Tourism Tuesdays February 9, 2016

  • World Food Championships selects The Wharf for 2016 tournament
  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet tickets on sale today
  • USA TODAY names the top 10 U.S. destinations for Mardi Gras 2016
  • Lonely Planet Announces Best Places in the US to Visit in 2016
  • Alabama participates in Australian Brand USA promotion
  • American barbecue champion Chris Lilly impressed by Australia’s produce and people
  • Alabama active in Italy with Travel South digital campaign
  • New York State of Mind – 2016
  • Sloss Furnaces exhibit opens at Alabama Power archives this week
  • Kentuck Art Center celebrates $1.1 million renovation
  • First Auburn University chefs to attend South Beach Food & Wine Festival
  • Nexus Energy Center finds a new home at US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville
  • St. John and WXFL nominated for Academy of Country Music Association Awards
  • Alabama Tourism Department presents workshop in April
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


World Food Championships selects The Wharf for 2016 tournament, Feb. 5

Nashville, TN – The World Food Championships announced today that it is going coastal for the first time and moving the 2016 Ultimate Food Fight to Orange Beach.

Now celebrating its fifth Anniversary, WFC will be Nov. 8-15 at The Wharf, a resort destination with a full-service marina, retail, dining and entertainment options anchored by a multi-use event center and a 10,000-seat amphitheater.

Chefs Chris Sherrill and Haikel Harris of the Flora-Bama Yacht Club competed in November in Kissimmee, Fla.

By winning the Zatarain’s Restaurant Challenge, hosted by the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber in conjunction with the National Shrimp Festival, they became a premier qualified entry into the world’s most coveted food competition.

The relocation of the event to Orange Beach is a major milestone, according to World Food Championships’ CEO Mike McCloud. For the first time, WFC will be able to centralize all of its nine championships while also providing more access for “eatertainment” and culinary tourism.

“The World Food Championship is a great fit for the Alabama Gulf Coast, and we know competitors and visitors will enjoy their experience,” Herb Malone, president and CEO of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, said. “Based on other culinary events we have here – National Shrimp Festival, Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, Wharf Uncorked – we know from experience what events like these can do for a destination.”

The direct tourism and economic impact of WFC in 2015 on central Florida surpassed $2 million, while more than 3,500 room nights were booked and a national media value of $26 million was reported by BurrellesLuce, an independent media monitoring service.

“Our event brings a huge culinary and economic impact to our partner destination, and as a result, it requires a ton of space, logistics and support to be successful,” McCloud said. “With the help of Orange Beach tourism and The Wharf, we are extremely excited about our future as we continue to build out the largest Food Sport event in the world.”

The majority of WFC’s food fights occur in Kenmore Kitchen Arena, the largest outdoor kitchen in the world, measuring a full city block. The space features $250,000 worth of Kenmore branded stoves, cooktops, countertops and cookware – enough for 50 contestants to cook simultaneously. An additional $100,000 worth of professional grills from Bull Outdoor Products allow for open-flame grilling.

“This is a multi-year deal that gives us the ability to plan our growth strategically and confidently,” McCloud added. 

“We will now be able to market and expand WFC on many fronts, including unique food experiences like a Global Tasting Village, a chef-driven Culinary Fight Club, and Food Champ Judging classes that feature the EAT Methodology for scoring competition food.”

The World Food Championships was created in 2012 and has experienced rapid growth ever since. From a 30 percent annualized growth in competitors, to its second TV series that will be aired this summer on Destination America, the WFC has evolved into a year-long quest for thousands of competitors and foodies, as well as a marketing platform for innovative companies that integrate fun food experiences.

This year’s tournament is expected to host more than 1,200 competitors representing 400 teams from 20 countries and 45 states, all vying for part of the $350,000 prize purse and its industry-leading $100,000 grand prize.

Marked by its sugar-white sand beaches, deep-sea fishing and countless family attractions, the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area is one of the world’s leading beach destinations, annually attracting more than 5 million visitors. Centrally located in the Gulf, and a short drive from the Pensacola airport, Orange Beach’s lodging properties are ideal for beach-side access or inland retreats that are both convenient and affordable. A spectrum of local dining, upscale shopping, fishing, nature and adventure-based excursions also contribute to a spectacular vacation, holiday or leisure experience.

To learn more about the WFC and its qualifying events, tournament-style process or consumer experiences, visit

To learn more about Orange Beach, visit

To learn more about The Wharf, visit

To read this article online, go to:


Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet tickets on sale today

By Russ Corey,, Feb. 9

Tickets for the 2016 Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Awards Show go on sale Feb. 9.

Individual general admission tickets are $200 each and include a pre-event cocktail reception in the conference center lobby, a gourmet dinner and performances by world-class musicians.

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m., and can be purchased by calling the Alabama Music Hall of Fame at 256-381-4417.

The hall of fame board of directors typically offers banquet tickets for sale to the public after corporate sponsorships have been finalized.

Corporate packages range from $5,000-$25,000, hall of fame Manager Dixie Griffin said.

Griffin said there are a “handful” of $5,000 tables, which seat 10 people each, remaining.

The 2016 Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductees include The Muscle Shoals Horns, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, singer Donna Jean Godchaux MacKay, the southern rock band Wet Willie and producer Johnny Sandlin.

Grammy nominee Gary Nichols will emcee this year’s event. Andreas Werner who has coordinated several sold-out concerts featuring the Muscle Shoals All-Stars, including performances in Poretta, Italy, and the Lincoln Center in New York, will produce the show.

“First and foremost, this banquet is held to honor the inductees, but it is also our primary fundraiser,” Griffin said.

“Financial support from major sponsors is critical. Corporate support was very strong this year and exceeded our expectations.”

Griffin said based on 2014 ticket sales, she expects this year’s banquet to sell out quickly.

“We are grateful that so many businesses are partnering with AMHOF to provide the funding we need to remain viable,” State Tourism Director Lee Sentell said. “Music tourism boosts the state and local economy and the AMHOF is a key element in the mix.”

Sentell also serves as treasurer for the hall of fame board.

“Those of us associated with the hall of fame are delighted and gratified with the increased sponsorships that the business community is providing,” Sentell said. “The sponsorship tables sold much quicker than two years ago and at an average higher amount, which will help make the hall of fame more self-supporting this year.”

Board member Judy Hood said the board is committed to securing the financial future for Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the banquet provides a major source of that funding.

“State and local businesses stepped up big time,” Hood said. “It is exciting to see how the support for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame continues to grow. And we have a spectacular evening planned for those who attend. This board knows how to put the ‘fun’ in fundraising.”

Griffin said revenue generated from the banquet helps maintain the museum and expand various outreach programs.

It also allows the hall of fame to offer free and low-priced events throughout the year.

“The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is one of the greatest treasures in the state of Alabama,” said Rob Carnegie, president and CEO of the Florence/Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Hosting the annual induction banquet in Florence is very fitting, as so much of the state’s musical heritage is connected with Florence and Muscle Shoals.

This awards night will be meaningful to so many of the legends that influenced and made the Muscle Shoals sound famous.”

The event starts at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception in the lobby of the conference center. Dinner starts at 7 and the show begins at 8 p.m.

To read this article online, go to:


Lonely Planet Announces Best Places in the US to Visit in 2016

Birmingham in Top 5

Lonely Planet – the world’s leading travel media company – released today its annual list of the top 10 best places to go in the United States in 2016.

Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016 ( list is a diverse mix of cities, regions and states across the country that are poised to shine in the year ahead – places often-overlooked, hidden gems and household names with new reasons to visit in 2016.

Now in its 6th year, Lonely Planet’s Best in the US is a handpicked list selected and ranked by the US-based editors and travel writers at Lonely Planet to point to the top 10 most exciting, intriguing and up-and-coming US destinations worth visiting in the year ahead.

“These are the places to pay attention to in 2016,” said US Destination Editor Rebecca Warren at Lonely Planet.

“Whether they’ve been on the public radar for years or are only recently emerging as travel hotspots, each destination offers compelling reasons to visit this year.”

“Birmingham is the best. We all know it and it is exciting to see others discover it too,” said Mayor William Bell.

The list is available online at, with accompanying articles to each destination. Best in the US 2016 will also be featured in the second edition of the new US Lonely Planet magazine, on newsstands March 24.


USA TODAY names the top 10 U.S. destinations for Mardi Gras 2016

Cities around the globe throw huge Carnivals, the colorful winter blow-out based on religious tradition. “They’re all celebrating the same thing, a big party before people face the austerity of Lent. But they all get localized as festivals and their differences are really interesting,” says Kelly Gillease, vice president of, a global travel company offering several Carnival tour experiences. She shares some favorite celebrations, all culminating with Mardi Gras, held this year on Feb. 9, with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.


While New Orleans gets all the attention, the continent’s oldest Mardi Gras is in Mobile. The celebration, a city-wide holiday, includes dozens of parades and huge formal balls, attracting thousands of white-tie celebrants. Popular parade floats include Vernadean, a fire-breathing, 150-foot dragon that stars in the Mystics of Time parade. Another local twist: Crowds eagerly vie for Moon Pies, which are thrown from floats.

To read more online, go to:


Alabama participates in Australian Brand USA promotion

The Alabama Tourism Department is participating in a Brand USA multi-channel promotion in Australian during the first quarter of 2016.  The promotion will include exposure in print and internet and includes Expedia as a booking partner.

Twenty-six Alabama hotels will be highlighted on a special Expedia Australian landing page during the promotion which hits at the same time that several tourism showcases are being held in the country.

The hotels featured are:

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center; Perdido Beach Resort; Hotel Capstone; Fort Conde Inn; The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa; Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast; Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center; Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa; Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa; Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel; The Westin Birmingham; The Westin Huntsville; Berney Fly Bed and Breakfast; Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach; Caribe Resort by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Marriot Shoals Hotel and Spa; Hotel Highland Downtown/UAB, Ascend Collection Hotel; Hampton Inn & Suites, Downtown, Tutwiler; Holiday Inn Express Ft. Payne; Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Alabama Downtown; Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery Downtown; Embassy Suites Montgomery Conference Center; Huntsville Marriott; Hampton Inn Suites Florence Downtown; The ColdWater Inn; The Island House Hotel, Orange Beach

This is the first time the state tourism department has participated in the Brand USA Australian mulit-channel program and it will be monitoring the response.

The campaign includes a ½ page placement in the Discover America electronic brochure that will be posted on the Australian VisittheUSA website as well as an ad in the printed insert in the Feb. 7, Sunday Mail in Australia with a circulation of 394,000. 

The copy in the ½ page Discover America publication starts with the headline Alabama: Explore the heart and soul of the USA’s Deep South.

The body copy reads; “Sweet Home Alabama” is more than a song. It’s a celebration of treasures, from the white sandy beaches in Gulf shores to the historic attractions in Birmingham and Montgomery, and the world’s largest space museum in Huntsville. Visit famous recording studios and live dance halls in Muscle Shoals and find out why Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards called this town ‘rock ‘n roll heaven.” Explore pretty beach towns where you can join a dolphin tour, swim in warm Gulf of Mexico waters, and indulge in fresh seafood and delicious BBQ. In Alabama you’ll find Southern culture and hospitality at every turn.

Link to the Expedia Alabama page is

Link to the digital Discover America Multi Channel Australian 2016 publication Travel USA, which is also the

printed insert for the campaign, go to

Also on the website is the Alabama state page at

The Birmingham city page at

The Huntsville city page at

The Gulf Shores/Orange Beach  city page at

For more information on Alabama Tourism Departments promotions in the Australian market, contact


American barbecue champion Chris Lilly impressed by Australia’s produce and people

By Luke Dennehy, Herald Sun, Feb. 3

For many Aussies when we say the word barbecue we think of a snag on the barbie, or some chicken grilled or a hamburger – but it can much more.

The last couple of years there has been a real rise in the southern United States version of the term barbecue – slow cooked meat, low temperature cooking with smoke from a wood fire.

The barbecue community is massive in the US, with huge competitions around the country that become very competitive.

One of the world’s best in the barbecue business, American Chris Lilly, (not to be confused with Australian comedian Chris Lilley) is in Melbourne for the second Yaks Ales Melbourne Barbecue Festival, which takes place at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday.

He has been working there since 1991.

For him the whole barbecue community is more than just cooking, it’s a positive living lifestyle.“It’s more than just barbecue meat on a grill, it’s how you spend your time,” he said.

“It’s a real community.

“I always tell people all the time if you come to Alabama for a barbecue, you will stay for the whole weekend.”

Part of the whole barbecue community are the competitions, many of whom are sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS).

The KCBS will oversee the second barbecue competition for Melbourne on Saturday at Flemington.

Lilly has been very successful, his team from the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q have won 15 world championships across several categories including four of the big ones – from the Memphis in May Grand Championships.

He said although it is competitive, the community spirit is very much there at these competitions.

“It is competitive, but at the same time everyone in the barbecue community helps every body out,” he said.

“The veteran teams will always give the new guys advice.”

From what he can see from his first visit in Australia, Lilly is impressed.

Not only watching the barbecue culture as he sees it in Australia growing, but the quality of our food.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the Australian cuisine is amazing,” he said.

“It’s the freshest seafood I’ve seen in a while, and the best prepared meat with so many influences, from Greek, Italian, Chinese and Japanese …. and of course awesome lamb and beef.”

For more information about Saturday’s festival go to:

To read this article online, go to:


Alabama active in Italy with Travel South digital campaign

The Alabama Tourism Department joined with a select group of Travel South states in a digital campaign in Italy organized by Alabama’s shared in-market representative Olga Mazzoni and tour operator America World, part of the Italian Quality Group of tour companies. 

The social networking campaign starts in February and will run through November with postings to Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The America World webpage is

For a sample of promotion, go to



New York State of Mind – 2016

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques Newsletter, Feb. 8

This week Southern Accents hit the road and headed to “The Big Apple”! Garlan and Josh spent the week constructing the backdrop for American clothing designer Billy Reid’s fashion show for New York City Fashion Week 2016.

This was our third time working with Billy Reid to design/build the set for one of his New York City fashion shows.

Our first trip to New York took place in September of 2010. A collection of salvaged doors and large columns were used to set the scene for that fall’s edition of fashion week. We returned to NYC in February of 2013, constructing a backdrop made of salvaged wood tiles. The wood tile walls were paired with a number of gorgeous crystal chandeliers, creating a stunning setting to showcase the Billy Reid 2013 fall/winter collection.

The inspiration for the design of this latest set was a tunnel that Southern Accents designed and built last September. The tunnel served as the entrance for a private party for Chef Frank Stitt and Blackberry Farms Brewery that was held in Florence, Alabama as part of Billy Reid’s Shindig No. 7. Southern Accents was given full creative freedom in the design and creation of the event entrance. The tunnel, which was constructed at the Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts, was so well received that we were asked to leave it standing for several weeks after the event for the community to enjoy.

Upon receiving a hand sketch of Billy’s design for this year’s stage, we constructed a small scale version. The full size backdrop was constructed using reclaimed 2 x 8 oak lumber ranging in length from 12 to 18 feet. Most of the overlapping joints were mortise and tenon.

Over the past several years we have worked with Billy on a number of projects, including providing materials for many of his retail stores. As a fellow creative and Alabama Maker, we appreciate Billy’s love and respect for salvaged architectural elements and appreciate every opportunity that we are given to work with him. Make sure that you are following Southern Accents and Billy Reid on Instagram to keep up with upcoming projects!

To visit Southern Accents Architectural Antiques online, go to:


Sloss Furnaces exhibit opens at Alabama Power archives this week

By Kelly Poe,, Feb. 3

A new exhibit on Sloss Furnaces and the art that comes from it is open in downtown Birmingham. 

“Sloss Furnaces: Then and Now” opened last week at the Alabama Power Archives Museum and covers the history of

Sloss from its beginning to its modern metal art.

The Museum is part of Alabama Power’s downtown Birmingham corporate headquarters. To get to the museum, enter through the main entrance at 600 North 18th St. ask for a pass from the front desk. The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays starting Friday through May 6. 

The exhibit will include the Furnace’s history as well as a focus on the Sloss Furnaces Metal Arts Program. The program was founded in 1985 and teaches metalworking, pattern making, casting and welding, and forging sculpture. Art from the program artists-in-residence and students will be on display and for sale, with proceeds going to the artists. 

“Sloss Furnaces is more than a landmark or museum,” Sloss curator and historian Karen Utz said in a statement. “It represents the character and spirit of the South’s industrial heritage.”

The cost of the exhibit is paid for by Alabama Power’s shareholders, not customers, according to Alabama Power spokeswoman Allison Westlake. 

To read this article online, go to:


Kentuck Art Center celebrates $1.1 million renovation

By Mark Hughes Cobb,, Feb. 4

Kentuck, a place where tradition lives, relied on classic symbolism to introduce its newly renovated building at 503 Main Ave., going from a ribbon cutting in the afternoon to a red-carpet and champagne party for Art Night.

The Kentuck Art Center’s main building — home to offices, shop and gallery space — suffered a bat infestation three years ago. The clean-up and removal processes uncovered structural issues. As the list of necessary fixes rolled on, repair estimates expanded from six figures into seven. Thanks to campaigns spearheaded by David Pass, former fundraiser for nonprofit MedShare International and vice-president of the Kentuck Board, pledges for the $1.1 millions’ worth of changes rolled in from major donors including the cities of Northport and Tuscaloosa, the Tuscaloosa County Commission, the Alabama Power Foundation, the Community Foundation of West Alabama, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Bank of Tuscaloosa, Bryant Bank, Buffalo Rock Pepsi and other public and private contributors.

The now overhauled facility features gleaming blonde woods, afternoon light dazzling off glass and ceramic artworks, a central handicap access ramp, a new door to the Courtyard of Wonders, a new staircase, and a dumbwaiter for ferrying objects between floors. Upstairs are staff offices, storage, updated computer equipment and a conference room highlighted by Alon Wingard’s table, with supports by Kentuck metalworker Steve Davis. Davis also crafted awning supports for outdoors, in shapes suggesting bats and monarch butterflies, the state insect. Naturally enough, artworks show on virtually every open space.

For Thursday night’s opening, a Hollywood-style spotlight added illumination, along with the new neon sign at the corner of Fifth and Main. In the afternoon, Executive Director Amy Holt Echols worked the oversized scissors through the ribbon, flanked by Pass, County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum and Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon, along with staff, board members and friends. Echols stressed the celebration was not about any individual or static moment.

“Directors will come and go, board members will come and go, artists will come and go, but Kentuck will go on,” she said, “and this belongs to the community.”

“This is about a promise fulfilled,” Pass added.

Echols praised collaboration among government officials and business people.

“(Retired banker and former Northport mayor) Sam Faucett kept saying, ‘What’s the city doing?'” Echols said of the philanthropist. “The city kept saying, ‘What’s Sam Faucett doing?'”

McCollum praised the renovation work, saying “What a beautiful facility; what a great investment for our community.”

Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon was so thrilled for the Kentuck grand opening, “…I showed up Jan. 4,” he said, to laughter from the crowd.

November marked the soft opening of the center with staff moving from temporary headquarters in the adjacent Georgine Clarke Building back to the facility designed by Ellis Architects. Work has begun to restore the Clarke Building artists’ studios, programming and educational space, a gallery for the permanent collection and more.

Thursday’s party, in addition to spotlight and red carpet, also rolled out a champagne toast at 6:30 p.m., with cupcakes, chocolates and other edibles. In the courtyard, live music was performed by Matt Wurtele and Chase

Childress, with a mosaic glass demonstration by Fayette artist Rhys Greene. An opening was held for an exhibit of glass sculpture by artist Thomas Spake.

Art Night is a free monthly event built around the galleries and shops of downtown Northport. For more, see

To read this entire article online, go to:


First Auburn University chefs to attend South Beach Food & Wine Festival

Chefs Featured during the Best of the Best Event on Fri., Feb., 26

The Hotel at Auburn University’s very own executive chef, Chef Leonardo Maurelli, and Chef David Bancroft, of Auburn’s Acre restaurant, will be participating in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival for the first time on Friday, Feb. 26 in Miami Beach, Fla. They will be working closely with Chef Michel Nischan at the Best of the Best tasting table. Chef Michel Nischan is a renowned chef in addition to a three-time James Beard Foundation Award winner.

The Best of the Best is an event sponsored by the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. This particular event offers guests the rare and unique opportunity to directly sample the best and most gourmet creations from 60 of the nation’s top chefs. These samples will additionally be paired with more than 100 wines.

After working alongside Chef Michel at last year’s Hospitality Gala, which has served as the main fundraising event for the Hospitality Management program at Auburn University since 1992, both Chef Leo and David were personally asked by Chef Michel to assist with the tasting table that will be featured at the festival. 

“It is a huge honor to have such a decorated, prolific and award winning chef, like Michel, think highly enough of you to ask for your assistance and participation,” said Chef Leo.  

The tasting dish that will be featured at the Best of the Best event will include a recipe from Chef Michel’s cookbook as well as various dishes from Chef Leo and David. In fact, Chef Leo will feature an assortment of dishes that are available at A?T (Ariccia Trattoria) including the smooth kabocha squash puree and raw Brussels salad. The other dishes that will be available for tasting include Seared Salmon with Ancient Grains and Hull Pea Chow Chow, Shrimp Croquettes and Manchego Truffle Mini Bites.

Chef Leonardo Maurelli returned to The Hotel at Auburn University in June 2015 to take on the role of Executive Chef. He was named the “2011 Chef of the Year” by the Alabama Restaurant Association/Alabama Hospitality Association. Born in the Republic of Panama and raised in South Alabama, Chef Maurelli’s cooking style is greatly influenced by his family’s Italian and Latino backgrounds as well as the years he has spent living in the South.

The South Beach Food & Wine Festival is an annual festival held in South Florida throughout the last week of February. This four-day destination event will feature the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. This particular festival consists of more than 80 different events across South Florida, including intimate dinners, seminars and walk-around tastings. The Best of the Best tasting event will be held in Miami Beach, Fla., on Fri., Feb. 26.


Nexus Energy Center finds a new home at US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville

By Lucy Berry,, Feb. 4

Nexus Energy Center hopes to make big strides this year through a new partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

The nonprofit held a ribbon cutting ceremony last week for its new facility in the Rocket Center’s Educator Training Facility. Nexus moved to One Tranquility Base in December from 6767 Old Madison Pike near Bridge Street Town Centre.

Ruchi Singhal, executive director of Nexus, said her organization will help the Rocket Center launch its energy education initiative for adults and children.

“We are very blessed to be able to be located here and to be able to increase our audience for learning energy and how to save energy and what are some clean energy solutions,” she said.

The Rocket Center, the No. 1 admission-charged tourism attraction in Alabama last year with more than 658,000 visitors, will receive tips from Nexus on how it can reduce its energy footprint and save money.

“The Space & Rocket Center can’t close their doors,” Singhal said. “They have to be open, they have to run, they have to be comfortable. But that doesn’t mean they have to break the bank to do it.”

The four-employee organization has grown significantly over the last few years as it works to build smart energy communities across Alabama.

Singhal said they have helped more than 1,600 Alabama homeowners save 20 percent on their monthly utility bills.

Nexus has also renovated 30 local homes through the Comfort Project, a program that beautifies homes and improves energy efficiency for elderly and underserved residents.

Nexus has donated a four-sided interactive kiosk to the Rocket Center, which is on display in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration lobby. Singhal said the kiosk teaches how and where energy is created, among other things.

Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the Rocket Center, said it’s a “great honor” to open the facility to Nexus as it takes steps toward smarter energy use.

“What Nexus is doing for us is reaching out into the community and literally helping individuals and families understand about energy and save money and to live a better life because of their capability to help them understand energy,” she said. “I think it’s a beautiful first step.”

To read this article online, go to:


St. John and WXFL nominated for Academy of Country Music Association Awards

Congratulations to Florence based Big River Broadcasting for two nominations for the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.  The nominations were announced Feb. 1, from ACM headquarters in Encino, California.  Sherry St. John, a veteran radio personality known for her enthusiastic promotion of Alabama music, is nominated for Small Market Radio Personality of the Year.  WXFL – Kix 96, the station where St. John has a daily radio show, is nominated for Small Market Station of the Year.  Big River Broadcasting is owned by Sun Records founder and Florence native, Sam Phillips.  Award winners will be announced April 3, in Las Vegas during a star-studded music show that will be broadcast on CBS.  For a complete list of ACM nominations for the year, including numerous Alabama music connected artists, go to:


Alabama Tourism Department presents workshop in April

The Alabama Tourism Department will host the semi-annual Tourism Workshop in Montgomery on Wed., April 20. This workshop is for new tourism industry members, event organizers and anyone interested in enhancing tourism in their area.  

Watch upcoming editions of this newsletter for more information on the workshop.

For additional information, please contact Rosemary Judkins at 334-242-4493 or via email at Rosemary.Judkins@Tourism.Alabama.Gov

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

April 20                       Alabama Tourism Department Workshop                      Montgomery



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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Alabama Tourism Department