Tourism Tuesdays November 14, 2017

You still have time to enjoy the Fall colors in Alabama
Alabama tourism official: Ten Commandments generated more reaction than recent Roy Moore scandal
Alabama grillers compete at World Food Championships
Music hall of fame hosts showcase
Nation’s first national memorial to lynching to open in Alabama this spring
Alabama 200 workshops conclude for this year in Fort Payne
“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


You still have time to enjoy the Fall colors in Alabama
From the article by Alan Collins on

The clock is ticking for people to enjoy Alabama’s fall colors of the state’s forest. The Alabama Tourism Department said there is just about two weeks left in the season before leaves begin to fall. Brian Jones with the Department of Tourism said the best views can be found from Shelby County to all of North Alabama as temperatures drop. The change begins in October and last to the middle or late November. Jones said this year the changeover in colors was delayed because of the unseasonable warm temperatures.

Alabama state parks are the some of the best places to view a variety of colors of the leaves.

Alabama Color Trail
Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham is a great starting point. The Department of Tourism suggests taking in the sights from Peavine Overlook and Peavine Falls.

In Blount County there is the Horton Mill, Old Easley or Swann covered bridges and Palisades Park.

In Cullman County there is the Ave Maria Grotto and the 277-foot long, 90 foot high Clarkson Covered Bridge as places to view a large landscape.  Tourism officials point out the Natchez Trace in the northwestern part of Alabama goes for about 33 miles. This will bring you to Joe Wheeler State Park.

You can go to the Joe Wheeler Dam near the cabin area on the Lawrence County side for another suggested area. Visitors can not go wrong heading to Guntersville State Park and take AL 227 through the park.

In Etowah County Noccalula Falls will give sight seers a diverse view of trees.

The Tourism Department said Desoto State Park in Fort Payne heading to Little River Canyon will give you a beautiful view.

Finally in Cheaha State Park you can take advantage of the state’s highest point to enjoy fall colors from Bald rock and Pulpit rock.

For the complete article please see

A list of recommended viewing sites and a fall colors driving route are all available on the state tourism website at   (

Alabama tourism official: Ten Commandments generated more reaction than recent Roy Moore scandal
From the article by John Sharp on

Will Alabama tourism suffer from the recent Roy Moore scandal?

Lee Sentell, the state’s director of tourism, isn’t certained. But he said Monday that the social media and email feedback Alabama Tourism Department has gotten since Thursday pales in comparison to the amount of reaction his office received in the early 2000s, after Moore oversaw the display of a Ten Commandments monument inside the state’s judicial building.

For now, Sentell said the only people his office is hearing from are Moore detractors after The Washington Post published a story Thursday detailing claims that the former judge had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979. The story also details accounts of Moore’s romantic pursuits with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

Moore will face off against Democrat Doug Jones during the Dec. 12 general election for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat recently held by current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“The reaction back then generated a lot more comments from both sides of the issue than what we’ve seen in the last few days, where the only people we are hearing from now are Moore’s detractors,” said Sentell.

Shortly after he was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, Moore oversaw the display of a granite sculpture featuring two carved tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Moore refused to the move the monument after numerous organizations, including the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed a federal lawsuit.

The standoff lasted through 2003, and ended with Moore’s removal from the bench.

It also generated a lot of publicity through the national media, and Sentell said his office was inundated with reaction.

“The reactions on both sides were very vocal and very critical of the state,” Sentell said. “It went on for several weeks.”

Sentell said he’s unsure how the recent attention will affect tourism next year, and whether anyone outside the state will opt forgo a trip to Alabama because of the recent Moore controversy.

“The election will come and go in a month, and then we’ll see,” he said.

Alabama, in 2016, set a record for annual tourism for the sixth year in a row since the 2010 BP oil spill. More than 25.8 million people visited Alabama last year, up from 2.5 percent over the 25.2 million people who came in 2015.

Travelers spent more than $13.3 billion last year, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2015.

Much of the tourism activity in Alabama is linked to five of the state’s largest counties – Baldwin, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile and Montgomery.

Baldwin County, by far, leads the way in tourism activity because the state’s sugar-white sand beaches are located in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

For the complete article please see

Alabama grillers compete at World Food Championships
From the article by Brian Kelly on

If you were traveling along Canal Road in Orange Beach you might have caught the aroma of grills of one huge tailgate party. But there was no football in Orange Beach.

Instead, hundreds of amateur grilling teams from around the nation and the state of Alabama competed in the World Food Championships at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The five-day event wrapped up Sunday afternoon. It was the second year in a row that Orange Beach hosted the event.

Teams competed in categories of best burger, ribs, seafood dishes, oysters and much more Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, a team from Orange Beach competed in the chili category of the competition. “We actually won at the Flora-Bama’s annual Chili Cook-off last February and that’s how we got a spot here,” said Chad Patterson. “I think we have a good shot at winning.”

From Albertville was Lynn Intracan who was behind a stainless steel table, chopping garlic, prepping for the seafood category of the competition on Saturday.

“I’m making a Caribbean glazed snapper with a fresh fruit salad,” said Lynn. “We’re trying to stay local and fresh. We wanted to use fish from the Gulf of Mexico and fruit from local farms.”

Not all in attendance over the weekend were part of the competition. Outside of the cooking tent was the Tasting Village. There, Karen Steele was enjoying some barbecue prepared by one of the competing chefs. “This is such a cool event,” Steele said. “The thing that I like is all the cooks are on a level playing field because they all have to use the same equipment.”

Teams also competed in the best burger competition over the weekend. One team hoping their Bubba Burger would win was Hunter Harrison of Pat Harrison’s Burger King out of Montgomery.

“We actually competed and placed last year so we were able to come back,” said Hunter Harrison. “We really love coming to this event. I’m hoping what makes our burger great in Montgomery will work here.”

The culinary event is set to return in 2018. To see the results of the 2017 World Food Championships, visit

For the complete article please see

Music hall of fame hosts showcase
From the article by Lisa Singleton-Rickman on

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame will host the unveiling of an exhibit for the country music group Heartland on Nov. 21.

The event begins at 2:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

The showcase will include a question-answer session with band members and associates who’ll share stories and memories of the group.

Best known for the 2006 release of “I Loved her First,” Heartland came to prominence in the country music world with a flurry of honors that included Country Music Association Award nominations, and the achievement of selling more than 500,000 copies of the group’s hit song.

The group also had dozens of nationally televised performances, and played in prominent festivals around the country.

Alabama Music Hall of Fame Director Dixie Griffin said the exhibit will be located near the front of the museum and will be up for at least a year.

She stressed that the event is not an induction, but a showcase for the public to learn more about Heartland’s accomplishments and successes.

Showcases are held at the museum a few times a year but there are more this year than usual, Griffin said.

“The history of our music is such a vital part of what we do but we also want to highlight the people and acts who’ve had success in more recent years, the younger bands and musicians,” she said.

“Heartland had a great run and this is a good opportunity for them to be showcased here and for people to come out and learn more about their contributions,” Griffin said.

The band originally formed in 1994 and signed with its first label in 2006. They stayed together until 2012.

The exhibit will include various types of band memorabilia including pictures, clothing, instruments and other items of interest to fans.

For the complete article please see

Nation’s first national memorial to lynching to open in Alabama this spring
From the article by Erin Edgemon on

America’s first national memorial dedicated to victims of lynching will open in Montgomery early next year.

The Equal Justice Initiative will celebrate the opening of the memorial and new museum dedicated to slavery on April 26, 2018.  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice will acknowledge an era of racial terror in the United States when thousands of African Americans were lynched and publicly tortured, sometimes in the presence of thousands of people, EJI said.

The memorial will feature hundreds of 6-foot tall, corten steel monuments aligned in a structure that sits above the city of Montgomery. Also included in the memorial will be sculptures from African and African American artists that explore slavery, segregation, and contemporary issues of racial inequality.

According to EJI, the memorial park will include a monument for every county in America where a racial terror lynching took place that can be claimed by community groups and installed locally.

The lynching memorial is under construction in Montgomery’s oldest community Cottage Hill in west Montgomery. The property overlooks downtown.

A few blocks away from the memorial, EJI will open The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, which explores slavery, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration in America on a site where enslaved people were once warehoused.

The museum will be located at EJI’s offices on Commerce Street in downtown Montgomery.

Located a few steps away from what was once one of the most prominent slave markets in America, and from a port and rail station that trafficked thousands of enslaved black people in the mid-19th century, the new narrative museum will offer ground-breaking, interactive content that takes visitors on a journey through our nation’s difficult past, according to EJI.

Sculpture, fine art, and technology will be combined with original research and multi-media presentations to create a unique cultural experience.

EJI said the museum and memorial are part of the organization’s work to advance truth and reconciliation around race in America and to more honestly confront the legacy of slavery, lynching, and segregation.

“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape,” EJI Director Bryan Stevenson said. “This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”

From April 26-29, EJI is expecting thousands of visitors to travel to Montgomery to celebrate the launch of the memorial and museum. Educational panels and presentations from educational panels and presentations from leading national figures, performances and concerts from acclaimed recording artists and a large opening ceremony.

For the complete article please see

Alabama 200 workshops conclude for this year in Fort Payne
The Alabama Bicentennial Commission will hold its last community workshop for 2017 in Fort Payne on Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Little River Canyon Center.

The workshop has been developed by the Alabama Bicentennial Committee to share information, resources and funding opportunities regarding Alabama’s three-year bicentennial commemoration. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at

From family reunions to school service projects, from museum exhibitions to common reading programs and from recipe collections to oral-history interviews, there will be many ways that individuals, groups and communities can involve themselves in the state’s milestone birthday.

For more information about the workshop and how you can be involved, visit or contact Sam Blakely at, 334-242-5864.

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
Increased exposure for your business is the greatest benefit of being a Partner. More than 1.6 million people have come to looking for information about what to see and do in the state. By creating a Partner page, you have the free opportunity to promote your business to these users.

If you would like to become a Partner, go to today!


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