Tourism Tuesdays August 30, 2016

  • Labor Day celebrations across Alabama
  • Straight to Ale’s Rumble Seat Beer Project
  • State park memories
  • Stuffed animals, supplies collected in Dothan going to Baton Rouge
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events


Labor Day celebrations across Alabama

Great food and live entertainment highlight Labor Day celebrations across Alabama.  Events include everything from baseball games and fireworks in Montgomery to the 25th annual Moon Pie eating contest in McCalla. 

Festivals over Labor Day weekend include the 20th Annual Sweet Tater Festival in Cullman, the St. William Church Seafood Festival in Guntersville and the Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration in Cherokee. Families can also enjoy live music at Lake Martin in Eclectic or take a trip to Luverne for the World’s Largest Peanut Boil.

The Alabama Tourism Department suggests the following Labor Day events.  For a complete calendar of events listing see

Birmingham- 12th annual Labor Day Golden Classic

Sept. 4 at Legion Field.  The Golden Bears of Miles College will face off against Fort Valley State University.  205-929-1732. Admission charged.

Cherokee- Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration

Sept. 5 at the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard. Celebration of “Troop”- the first coon dog buried. More than 300 graves freshly decorated. Live bluegrass music, buck dancing, liar’s contest. BBQ and drinks available.  Free admission.  

Cullman- 20th Annual Sweet Tater Festival

Sept. 4-5 at Smith Lake Park.  Featuring arts & crafts along with food vendors, sweet potatoes, music, a car show and lots of family activities.  Free admission.

Decatur- Battle for Decatur

Sept. 3-4 at Point Mallard Park. Civil War reenactment featuring more than 100 authentically clad reenactors with mock battles each day at 2 p.m. 800-232-5449.  Free admission.


Eclectic- Labor Day Weekend Concert

Sept. 4 at the AMP on Lake Martin.  Hear great music during the final event of the summer concert series with bands The Bank Walkers, The Bama Gambler and The Vegabonds. 256-397-1019.  Admission charged.

Guntersville- St. William Church Seafood Festival

Sept. 3 at Civitan Park on Lake Guntersville. A drive-thru opens at 7:30 a.m. for purchasing quarts of gumbo and boiled shrimp. Dine-in opens at 10:30 a.m. for Creole-style gumbo, Cajun boiled shrimp, boiled crawfish, catfish dinners and barbecue chicken dinners.  Free Admission.

Ider- Mule Days

Sept. 5 at Ider Town Park. This annual event showcases Sand Mountain’s rich agricultural heritage. Enjoy a parade of mules, horses, carriages, antique tractors and more.  888-805-4740.  Free admission.


Luverne- World’s Largest Peanut Boil

Sept. 1-5 in Luverne.  More than 17 tons of peanuts will be used to make the world’s largest batch of boiled peanuts. 334-342-0036. Free admission. 

McCalla- 25th Annual Labor Day Celebration & Moon Pie Eatin’ Contest

Sept. 5 at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Featuring games, food and Moon Pie eating contest.  205-477-5711.  Admission charged.

Montgomery- Biscuits Baseball

Sept. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Biscuit Stadium in downtown Montgomery.  The Montgomery Biscuits take on the Tennessee Smokies in a series of Labor Day weekend games.  Fireworks after the game on Friday night. Admission charged.

Orrville- First Capital Rediscovery Wagon Tour

Sept. 3 at the Old Cahaba Archeological Park.  Historic wagon tour of the site of Alabama’s first capital Admission charged.

Section- Section Labor Day Festival

Sept. 5 at the Section Community Park. Day-long musical entertainment, homemade ice cream, BBQ, horseshoes, dominoes and a street dance.  256-228-3280.  Free admission.


Straight to Ale’s Rumble Seat Beer Project

Huntsville-based Straight to Ale has been selected to brew an exclusive beer series for all Whole Foods in the South Region.

Huntsville’s Straight To Ale Brewing is teaming up with the Whole Foods Market South Region to introduce a new line of exclusive experimental brews called Rumble Seat Beer Project.  This brand new brew, including a Citrus Witte, IPA and Imperial Red, hits the Whole Foods Huntsville shelves on Sept. 1.

This means the Huntsville-brewed craft beer will be sold both locally and across the Southeast at Whole Foods stores – another example of Huntsville craftsmanship being exported throughout the region.

To read more about this online, go to:

State park memories

By Joe Watts, Guest Voice for, August 24

Joe Watts is the president-elect of the Birmingham Audubon Society

State Parks have always mattered to me. I can’t recall a time in my memory when a trip to a state park didn’t stir a sense of joy and a sense of wonder in my heart and in my soul. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to support Amendment 2, on the ballot this November. There are plenty of things to disagree about on the ballot, but supporting state parks isn’t one of them. Everyone can enjoy these treasures and everyone should understand the importance of maintaining them for the future.

There’s really no other way to say it. When I think of the views from Cheaha State Park or the rush of the water over Desoto Falls, I think of my mother. And I smile. I smile a lot.

We were raised to have an appreciation of the outdoors. From our family home in the country to the Great Smokey Mountains, we spent more time outside than in. A good bit of that time was spent in Alabama’s wonderful state parks. Days on end were spent exploring deep hardwoods and thickets of blackberry brambles, wading into shallow creeks or just lolling beside a fallen log and reading.

Mama, who was 46-years-old when I was born, would typically join me in many adventures. As a 46-year-old myself now, I look back on those days and marvel at how she had the energy to keep up with a wild-haired young boy at her age. But she did and she thrived on it, and so did I.

Living as we did in the country, you might imagine that an ideal vacation for the Watts family would be somewhere with lights and restaurants and action, if for no other reason than a change of scenery. Not my Mama. She loved the scenery of Alabama’s natural places, so we’d pack up the car—my dad, my mother, me and as many of my five sisters as could fit—and we’d head north. North to Mama meant anywhere north of Montgomery, of course, so we didn’t have to travel far. But we did travel often.

Her favorite place was Desoto State Park. And it fast became mine. We’d visit there every year, usually renting a chalet or a cabin. The cabins were, and still are, rustic. Chalets were rustic too, but they had sleeping areas you could only get to via ladder. Slipping up that ladder and having a space all to myself was a special treat for a young boy who had five older sisters.

As magical as that sleeping area was, the real magic was found on the trails. Even the trails leading between cabins held a surprising ability to captivate my young imagination. Plants that seemed mundane on our farm suddenly became fascinating. Birds that, sad to say, might have fallen prey to the BB gun if spotted along a fence row at home soared overhead, no longer targets but marvels of feathers and flight. And the waterfalls. The water rushing over rocks represented something I never really experienced on our farm. To see it, to hear it and, of course, to feel it on my feet and rushing through my hands was a sensation I remember to this day. Mama would often join me, putting her feet in the rushing cool water, now, I realize, to soothe her tired feet from trudging along the trails with a young and energetic boy.

But it was the wildness that we came for. There were plenty of people in the world, but not enough wild places, Mama said. She believed we needed to understand the wild places in Alabama to appreciate our home state. And she was right. Her appreciation of our state parks kindled a love for all of Alabama’s wild things—from the birds to the trees. Camping under the stars, floating along in a tippy canoe, walking a worn trail—these are the memories Mama wanted to be sure I had, not some rush of streetlights and fast moving cars. She understood where you could get close to God. 

I grew up interested in hiking and backpacking. I hunted, too, as a teenager, and I’ve hiked all across America. But nowhere could ever be as special as those times I spent walking the trails in Desoto State Park, running around the bend to see what was ahead until I was too tired to walk back. And there was Mama, always able, bad back and all, to carry me home.

We could all learn a little something from my mother. Those visits to our state parks kept her strong and made her love Alabama more and more. And she always—always—believed that our state parks deserved the love and affections, and protection, of everyone, because they are, after all, for everyone to enjoy.

I’ll be doing my part on Nov. 8, to show my love for Alabama’s state parks. I’ll be voting YES on Amendment 2. And I’ll be thinking about my Mama. And I’ll be smiling.

To read this article online, go to:


Stuffed animals, supplies collected in Dothan going to Baton Rouge

By Jim Cook, Dothan Eagle, August 24

Update: Since this article appeared more than 100 boxes containing stuffed animals, school supplies, baby            necessities, household goods, and survival supplies were shipped to an American Red Cross location in Baton Rouge, LA, at the completion of the Bears for Baton Rouge Project from the Dothan CVB.

The truck and moving supplies were donated by Coleman Worldwide Moving, and additional moving supplies were provided by Home Depot.

Volunteers from the community, as well as volunteers representing Coleman Worldwide Moving, Commercial Jet, Enterprise High School, and the “Dothan Eagle” were present to pack boxes and load the truck.

Members of the local media and Mayor Mike Schmitz marked the occasion.

The Dothan CVB is overwhelmed by the support of the community, and is proud to represent such generous,            thoughtful, and eager citizens.

These donations will provide comfort and security to the victims who have lost everything in the flooding disaster.                      

Thank you Dothan, Enterprise, Donalsonville and every citizen in between.  Today’s donation is what communities helping communities is all about.

When the Dothan Convention and Visitors Bureau started collecting stuffed animals for kids displaced by the floods in Louisiana, organizers thought they’d just collect a few bears and mail them to Baton Rouge.

They underestimated Dothan’s generosity.

“By the end of last week we realized we’d need to get a truck with a pull-behind trailer, but now we think by the end of the week we are going to need a full moving truck, which is awesome,” said Katie Parrish, director of communications for the Dothan Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Parrish said the effort began on Aug. 18. Since then, hundreds of stuffed animals, as well as diapers and school supplies, have been delivered to the CVB.

Parrish said the Red Cross had requested stuffed animals, as they are helpful in reassuring children who may have lost their toys and comforting items in a disaster. The Red Cross has also requested donations of school supplies and baby necessities.

Matt Rogers, principal of Enterprise High School, helped organize efforts at his school to collect items for the Bears for Baton Rouge program.

Rogers said the effort gave him a chance to give students practical experience in the ethics and values his school tries to instill.

Rogers said the effort also recognizes the contributions other communities made to Enterprise when the city’s high school was destroyed by a tornado about a decade ago, killing several students.

“We had friends who came to our aid,” he said. “This goes hand in hand with what we’re trying to teach our students.”

Baton Rouge and surrounding areas in Louisiana were subjected to devastating floods recently that left many people in the area displaced from their homes. Relief efforts are ongoing.

To read this article online, go to:


Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Sept. 7 – 9                               STS Fall Forum                                              Birmingham

Oct. 5                                      Alabama Tourism Workshop                          Montgomery



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Alabama Tourism Department