puzzle that makes our city such a great place to live work and play,” said Haddock.

To read this article online, go to:


Frank Jackson State Park Trail Masters
The positive impact of partnerships

Several of Alabama’s 22 state parks depend upon the generosity of volunteers to help keep the parks running smoothly. From routine maintenance to park improvements, various volunteer groups are a tremendous help to Alabama’s state parks system. Many recent improvements within the parks system would not have been possible without the support of state park volunteers.

One south Alabama park in particular has a unique relationship with a local volunteer group. The Lake Frank Jackson Trail Masters have embraced Frank Jackson State Park in Opp, Ala., as an outlet for their community service. Among many other projects, the group has helped create the park’s walking trails, constructed a gazebo and installed electric service in the primitive camping area.

While community service is the group’s main focus, their signature event, Scarecrows in the Park, brings in more visitors to Frank Jackson State Park than many of the park’s other events combined. Each October since 2008, more than 300 scarecrows line the park’s three miles of walking trails. The event attracts thousands of visitors each year.

“When visitors travel to parks like Frank Jackson they spend money in the local communities, which creates tax revenue for local businesses and municipalities,” said Chris Jones, Frank Jackson State Park Manager. “Often it’s the improvements made by volunteer groups like the Trail Masters that attract new visitors to the park.”

Annual revenue generated at Frank Jackson State Park has increased more than 30 percent since the Trail Masters partnership began. The Scarecrows in the Park event is responsible for almost one-third of that increase.

Since organizing in 2003 with 12 members, the Trail Masters currently average about 75 members annually. Comprised mostly of retirees from Opp, Ala., and the surrounding areas, the Trail Masters are each required to complete several hours of community service with much of that taking place inside the park.

In addition to the Trail Masters, mountain biking groups like Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association, Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers (CAMP), West Alabama Mountain Biking Association, and South Alabama Mountain Bike Association have improved and expanded several state park hiking and biking trails. These volunteers are quickly transforming the state into a hiking and mountain biking destination.

The recent budget crisis has put a spotlight on how Alabama State Parks is funded. The efforts of volunteers, which make up approximately 25 percent of the parks system’s workforce, are even more valuable considering how state parks are funded. About 90 percent of the annual funding to operate state parks in Alabama comes from user fees such as lodging, gate entries, camping and meeting space rentals. State park volunteers accomplish many projects that are otherwise impossible due to budget constraints.

“Our mountain biking partners and the Trail Masters are perfect examples of how successful and mutually beneficial these types of relationships can be,” said Greg Lein, State Parks Director. “These groups’ partnering efforts are blueprints that can be adapted to any of our 22 parks.”

There are several ways to partner with Alabama State Parks as a volunteer. Campground host, campground activities director, landscaping, and trail development are just a few of the volunteer opportunities available through the Volunteer In Parks (VIP) program.

“We encourage everyone to take a look at what groups like the Trail Masters, BUMP, CAMP and other volunteer organizations are doing in their communities and then consider partnering with their local park,” Lein said. “Individuals and groups can take part in the VIP program or contact the park managers directly to ask how they can help.”

To learn more about the VIP program, click here. To learn more about how the Trail Masters organized and began volunteering at Frank Jackson State Park, watch this video. For park manager contact information, click here.

The Alabama State Parks Division operates and maintains 22 state parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water. These parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit One-tank trip: Gadsden, Ala.: Natural wonders only part of attraction, July 8

With the Coosa River at its heart and the Appalachian foothills at its edge, Gadsden was voted America’s Most Livable City in 2000. It’s a very visit-able city, too, with its historic downtown, nearby parks, a cultural arts center and the riverfront.

Don’t Miss:
Downtown: Old-fashioned street lamps, wide sidewalks, historic buildings and boutiques make Broad Street a great place to stroll. Storefronts become a “virtual museum,” with displays from the

Gadsden Museum of Art. Check out the Open Window (528 Broad St., 256-439-9440, for pottery, cookware and gadgets for the kitchen. Nearby, the Museum Trading Co. (530 Broad St., 256-543-8100) sells one-of-a-kind artwork and jewelry.

Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts: A courtyard connects several arts spaces at Fifth and Broad streets ( If you’re traveling with kids, visit the Imagination Place Children’s Museum, a learning playground with lots of interactive stations. (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. $5 adults, $4 children)

The Gadsden Museum of Art: The institution is dedicated to local history and Southern artists with its collections of fine art and historic artifacts, as well as changing exhibits. (Note: The Gadsden Museum of Art will be closed Jan. 14 – March 9 for renovations.) 515 Broad St., 256-546-7365, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Free, donations welcome.

Noccalula Falls Park: (reopens in March) Alabama’s No. 1 natural tourist attraction centers on a 90-foot waterfall complete with its legend of doomed Cherokee lovers. Visitors can tour the park by train, play miniature golf, see a pioneer village or wander through Noccalula’s botanical gardens. There’s also a 200-space RV campground. 1500 Noccalula Road, 256-549-4663. $6 adults, $3 children (4-12), mini golf extra. Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (until 7 p.m. in summer), $15-20 camping.

Lookout Mountain Parkway. The 93-mile scenic drive begins in Gadsden, passes through Georgia and ends near Chattanooga. It hosts “the world’s longest yard sale” in August. (

Golf: Golfers have two scenic choices. The Silver Lakes Course (part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail) is a few miles south of Gadsden, at the edge of the Talledega National Forest, with views of the Appalachian foothills. (1 SunBelt Parkway, Glencoe. $43-$64 greens fees. 256-892-3268, Twin Bridges Golf Course, a par 72, 18-hole course along the Coosa River, was designed by Gene Bates. It’s been designated an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary for natural resource conservation. (901 River Bend Drive. $23-$42 greens fees. 256-549-4866,

Riverfront: Walk along and across the Coosa River to a small island via the James D. Martin Wildlife Park & Walking Trail. To get there, follow U.S. 431 to Gadsden Mall. The boardwalk is behind the mall.

The Courtyard Cafe at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts is a local favorite. This bustling restaurant serves daily lunch specials with a choice of meat, four vegetables, and dessert, all for $6.25. Sandwiches and salads are also available, $4-$7. Dinner brings Black Angus steaks, seafood and pasta, $8.50-$20. 501 Broad St. 256-547-1066. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday – Friday; 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

For more information, go to: City of Gadsden:, Gadsden-Etowah Tourism Board: 105 Locust St. 256-549-0351
To read this entire article online, go to:


Man once bedridden with broken back to complete 650-mile canoe trip
By Dennis Pillion,, July 7

Travor Clark is spending the summer paddling the epic journey across a huge section of Alabama by taking on the Alabama Scenic River Trail – a winding journey from the Alabama/Georgia stateline north of Gadsden down the Coosa and Alabama Rivers and into Mobile Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. His trip is being monitored by the Alabama Scenic River Trail Association. The ASRT reported on Monday that Clark will soon camp near Fairhope and is only a few days away from completing the journey. Once completed he will become only the 24th person to do so, according to ASRT.

The Alabama Scenic River Trail was developed during the Year of Outdoor Alabama tourism campaign.

For a man who spent about three years of his life essentially bedridden with a broken back, racked by the side effects of strong pain medications, it’s easy for Trevor Clark to overlook some of the minor inconveniences in his life.

Inconveniences for Clark these days include waking up at 4 a.m. during a driving rain storm to find the Coosa River flowing through his tent, having to keep a .38 revolver loaded with snakeshot on his hip to ward off aggressive copperheads, dodging alligators on the Alabama River and even being briefly detained by police who were investigating reports of a suspicious white man camping out by the river in the Black Belt.

Clark is currently about two-thirds of the way through canoeing the Alabama Scenic River Trail, a 650-mile winding journey across the state from the Georgia state line north of Gadsden to Fort Morgan where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Clark carries about 120 pounds of gear in his boat, including about three weeks’ worth of food, stores of insulin for his Type 1 diabetes, a hammock tent to sleep in, the .38 for snakes, some fishing gear, a solar charger for his cell phone, and a plant press to bring back samples from his long journey. He’s been supplementing his packaged trail food with mushrooms and fish he’s found on the river.

But he said the hardest part of the trail so far has been the unpredictable flow of the rivers. When he started, he was under the general assumption that he was going downstream the whole way from the mountains to the sea. He said the state’s dams make reality a very different proposition.

Depending on what the dams are doing, he might be paddling across a flat, still lake or even going against the current as the dams push him back upstream.

“I’d say half the time I’m actually paddling against the current,” Clark said. “I’ve been paddling a lot more than I thought I would be.”

Most people who know the Alabama Scenic River Trail say it’s 631 miles long. They’re probably underselling it, said Jim Felder, the executive director of the non-profit that established and promotes the trail.

Felder says that number was based on an early approximation of the distance. Felder said the trail is actually 650 miles from start to finish, according to a more recent measurement that took more of the subtle juts and curves into account. Felder said it’s by far the longest single-state river trail in the country, and highlights much of what makes Alabama such a special place to be outdoors.

“Alabama’s a tall state and geologically it’s a very interesting state,” Felder said. “It’s one of the few places I can think of that you would go from mountain lakes to ridges and valleys, through flat water, white water rapids and then after that you’ve got flood plains, and then you’ve got America’s second largest river delta and then Mobile Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico.

“I can’t think of another state where you would see all that.”

There have been about 40 people who informed Felder and the trail organizers that they finished the whole thing since the trail was established in 2008, but there may have been others who completed the journey on their own.
Felder said the fastest time was recorded by a regular long-distance paddler from Georgia, who completed the whole route in 12 days, covering an average of more than 54 miles per day.

Most people who take the trail, including Clark, aren’t in that much of a hurry. He said he planned to take his time on the journey to examine the native plants, do some fishing and enjoy life on the water.

As Clark paddles farther south, the terrain and wildlife is changing. The deciduous trees are giving way to evergreens and cypresses, and he’s getting into gator country.

As of Friday evening, Clark was just south of the Claiborne Dam on the Alabama River. He’d reached mile 493 on the trail, according to his GPS system, leaving him around 150 miles to go. He’s on pace to reach Fort Morgan by mid-July, as planned.

To read this entire article online, go to:


New tagging program studying horseshoe crab population on Alabama coast
The Associated Press, July 11

Alabama’s sea laboratory is starting a program to track American horseshoe crabs.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab describes its new tagging program as the first of its kind on the northern Gulf Coast to investigate populations of the odd-looking creatures.

Marine scientist Ruth Carmichael of the University of South Alabama is beginning the study with an undergraduate student from Colorado College, Sean Carter.

They’re testing the idea that salinity levels around Mobile Bay result in fewer horseshoe crabs on the Alabama coast compared to adjacent areas.

Animals will be tagged with identifying information before being released back into the wild.

To read this article online, go to:–Sea-Lab-Horseshoe-Crabs

PGA Tour event could make $25 million impact in Auburn-Opelika
By Minnie Lamberth, Yellowhammer, July 8

The Auburn-Opelika area is expected to benefit from a $25 million economic boost this month, thanks to the Barbasol Championship. The PGA TOUR’s first event in Alabama – a premiere domestic tournament featuring top players including several major winners – will be held July 13-19 at the Lake Course at the Grand National site along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

The field is made up of 132 professional golfers – with many names recognizable to golf fans, including David Toms, Stuart Appleby, Lee Janzen and Mike Wier. These players will be competing for $4 million in prize money, and the event will draw more than 50,000 fans throughout tournament week.

Local officials are understandably excited about a prestigious event of this size.

“I’m convinced that the absolute crown jewel of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is Grand National, which happens to be located in Opelika,” Mayor Gary Fuller said. “We look forward to welcoming the PGA Tour and Barbasol.”

Many others are also included in this welcome.

“You’ve got a pretty good crowd just with the players and their caddies,” Fuller said. Add to that the tour officials, organizers and several hundred volunteers.

“There will be a lot of folks involved in either playing or running the tournament.”

Impact beyond the golf course

Then take the fans into account.

“I think 50,000 is a conservative estimate,” Fuller said of projected attendance. As for the economic impact of $25 million, he added, “That’s of course more than just the hotels.” Those here participating, organizing, facilitating or watching will eat in restaurants, fill gasoline tanks and shop in local stores.

John Wild, who heads the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, points out that the week of the event tells only part of the economic impact. Much has already taken place in the buildup, including work on the course, people arriving for planning meetings, and contractors coming in to prepare the infrastructure.

“That’s the preamble for the tournament that we’re going to see,” Wild said.

He said that his organization has been helping match up different needs to hotel rooms. For starters, the players and their families are in one hotel, the caddies are in another, and the manufacturers and equipment personnel are in another. He noted anecdotally that they helped place electricians who had arrived weeks earlier. “Somebody like that’s living in our community for a month,” Wild said.

Importantly, Wild added, “Not everybody will check out on that last day.”

Though the community is very familiar with large sporting events at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Wild said, “There’s a whole infrastructure that’s much larger than what I have seen.”

He has been particular impressed with the size and scope of volunteering and the organizational structure in place to fill these slots. “I was shocked at the depth of the service that is needed for an event like this,” he said.

Wild cited as an example the fact that the PGA Tour’s ShotLink scoring system requires three to five people on each hole each day using a laser pointer to collect statistics on player shots. Volunteering is “a lot more technical” than for other events he’s seen, Wild said.

Though the tournament is officially located in Opelika, Auburn is fully connected to the event as well. Auburn’s Mayor Bill Ham said he and Mayor Fuller were both thrilled that the PGA Tour event would be highlighting Lee County.

“Both of our economic development departments are involved, and hundreds of volunteers,” Mayor Ham said. “We see it as a great opportunity to showcase both of our cities.”

The tournament will be televised live on the Golf Channel all four official tournament days. Barbasol, known as “America’s #1 shaving cream,” is the title sponsor of the event.

“From our perspective, we want as many people here watching,” Wild said. “We love that they can see it on TV, but we want them here on a personal basis to interact with those golfers.” Hotel rooms are still available, he noted.

Get more information on the Barbasol Championship here.

To read this entire article, go to:


Prattville lands new hotel
By Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser, July 8

Orange dirt will be moving around in east Prattville again, after the city landed a new hotel.

Home2 Suites by Hilton will build a four story, 86 room location on Legends Drive, according to plans on file with the city engineer’s office. The extended stay hotel will be on a three acre lot fronting the traffic circle. The lot is between the Marriott Courtyard and Holiday Inn Express.

Hilton did not return an e-mail seeking comment for this story.

There are 74 Home2 Suites in the country, with 17 locations currently under construction, according to the hotel’s website. The Prattville location wasn’t listed as being one of the locations under construction.

Plans show the hotel will have a swimming pool and outdoor lounge area that will overlook the Capitol Hill Golf Course. Rooms have kitchens and refrigerators and are pet friendly, the website reads. Locations also have walking trails and guests receive a free breakfast.

Prattville has seen its number of hotels grow since Capitol Hill, part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, opened in 1998. There are 14 hotels that are members of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The city now has 957 hotel rooms, and in 2014 had an occupancy rate of 53 percent, chamber data shows.

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Alabama best friends compete on HGTV’s Beach Flip reality show
By Anna Claire Vollers,, July 8

How exactly did close friends Daphney Massey and Lucy Farmer get on an HGTV reality show about flipping beach houses in Gulf Shores?

“Lucy conned me into it,” says Massey without hesitation. This prompts hoots of laughter from the pair, who have been friends for more than two decades, since their freshman year at the University of North Alabama, when they joined the same sorority.

The show is called Beach Flip. Four teams of two people each are tasked with completely renovating a waterfront fixer-upper in Gulf Shores. Each week’s episode features the renovation of a different room in the teams’ beach houses, and they are evaluated and awarded weekly prizes by the judges.

The teams live together in a cast house during the show, in true reality television style. At the end of the season, the team that increased its beach house property value the most wins a $50,000 grand prize.

The show has wrapped, but Massey and Farmer can’t divulge any details about what happens. They do have bragging rights this week, however. They won the first episode’s challenge, the master bedroom. (You can browse the photos and vote for your favorites here.)

The show’s next episode – about renovating the living room – will air on July 19 at 8 p.m. and again on July 20 at 11 p.m. on HGTV.
To read this entire article online, go to:


Southern sounds in Suffolk: Maverick Festival 2015
Blog by Gisela, Life is a festival! July 9

This year was my third Maverick Festival (3-5 July 2015) and there are a lot of advantages to being a repeat festival goer. You know the camping spot that suits you best. You can make a beeline for your favourite food and coffee stalls, even blindfolded. You remembered to bring enough carrots to feed the many adorable, four-legged farm creatures. All of this makes it a really relaxed affair.
One problem it doesn’t solve, however, is your favourite musicians always clashing. The only solution to this issue is to either see a lot of half-sets, rushing between them all day or to simply go with the flow, see fewer acts, but maybe have a more enjoyable time in the process. With very few exceptions I mostly opted for the latter. Yet with 50+ fantastic live musicians hailing from the USA, Canada, Australia and, of course, this very island playing the Maverick stages this year catching even half of them was no small feat indeed.

So here are my top 5 reasons why Maverick 2015 was awesome again and in fact those exact same reasons are also why you should consider attending Maverick in 2016.

Small is beautiful
It’s not about the big names…

…it’s about discovering new (to you) artists
Join in and learn a new skill
The humble harmonica seemed like the perfect starter instrument for an hour-long workshop that could actually be put to good use at other festivals too. And Rick Asherson accompanied by blues singer/guitarist Debbie Bond did an excellent job teaching a good dozen beginners to make pretty impressive “train sounds” (pats herself on the back) and even sort of play along to some basic blues melodies.

Stoke your wanderlust
Admittedly, another reason why I love listening to all the overseas artists is my love for travelling. Nothing makes me want to go to a place more than finding some awesome musicians, which often prompts me to research the area and music scene where they are from. Nashville and Austin have been duly visited in the past few years, but both New Orleans and Memphis, for instance, still remain to be explored. So is the whole state of Alabama, which I have yet to set foot in. The fact that Alabama Tourism has been sponsoring Maverick festival for the second time helped to once more bring over some fantastic musicians, such as Debbie Bond, Hannah Aldridge and Lisa Mills. They also have a nifty new website for anyone wanting to explore the Americana Music Triangle. The artists listed above should get you started in terms of music for your road trip.

So pencil in Maverick Festival for the first weekend in July next year and check out the tour dates for the above mentioned artists, as many of them are playing various towns and venues around the country in the coming weeks. See, there is no excuse for not listening to some great live music. Life is a festival!
To read this entire article online, go to:


Bellingrath Gardens and Home hires Director of Special Events

Bellingrath Gardens and Home is pleased to announce that Lena Rieckenberg has joined the staff as Director of Special Events.

Rieckenberg, a native of Germany, previously served as a Public Relations consultant with the German communications agency Klenk & Hoursch, specializing in corporate and brand communications and based in Frankfurt. Her responsibilities included conceptualizing and implementing public relations programs, with a focus on event planning and management for various internationally operating businesses.

Prior to joining Klenk & Hoursch, Rieckenberg worked in the event planning department of Die Zeit, Germany’s leading weekly newspaper. Her major roles included planning and marketing events, such as conferences, readings, cook-offs and employee events. She was also involved in developing content for their social networks and internal websites.

Rieckenberg holds a master’s degree in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Leeds University Business School in the United Kingdom and a bachelor’s degree in languages from the University of Hamburg, Germany. She is an active member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama and speaks four languages: English, German, French and Italian.

Rieckenberg and her husband, Dr. Fabian Rieckenberg, moved to Mobile in January. He is Head of Controlling Process Technology and Engineering Americas at Evonik Corporation.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home is operated by the Bellingrath Gardens and Home Foundation, a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the 65-acre garden and estate home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath.

For more information, visit or call 251.973.2217.


Twenty-four Alabama Restaurant Week signups in first week

Alabama Restaurant Week has started off to a good start with 24 restaurants signing up to participate in the 10-day event in August during the first week of the sign up period.

Grey Brennan, coordinator for Alabama Restaurant Week, encourages tourism organization to campaign to have their restaurants sign up for the free event as soon as possible. “Alabama Restaurant is a great way for restaurants to gain exposure and increase their business,” said Brennan.

The Alabama Tourism Department has promoted Alabama cuisine as part of a trip to the state. The 100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is one of the most popular brochures ever developed by the department.. The tourism department has also conducted The Year of Alabama Food campaigns and is currently in the middle of The Year of Alabama BBQ promotion.

Alabama Restaurant Week has become a key part of all of these food promotions and open restaurants across the state who offer special meals at set prices.

Restaurants should sign up to participate at Rules and regulations to participate are listed in the “about” tab of the website.

For more information, contact


Make a difference by donating to the AGCT Silent Auction

The Silent Auction-Wine/Craft Beer Pull, held during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, benefits the Alabama Tourism & Hospitality Industry Scholarship Fund. The AGCT Silent Auction has raised more than $265,000 throughout the past 26 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 Scholarships will be awarded during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, August 4 at the Battle House Hotel & Spa.

Conference registration, full agenda and hotel reservations available online at


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 artists and craftspeople

Alabama is home to a vast number of talented and creative artists and craftspeople 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 crafters 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.

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Aug 1 – 4 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism – Mobile
Aug 8 – 12 Alabama Motorcoach/SCMA/GMOA Regional Meeting
Lake Lanier, GA
Aug 14 – 23 Alabama Restaurant Week


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