1-17-2014 3-30-32 PMHave you ever wondered what role the Tourism Office or Visitor Center has in the community of Limestone County? The primary purpose of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association is to solicit into Athens and Limestone County “temporary tax payers.” In other words, people who come to visit stay in our hotels, buy gas, enjoy their meals in our restaurants and attend our events and attractions. To our “Limestone County” Tourism Industry, we bring historians, naturalists, hikers, bikers, equestrians, kayak enthusiasts, fishermen, Civil War re-enactors, artisans, storytellers, artists, musicians, sporting events, horse shows, rodeos, seminars, meetings, conferences and class / family reunions (to name a few) from all across the country.

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We also develop tourism through the promotion of permanent attractions such as the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives – be on the lookout for a major announcement from Museum Director Sandra Thompson and her team during the course of the New Year! Our Historic District and Antebellum Homes offer driving tours to our visitors, and the Limestone County Archives has generations looking into their family genealogy to discover and preserve those precious times of yesteryear. Athens also boasts its very own Drive-In Theater positioned alongside our Walk-In Theater. This Drive-In is one of only nine in the state of Alabama and though they are considered a dying breed, some things do get better with age. Athens State University Founders Hall (built in 1822) is Alabama’s oldest institution of higher education. ASU has seen exponential growth recently including a new partner initiative with the University of North Alabama. Tourists come into our Limestone County communities for songwriters night and entertainment facilities. Festivals known across the country such as the Old Time Fiddlers Convention (soon to embark on its 50th Anniversary) and new visions such as the Athens Grease Festival, where we celebrate all things fried, also bring new faces. Visitors also find themselves satiating at our unique and interesting restaurants that run the gamut from authentic Cajun cuisine to Award-Winning Goat Cheese.

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We encourage historical activities such as our free guided historical walks held each Saturday in April and educational programs like ‘Earth Day’ celebration, art camps & strolls and the farmer’s markets held throughout the summers. The Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association / Athens Visitors Center is located in the historic Athens Utilities Building and was built in 1906. In later years it was often referred to as the “Domino Hall” where men played weekly dominos. Decades later, Athens City Council agreed to renovate the building and include a beautiful wood and glass community room that looks out on the Big Spring Memorial Park’s relaxing fountains and various species of ducks. Athens-Limestone County is rich in history, culture and music, but our eye is very much fixated on the future and new growth opportunities for “Our Town.”

1-17-2014 3-30-48 PMOn April 1, 2010, the Visitors Center / Tourism Office opened at 100 N. Beaty Street. The original brick walls with wood ceilings and floors are reminiscent of the building in its beginning. Currently the Visitor Center has a “Delmore Brothers” exhibit on display. Alton and Rabon Delmore were born in Elkmont, Limestone County, AL. In 1931, the Delmore Brothers joined WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. They later moved to Raleigh, North Carolina then to WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they formed the Browns Ferry Four Gospel Quartet. The original members of this famous quartet were Alton, Rabon, Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis.

ALCTA is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM, and in the summer on Saturdays from 8:00 AM – noon. Come by for a tour of our historic building. Look through the rack of brochures and post cards. We will be pleased to tell you more about Limestone County, “We have what you love about the South!”
By: Teresa Todd Athens-Limestone County Tourism President
100 Beaty Street, Athens, AL 35611

12-20-2013 6-41-01 PMThis first year at the Tourism Office has gone so quickly. Trade Shows, Festivals, Events and Marketing College all to attend, and meeting many new travelers to our town; it has been so enjoyable.

Since we did have so many events, festivals and activities this past year, I thought I would give you an overview of 2013.

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The Alabama Veterans Museum is one of the best military exhibition halls in all of Alabama. They start us off every year and the first Saturday every month with Coffee Call, a locally sponsored breakfast for Veterans at 8:00 AM.

Due to the increased interest at the Museum, you will be seeing new things happening there this coming year. A new addition will be in the works as the old pavilion will be removed to make way for additional exhibits and guests.

Another active historical facility is the Houston Memorial Library and Museum. Here you will find some of the original artifacts of two-time Governor George S. Houston and the Donnell House Living Museum.

February began our festivals and events. The Spirit of Athens sponsored their first ‘Chocolate Walk’ for Valentine’s, followed by the Limestone County Hospice Chili Challenge and finished up with the Prime Time Players performing in the famous Polk Sallet Follies. Then we had the Home and Garden Show in March.

In April the fun times began! We started with the Cruise In on the square every first Saturday of the month. The Athens Historic Walks each Saturday at the Visitor Center mixed in with Earth Day Celebration/Outdoor EXPO, the Best Buckin’ BBQ Cook-off, and the first of the monthly Singing on the Square. We rounded out April with Cars & Bikes on the Square Car Show.

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As the rhyme goes with May flowers, you could find them at the Annual Athens Bible School Homespun Arts & Craft Show. Ardmore had their ‘Truck & Tractor’ pull, and the American Cancer Society had their annual Relay for Life. We also had a great educational ‘Living History’ at the Donnell House with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The month ended with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo, winner of the 2010 Event of the Year!

As June approached and the kids were out of school, the Kiddie Carnival began… just in time! There were also the monthly Coffee Call, Cruise In and Singing on the Square, and Ardmore enjoyed their Kids Day.

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July started off with rain, lots of rain! We were even wishy washy on whether to have the July 4th fireworks. However, the rain did make for a nice & muddy CASA Mud Volleyball Tournament, and it dried up well for the Alabama Championship Tractor/Truck Pull at Tanner.

August’s awesome fun began with the Ardmore Rodeo followed by Piney Chapel American Farm Heritage Days, Ardmore Quarterback Car Show, Athens State Community Band Annual Concert on the Square, Cruise In, Singing on the Square and the Ardmore Crape Myrtle Festival.

September’s special events were the Annual Cemetery Walks, followed by the Annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Ride. We had the 5-K Duck and Run race, the Gospel Jubilee and the one and only ‘Athens Grease Festival’ for all things fried.

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With the cooler days and the beautiful colors of October, it can mean only one thing–the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. It could also mean ‘Haunts Walks’ every week with guided tours of all the haunted homes and businesses in Athens. The fun and prizes are always great at the Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby. The Elkmont Hilltop Arts Festival didn’t disappoint with its great entertainment and one of a kind crafts. The Athens Storytelling Festival had a special treat with the new amateur night, including winners Frank Travis and Jerry Todd.

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In November we raised our flags, saluted, and thanked our veterans for their service and sacrifice with parades and ceremonies. The Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Athens offered another record breaking Christmas Open House in downtown Athens.

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In December the excitement began to wind down…a little. However, there were still three parades, (Athens, Ardmore, and Elkmont) to enjoy, SOA’s Sippin’ Cider. Both Mooresville & Athens offered unique Progressive Home tours with snacks provided.

As you can tell, we have so much to do and see. For information about our events for 2014, visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com or call us at 256-232-5411. Stop by the Athens Visitors Center for brochures and maps in addition to information on dining, shopping, events and attractions.

The Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association staff and board would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We have great plans for an eventful 2014 tourism year and look forward to having you visit us anytime at 100 N. Beaty Street.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

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12-7-2013 10-02-30 AM

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is not a federal holiday. Government offices, schools, businesses and other organizations do not close. However, there are some organizations that hold special events in memory of the more than 2000 Americans who were killed on this day in 1941. Fortunately, we in Athens can also recognize the few remaining local survivors of Pearl Harbor.

11-16-2013 7-34-59 AMThis Saturday, December 7th, 2013, will be 72 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This Saturday is also Coffee Call at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum and Archives where Mr. Sherwin Callander of Madison, AL, a Pearl Harbor survivor, is planning to attend. Mr. Callander has been attending the monthly Coffees for several years, and has been driving himself up until recently. But to hear him tell it, it is his way of having a pretty woman on his arm to escort.

It is places like our Veterans’ Museum that give a setting, or permission it seems, to allow our Veterans to talk (or just be around other Vets). They can heal from the painful memories, and are finally able to share their experiences with their families. The Alabama Veterans’ Museum and Archives has been called “Athens’ best kept secret,” but the secret is beginning to get out!

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In 2009, the Museum received the North Alabama Peek Award as the “Attraction of the Year,” and rightly so. The Museum opened in 2002; they are open 6 days a week and see visitors from all parts of the U.S. and countries around the world. The monthly coffees bring in close to 200 guests for breakfast and more would attend if we had the room. Museum Director Sandra Thompson said, “We are eager to begin our expansion so we can better serve the community, our visitors and our Veterans. We have received a couple of donations towards the Building Fund project but more funds, grants and community support are needed.”

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Below are two stories that have been shared with me through the Veterans Museum, of two local men who survived Pearl Harbor.

Sherwin Callander
US Navy – 1939-1945

During the Great Depression, Callander was fighting forest fires in California for the Civilian Conservation Corps in order to send money back home when recruiters were signing up young men to serve Uncle Sam. Callander said “it was the Navy recruiter who won me over with one sentence, ‘You’ll have a girl in every port.’” He enlisted in the Navy in 1939.

Callender was aboard the USS Wright in the area of Midway Island. They traveled from there to Wake Island and on to Pearl Harbor to restock. They were one day away when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

When Callander arrived at Pearl Harbor the morning after the Japanese attacked, his duties were to bring the dead bodies out of the ocean. He said, “That was my first sight of a mass murder.” As they sifted through the water they were to place body parts in plastic bags. The bags were to contain parts to make up a complete body. “People just don’t realize what all we had to do,” Callander repeated.

Callander later shipped off to Australia. He also made three invasions into North Africa, Italy and France, with an assault troop transport. Callander served in the Navy until 1945. At that time he simply said, “I have seen enough.”

The attack on Pearl Harbor came as a surprise to the American Army and Navy and led to great losses of life and equipment. More than 2000 American citizens were killed and more than 1000 were injured. The Americans also lost a large portion of their battleships and nearly 200 aircraft that were stationed in the Pacific region. More than 60 Japanese servicemen were killed, injured or captured. The Japanese Navy also lost five midget submarines and 29 aircraft.

The Japanese military had hoped that the attack on Pearl Harbor would prevent the United States of America from increasing her influence in the Pacific. However, the events in Pearl Harbor actually led to the escalation of World War II. The day after the attack, the United States declared war on Japan. President Franklin Roosevelt in a speech to Congress stated that the bombing of Pearl Harbor was “a date which will live in infamy.” Shortly afterwards, Germany also declared war on the U.S. In the months that followed the attack, the slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” swept the United States and radio stations repeatedly played a song of the same name.

Gilbert Crutchfield
Army -1938-1958

On December 6th 2009, the production “We Interrupt This Program…Pearl Harbor Remembered” was performed in Athens as a fundraiser for the Veterans Museum. The Guests of Honor were not only all the veterans who have served our country so bravely, but our own Pearl Harbor survivor, Gilbert M. Crutchfield, of Tanner, Alabama.

The interview of Mr. Gil Crutchfield was handled by Jerry Barksdale. Crutchfield gave an account of his days before, the day of, and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Crutchfield was a rifleman in the 25th Wolfhound Division, guarding a vital railroad bridge when he woke to the sound of shells exploding on December 7th, 1941. He had just sent his weapon the day before for repairs, so he hastened to the supply tent where he found a shotgun and 5 shells.
Mr. Crutchfield still has a quick wit when he commented, “I could have done pretty good if they were dropping birds on us.”
After the attack, Gil would be one of four soldiers assigned to spend 10 months guarding the military governor where he stayed at the palace in Hawaii. His division was then sent to Guadalcanal to relieve the Marines after they had thwarted attempts by the Japanese to overtake the island.
He retired in 1958 after serving in the Korean War as a first Lieutenant.

Gil said he enlisted in the Army in 1938 to make more of himself than a 50 cent per week salary…and he certainly did. We sadly lost Mr. Crutchfield when he passed away at age 90, on April 13, 2011.

I’d like to thank all of our military personnel for your service and dedication to our country. These are just two stories of the thousands who took it upon themselves to fight for our country, for our way of life, our freedom.

I am so proud to honor you and share your stories on this day of infamy so others have a little better understanding of how life was and could still be.
By: Teresa Todd, Athens-Limestone County Tourism President

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Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock, Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time, Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square, in the frosty air!

11-16-2013 7-34-59 AMCome out to our ‘Jingle Bell Square’ for the Athens Christmas Open House on November 23rd and 24th.
The Christmas Open House is sponsored by our Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Athens organizations. Each year there is a festive look and feel to downtown Athens as Limestone County residents and surrounding counties come to see the historic town welcome the upcoming holiday with all her splendor and charm.

With activities scattered around the Greek Revival Courthouse, everyone enjoys being amid the sounds and smells of Christmas. Carolers will be singing many of the all time favorite Christmas carols as they stroll through downtown. There will be a majestic white horse pulling a Cinderella style carriage offering rides for a small fare. Climb the carriage and step up to the burgundy velvet seats; you will then begin to understand the magic of Christmas as it brings a smile to everyone who graces its path.

11-16-2013 7-34-28 AMSanta will arrive in style in downtown Athens, riding in on a shiny fire-engine red firetruck. He will be delivered to the Center for Lifelong Learning Center at 1PM and will be taking toy requests till 4PM. You may also want to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and have your photo made by our professional photographer. Later enjoy shopping at your favorite boutiques and bookstore. Our many restaurants will be serving holiday fare with a special flair.
The Athens Christmas Open House appears to be all fun and excitement but in reality it helps promote and support our locally-owned, independent small businesses. When residents shop local, their hard earned dollars stay in the community and helps to secure the local economy.

Participating businesses will offer in-store specials, refreshments, and door prizes. Door prize entries will be included in the grand prize drawing from Hobbs Jewelers. The winner does not have to be present to win.

It will be a weekend of exceptional shopping, visiting with friends and holiday fun for everyone.

For more information, contact Jennifer Williams, President of the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce at 256-232-2600.
Here are more Christmas activities to mark your calendar to attend:

Nov 23 at 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Ardmore Chamber Christmas Fair The event will be held at the Ardmore, TN Annex Building and will feature craft vendors, food, family photo sessions and more. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be present and available for portraits for $10.00. Contact Wendi Brake at 256-278-5524.

November 23 from 9 AM to 5 PM, Limestone County Churches Involved will hold its annual STUFF-A-TRUCK food drive to benefit the needy in our area. It will be held at First National Bank, corner of Lindsay Lane and Highway 31 (rain or shine)

Dec 1st – Athens Ladies Civitan Club Holiday Home Tour. From 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Contact Carolyn at 256-233-0258 for more information.

Dec 5th – Reliance Bank Christmas Parade (Athens) Contact: 256-232-1944, www.reliancebanking.com

Dec 7th at 1:00 PM – Ardmore Christmas Parade – Bring your band, float, walking group, club entries, etc. and enter the parade. Enjoy the award winning Ardmore High School Marching Band. Contact: 256-423-3011, 931-427-2421

Dec. 12th Athens State University Community Chorus Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom. Tickets are $5. Buy tickets online atathens.edu/CLL or go to the Center for Lifelong Learning at 121 S. Marion St. on The Square.

Dec.14th – Spirit of Athens Sippin Cider downtown Athens 5-8PM.

Dec.14th Mooresville Holiday Home Tour and Progressive Dinner. Celebrate the Holiday Season in the historic 1818 village of Mooresville. Check in 3:00 at the 1821 Stagecoach Tavern – Decorated Homes, 1839 Brick Church, and 1840 P.O. open & shopping available 3 to 7. Dinner seating at 5:45 and at 7:00. For more information visit www.mooresvilleal.com/progressive-dinner or call 256-355-2683.

Dec 14 – Elkmont Lions Club Christmas Parade Come and enjoy the Elkmont High School Marching Band, floats, walking groups, horses and much more. Contact: 256-732-4211

For more information on Limestone County or on events and activities, go to www.VisitAthensAL.com or call 256-232-5411, email Teresa@VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

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11-1-2013 6-22-14 PMOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, a truce, or temporary end of aggressions, was declared between the Allied nations and the Triple Alliance in the First World War. The following year this date was commemorated as Armistice Day. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became known as Veterans’ Day, dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Ninety-five years later, the wars continue and we continue to honor those who have fought to secure our freedom and rights. We hold these men and women in our hearts and in our prayers; we thank them at military remembrances and… we visit their gravesites.

On November 9th, 2013 we will have our own remembrance with our Athens Veterans’ Day Parade. Limestone County residents can show their support for our veterans by lining the streets, making signs and waving flags along the Parade route. “All Veterans wrote a blank check, they vowed to protect our freedoms and serve our country, to secure the life we all enjoy,” said Alabama Veterans Museum Director & Master Sergeant, Sandra Thompson.”

This year’s Veterans’ Day Parade pays tribute to three admirable and very innovative women as our Grand Marshals. Ms. Alice Rogers, a WWII Cadet Nurse, Ms. Carmen Montgomery, a former member of the Army Nurse Corps, and the Honorary Grand Marshal, Mrs. Louise Steel.

11-1-2013 6-22-59 PMMs. Carmen Montgomery joined the Corps as a second lieutenant in 1944 and worked as a casual nurse and a surgical nurse in stations and field hospitals all over Europe during the war. Her duty stations included Italy, Austria, Germany and France. She earned her Battle Star during the Battle of the Bulge. She became a physical therapist and was instrumental in the eradication of polio.

11-1-2013 6-22-36 PMMs. Alice Rogers was a member of the Nurse Cadet Corps during the final years of World War II, stationed at Woodrow Wilson Army Hospital in Stanton, Va. Alice said, “I finished training in 1943-44, and served at Newton B. Baker Hospital in Martinsburg, W.V. At Baker we cared for paralyzed soldiers who had been shot in the back. I have always used my Army training during my civilian life in nursing. We were taught to improvise what we needed and didn’t have.”

11-1-2013 6-22-45 PMMrs. Louise Steele is a lifelong resident of Limestone County. She grew up in Lester where she is an owner and member of the Treasured Forest organization. She is a graduate of Athens State and taught school in the Tanner area. She has been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution since April 16th, 1966.

Also riding in the Athens Veterans Day Parade will be Maj. Gen. David L. Mann, the commanding general for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Congressman Mo Brooks.

After the parade everyone is invited to the Vietnam Veterans’ Building on Elm Street for free chicken stew.
Other Veteran related activities coming up are:
The Alabama Veterans’ Museum & Archive’s monthly coffee for veterans and families of veterans, held at the museum on November 2nd at 8:00 AM.
East Limestone High School organization, “Support our Soldiers,” will have their Veterans Day program on Friday, November 8th. They will serve breakfast for the veterans at 8:30 and the show will start at 9.

Ardmore Veterans’ Organization annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony and chicken stew November 12th at 10:30 AM at the Ardmore, TN Annex building located at 26349 Main Street. Contact 931-427-2124.

To participate in the Veterans’ Day Parade contact the Veterans Museum Mon-Sat 9-3, 256-771-7578, or email Sandy Thompson at sndy6732@aol.com, or contact Roxanne Haggermaker at 256-374-2073. A $25 entry donation is appreciated.

For information about the above events and other Athens-Limestone County events, call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

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10-19-2013 8-47-09 AMOur 2012-2013 year has come to an end. What an unbelievable year for Tourism and for myself! This time last year, I had no idea I would be promoting all of Limestone County’s community tourism activities. I’m really looking forward to 2014…from Car Shows to Rodeos, Beauty Pageants to themed Festivals, and I’ll be telling you all about them!

As always, October is one of our busiest months. Not only is it beautiful with the many captivating fall colors, but Mother Nature generally allows us to enjoy the cooperation of the cooler, drier weather, too.

October began with an exceptional attendance to Fiddlers’, sold out Haunts Walks, Relay for Life Fit as a Fiddle 5K, and the last Cruise In for this year. The up-coming events are the Hispanic Heritage Festival, Ully Fest, Pink Elephant Luncheon, “KOREA: The Forgotten War REMEMBERED,” and the month will close out with the Storytelling Festival.

10-19-2013 8-48-30 AMThis past weekend we watched as a ‘Reinvention of the South’ took place. Goat Cheese has never made such an impression on a town as Belle Chevre and Tasia Malakasis has in Elkmont, AL. On Saturday, October 12th, 2013, it was as if the whole town of Elkmont had come out for the “Southern Reinvention” and Grand Opening of Belle Chevre’s new creamery. However, the majority of the guests were not from Elkmont, they had come from surrounding communities to welcome the award winning cheese maker and to enjoy the festivities.

10-19-2013 8-48-20 AMA ‘hands on’ cheese making activity was very popular. I was delighted to be the first guest to make goat cheese in the new creamery! I produced a pure white 3 oz. tube of goat cheese made fresh in the new Belle Chevre 8000 sq. ft. creamery. The Creamery itself has been reinvented from a century year old cotton warehouse.

10-19-2013 8-47-20 AMNow looking ahead, we are putting a new twist this year on the Storytelling Festival. We are blessed in Limestone County to have some really great speakers. Some may say we even have some fine orators, then others would just call them “Tall Tellers”. So, in honor or all those who like to stretch the truth, puff it up, embellish or just flat out lie, Tuesday night, October 22nd is just for you. This will be the first time for “Amateur Night” at Storytelling.

The line up or ‘lie up’ will be Athens finest.
We know this first teller as the person who started the Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo. He has been a State Trooper, served in the US Marine Reserves and has been our favorite sheriff for the past 30 years, Sheriff Mike Blakely.

10-19-2013 8-48-07 AMThis next person is the former Mayor of Athens and now a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, Dan Williams. I’m sure he has a few tall tales he can share!

This smooth talker is a triple threat. He is a local Polk Sallet actor, dancer, director and sometimes he impersonates Dr. Seuss. Yes, Mr. Frank Travis will be a competitor.

10-19-2013 8-47-29 AMA man dear to my heart is known as “Coach” to many Athens High graduates. He is currently known for being a ‘player’ all over town. Our local Athens Dulcimer Group player, and Limestone County Hall of Fame member, Jerry Todd will be tough to beat.

Someone you don’t want to meet in the courtroom is Athens City Attorney, Shane Black. Shane is flawless when it comes to building suspense and drama. He is very accomplished as a Polk Sallet actor, a Cemetery Stroll character and as a Haunts Walks Tour Guide.

10-19-2013 9-01-57 AMAnd last but not at all least is Charlie Hughes. Charlie has been the MC for Storytelling, Car Shows and our local Festivals. He really knows how to keep the show going, plus he works at UG White, where I’m sure Bob White has been coaching him for weeks.

So come out on Tuesday night, pay your $5 and have a ton of laughs. The 7th Annual Athens Storytelling Festival is October 22th – 26th. The school children will get to attend free on October 23rd & 24th thanks to our local legislators.

For information about the above events and other Athens-Limestone County events call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

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10-4-2013 3-56-54 PMEveryone knows that Athens, Alabama is a beautiful historic town. Most people know that many of the structures predate the civil war? You may even know some of the personal history of our founding families. However, not all our history lies on the surface.

Maybe you’ve seen that unexplainable form in the corner of your eye while visiting one our historic homes? Maybe you heard footsteps but turned and saw no one? Maybe a cold spot you past through in 90 degree heat chilled you to the bone? Maybe you took pictures at the Fiddlers’ Convention and caught odd round shapes in the picture? Maybe the answers to these occurrences lay in the tales of some of our oldest residents…the ones of ether or malcontent.

10-4-2013 3-56-47 PMThe Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association has launched its ticket sales for this year’s “Haunts Walks” and this is your opportunity to get a glimpse into the haunted history and mysterious happenings of Athens through the ghost stories. This walking tour takes you from the Athens Visitors Center through the historic districts with guides Shane Black and Billy Ward recounting tales, woes, and the unexplained.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Athens Visitors Center, Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 4:30PM. The Visitors Center is located at 100 North Beaty Street on the corner of Market and Beaty Streets, next to the Big Spring Memorial Park. The upcoming walks are on October 1, 8, 15 & 29 and each last about 2 hours. Tickets for adults and children age 5 and up are $5.00 each. Children under age 5 are admitted free. There are a limited number of tickets available, so purchase them early.

This year we have added a little more fun for the October 29th walks since they are just a couple of days before Halloween. We are asking those who attend on the 29th to come in costume. We will select the best costume from each walk and the winner will receive a prize. It will be lots of fun seeing all the “spooks” walking through Athens.

There are two tours each night. The first group departs at 6:30 PM followed by the second group at 7:00 PM and leisurely stroll downtown Athens. This is a walking tour and those participating should wear comfortable walking shoes, with reflective colors and bring a small flash light.

10-4-2013 3-56-00 PMYou may have noticed there are no tours on Oct 22nd; this will be the week of Storytelling. This year’s Storytelling Festival will have local tellers on Tuesday Oct 22nd telling their tall tells. This will allow for the public to come out and enjoy hearing about your friends and neighbors shenanigans. The winner of this juried competition will join the professional tellers on Thursday Night Olio. Tickets are $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children. Purchase tickets early at the pre-registered pricing at www.AthensStorytellingFestival.com until Oct 9th. The Storytelling Festival with the professional tellers will begin Thursday evening Oct 24th, and run through Oct 26th.

For information about the above walks & Storytelling or any other Athens-Limestone County events, call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com.

HERE ARE THE LOCAL EVENTS FOR OCT 4th – OCT 26th:

October 4 10:30AM – 1:30PM
Annual Bean Day
At First Baptist Church, Family Life Center. Lunch includes white beans, slaw, cornbread, onions, drink and a homemade dessert for $6.00. Delivery plates available for 10 or more orders, but does not include a drink. Contact The Council on Aging Foundation at 256-232-7199 or janesiniard@ymail.com or Jennifer Reece at 256-233-6412 jennifer.reece@limestonecoutny-al.gov.

10-4-2013 3-56-38 PMTennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention
Oct 4 & 5
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is known as the “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions” for its role in reviving the tradition of competition in old time music. Approximately, 15,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year from more than 30 states. The convention brings some 200 contestants to compete for top prize money. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The Convention culminates in a “fiddle-off,” between the top two fiddlers. The winning fiddler is declared “Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion,” and takes home a trophy and $1000. A total of $11,850 will be awarded to contestants. In addition to the musical competition, hundreds of musicians will participate in the numerous jam sessions conducted across the Athens State campus during the weekend. Many people camp in travel trailers and even tents during the event on the University property. The convention also includes 150 traditional arts and crafts booths. These feature many handmade and traditional items. Convention proceeds support student scholarships and University projects. To date more than $500,000 has been contributed to the University. Contact: 256-233-8261, athens.edu/fiddlers. Admission is charged.

Alabama Veterans Museum Coffee Call

Oct 5 at 8:00 AM
All veterans are invited to the museum for breakfast and a time of fellowship with fellow veterans. Contact 256-771-7578.

October 5, 2013, the world will walk again with Scott Kelby, president of Kelby Training and #1 bestselling photography and technology book author, in the 6th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ more…

Yesterdays Event Center

Oct 5th 6:00 P.M.
Presenting the musical comedy of “Three on a String”, a trio with 40 years of performances who has performed all over the nation, including for President George W Bush. This show will have a country/folk/americana/flavor featuring world class musician and music historian Bobby Horton, and will include skits, jokes, and lots of audience participation. This will be a complete dinner show but no dance floor available for this show.
Show details: Show admission is $10, E-mail Reservations are required. There will be a complete dinner available including drink and dessert for $9.95.
Doors open 6PM, dinner available 6-7PM, showtime 7PM
We can accommodate group reservations, church groups, car clubs, social clubs, etc.
You may reserve seating by replying to this e-mail, and pay at the door, cash or personal check. Please specify if you plan to eat with us.
We will confirm your reservation by e-mail reply. You will receive best available seating. We are now booking company Christmas Parties, and can produce your complete event including facilities, a complete dinner, and entertainment packages.

The Haunted Lester Hospital
October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 & 31
For more information visit The Haunted Lester Hospital.

Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby

Oct 5
This is a rubber duck race. Adopt a duck for your family. Fun for the entire family. Contact 256-233-8728 to adopt your ducks. Donations

Fit as a Fiddle Relay for Life 5K
Oct 5
The City of Athens Relay for Life Team is hosting the 5K at the Athens Sportsplex in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Thanks to Steelcase for helping sponsor our fight against cancer and to Fiddlers for letting us host the run! Registration information is available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1muaDcr–cNt3OHDEs-enpFqlnPkY1YX8TnJ376LSWUM/edit?usp=sharing. Or you can register online at Active.com at: https://www.active.com/running/athens-al/fit-as-a-fiddle-relay-for-life-5k-run-2013

Haunts Walks
Oct 8 at 6:30 & 7:00 PM
For a fun night with family and friends, join us for our annual “Haunts Walks”. Tour guides will tell you some of the ghosts’ stories of homes and buildings in Athens. It’s about a mile walk and takes between 1½ – 2 hours. Tickets are $5.00 each go on sale in August. Contact: 256-232-5411/256-867-1438

Athens Cruise In on the Square
Oct 6
The monthly Cruise In is held the 1st Saturday night of each month – Apr – Oct. Bring your antique vehicle and park around the square. Enjoy delicious dishes offered by our downtown restaurants. Come early and check out the great buys at the downtown businesses. Be sure and get you an ice cream cone at Limestone Drug or milk shake at Kreme Delight. Make it a family night. Contact Tom at 256-457-9179.

Paint the rack PINK party!
October 10th at 6:00 p.m.
What is a Paint the rack PINK party you ask? Test your creative skills by creating your own work of art made of bras. Our elite panel of judges will pick our winning pieces to be auctioned off at the Pink Elephant Luncheon. Both events will be held at the Limestone County Event Center. The cost is $40 each to participate that includes your bra, painting materials, cocktails, & light hors d’oeuvres. Proceeds will benefit the Pink Elephant Mammogram Scholarship Fund. Cancer touches close to many of our hearts. Imagine if you didn’t have the means to get checked by your doctor. It happens very often. Help us help the community. This event will provide people with no insurance the opportunity for an annual exams.

Pre-registration forms are available and will be posted on the event page. Please print form & mail it to the address listed {100 Sanders St., Athens AL 35611} or get with Shelli Davis Waggoner for more assistance at shelliw@alhnet.org. Cash, check, & major credit cards accepted. Hope to see you there! Feel free to invite as many people as possible. Event sponsors include Tiffany Pack- Realtor with Garner Real Estate Group, Creative Canvas, & The Pink Elephant Foundation
*food, drinks, & cocktails are first come first serve, supplies are limited {you must be 21 to drink}
To Download Form Click {or click Get Tickets on the Event Page} >>>>https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6HCzkB_mONIa1ExNnZxem9ZZTg/edit?usp=sharing

North Alabama Christian Children’s Home

October 12 12:30-3:30PM
First Annual Benefit Motorcycle Ride. Group leaves from Central Church of Christ 320 Highway 31 N in Athens at 11: AM. Call 256-757-4212 or 256-366-3327.

Cowart Elementary Harvest Festival

Oct. 12 from 4-7 p.m.
This is a carnival-style fundraising event to support the school. There will be games in every classroom, silent auction, basket raffles, bingo in the library, lots of food and lots of fun for all ages. Some of our most popular games are the calk walk, toy walk, book walk and stuffed animal walk. Armbands are $10 for unlimited play or you can use tickets– 50-cents each, one ticket per activity/game. The entire community is invited to come out and support Cowart Elementary!

Fly with Davis
October 15, 2013 at Big Spring Park and I think we said 6P. This is a balloon release in memory of infant and fetal loss.

Haunts Walks
Oct 15 at 6:30 & 7:00 PM
For a fun night with family and friends, join us for our annual “Haunts Walks”. Tour guides will tell you some of the ghosts’ stories of homes and buildings in Athens. It’s about a mile walk and takes between 1½ – 2 hours. Tickets are $5.00 each go on sale in August. Contact: 256-232-5411/256-867-1438

Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation presents the 6th Annual Pink Elephant Luncheon Wednesday October 16th, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CDT at the Athens-Limestone Events Center contact Shelli Waggoner – shelliw@alhnet.org 256-233-9236 for more information or register here

Oct 19th “The Flashbacks” Classic Showband Dinner Show (public) For more information contact info@yesterdaysevents.com (256) 232-2506 or go to www.yesterdaysevents.com

Local Tellers Competition

OCT 22ND
Storytelling starts off with our Local Tall Tellers giving their best stretch of the truth. The winner of this juried competition will join the professional tellers on Thursday Night Olio. Tickets are $5 and $2.50 for children. Pre-register pricing at www.AthensStorytellingFestival.com till Oct 9th. Call 256-777-4525 for more info.

Athens Storytelling Festival

Oct 24, 25 & 26
It’s going to be an exciting weekend. Check out the website – www.athensstorytellingfestival.com for more information. Contact: 256-232-0400.

By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

9-20-2013 3-46-18 PMThe Spirit of Athens is preparing for another amazing and unique ‘Athens Grease Festival’ on September 28th in our Historic Downtown from 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Wear your favorite toga and receive $1.00 off the $5.00 admission fee, children 3-12 years of age will also receive $1.00 off their $3.00 admission fee when they wear their toga. There will be no charge for the children’s area of activities at this year’s festival. The children’s area will also have a special guest, Farmer Jason, to entertain them sponsored by Alabama Farm Credit.

Adults will have the special privilege to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg. Bragg currently teaches at the University of Alabama and also writes a column for Southern Living. Bragg will speak at 5:00 PM in the Center for Lifelong Learning. There will be no extra charge for his presentation but you are asked to reserve a ticket; seats are limited.

You can also pre-register this year for Toga Fun Run, Turkey Toss, Toga Contest, and Dub’s Burger Eating Contest at the Athens Grease Festival Facebook page.

9-20-2013 3-46-25 PMLast year there were approximately 4,500 people to attend the inaugural festival. The festival was created after a branding firm assisted the City with way finding signage. They suggested a festival to celebrate the Greek revival architecture along with the city’s name and ‘fried’ food would bring out the curious and the foodies.

You will find an assortment of unusual fried foods, from fried pickle spears to fried rib sandwiches to fried Oreos. I also hear the Sheriff has a special ‘oyster’ dish he is preparing.

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It will be a day long event which starts with a fun run, Lady Athena will rein over the entire day of events. Music performers, “The Coolbone Brass Band” and Nashville guitarist, Williams Tyler will entertain throughout the event. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may very well be the largest toga party in the south.

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 & 5, Athens State University will host the 47th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Musical entertainment will be Mike Snider & Gary Nichols and the SteelDrivers will be headlining this year’s festival at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. The musical competitions will be held on the steps of historic Founders Hall and other locations throughout the campus. A total of $11,870 in prize money will be awarded.

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The convention is sponsored annually by the Athens State University Foundation and the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.

9-20-2013 3-46-35 PMThe convention has historically attracted more than 15,000 people for the two-day event, with more than 200 musicians participating in the musical competition. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The festival culminates on Saturday night with the naming of the “Fiddle Champion.” Being named Fiddle Champion is highly competitive and is a coveted prize.

Beginning this year, The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be home to Alabama State Champions for certain contests. The Alabama State Champion categories include Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old Time Banjo, Classic Old-time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old-time Singing, Guitar – Finger Picking, Guitar – Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Bluegrass Old-time Band. The winners in those categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions respectively.

To see more of what is taking place during September and October go to www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

9-6-2013 4-18-07 PMThe historic Athens City Cemetery will “come alive” with more than 35 period attired personalities to represent notables from the past 200 years during the Annual Athens City Cemetery Stroll on Sunday, September 22 from 2 – 5 P.M.

The history of Athens City Cemetery is also the history of the southeast during America’s southern and westward expansion. This event is free to the public and donations are welcomed to assist in the efforts of preserving these historical landmarks.

A few of the residents below may be stirring around for you to encounter.

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Miss Jane Hamilton Childs who became the president of Athens College. During the War for Southern Independence, Madame Childs saved the Women’s College from destruction.

The feisty wife of James Donnell, Maria, was alone with a sick child during the union occupation. James had been exiled across the Tennessee River because of a warrant for his arrest by the occupying army.

Sallie Beaty, and her husband, Robert Beaty, became one of the founders of Athens. They built the beautiful home now known as the “Beaty-Mason Home.”

Mr. Leland Bacon Estes served 4 years in the Confederate Army and had been imprisoned in the infamous Fort Douglas. He returned to farming after the war; his son became a businessman in Athens.

W. P. Tanner was the son of the first mayor of Athens, Samuel Tanner. W.P. became a merchant then was elected mayor in 1861 during the “Sack of Athens.”

The passionate Mr. John Wade Keyes, declined payment of land for his service in the Revolutionary war by saying, “I did not fight for payment, I fought for patriotism.”

The stroll is supported by the City of Athens and Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association. Refreshments provided and served by ladies of Order of the Confederate Rose. Contact Mr. R.B. “Buzz” Estes at 256-434-0441 or Buzz@pclnet.net for more information.

Some restoration efforts are performed by Hobbs Camp #768 – SCV as well as the Athens-Limestone Beautification Board.

Other events and festivals coming up are:

Alabama Veterans Museum Coffee Call – Sep 7 at 8:00 AM. All veterans are invited.
256-771-7578.

Athens Cruise In on the Square Sep 7 from 3:00PM-8:00PM – 256-457-9179.

John Wade Keyes DAR Hosts A Celebration of Our Constitution September 19, 1:30 PM Alabama Veterans Museum. Special Guest Speaker, Major General Chris Anzalone, USAF (Ret)

Singing on the Square sponsored by Champion Chevrolet Sep 20 at 6:00 PM. Featuring Nedia Keel and Rocket City Chorus at 7:00PM both of Huntsville, AL. Contact 256-232-5411.

Trail of Tears Ride – Sep 21 Noon – 1:30 P.M. www.trailoftears-remembrance.org.

KALB Duck & Run 5K – Sep 21 at 8: AM Register at www.KeepAthensLimestoneBeautiful.com or 256-233-8728.

City Cemetery Walk Sep 22, 2–5:00 PM Come to the cemetery on Hobbs Street and enjoy the characters telling of their ancestors or others buried there. 256-434-0441.

The 2nd Annual Sherri Adams Softball Tournament September 28th 9: A.M. wmenefee@limestonehf.com

Athens Grease Festival Sep 28 – Downtown Athens, AL – “A Celebration of all things Fried”. www.spiritofathens.com.

For more information on all these and more events go to www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

8-16-2013 3-17-07 PMAugust 4th through August 9th, 2013, Alabama Veterans’ Museum Director, Sandy Thompson, and I attended Marketing College in Dahlonega, Georgia. We had 6 fantastic days of training and some great experiences.

Classes were held from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM at the beautiful North Georgia College & State University. The topics ranged from Public Relations, Research, Branding, Brochures, and Social Media Integration, to Festival & Event Planning, and even Highlighting Top Trends in Travel & Tourism.

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But as expected, it wasn’t all work! On our first night, we embarked on a secluded walk to the local wine trails for a fabulous dinner, where we had the pleasure of taking in the ever-impressive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains about which the late John Denver spoke so eloquently. Before we said goodbye to the beautiful town of Dahlonega, we were invited to a picnic at a massive 800 acre estate, and mingled with our new found tourism companions. We dined at unique and colorful restaurants, shopped the downtown square, and enjoyed their stunning mountain scenery. Their gracious hospitality was very impressive.

8-16-2013 3-17-40 PMOne week each year, tourism industry professionals from the Southeast meet at the University of North Georgia for the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College. Students experience a broad-based curriculum of courses designed to teach marketing techniques from all facets of the tourism industry.

Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association granted Sandy and me scholarships for this ongoing education. In two years we will receive our certification as a TMP – Travel Marketing Professional. Thanks to Tami Reist and Dana Lee Jennings of AMLA for this opportunity to continue our training, and this unforgettable experience.
Till next year!

Take a look at what’s coming up the next couple of weeks:

Singing on the Square, sponsored by Champion Chevrolet on Aug 16 at 6:00 PM, will feature the Athens State Community Band. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy this free concert. Call 256-232-5411.

8-16-2013 3-18-18 PMMidnight Madness – day/night disc golf tournament Aug 17 at 5:30 PM – Sponsored by the Athens State University Alumni Association, benefitting the American Cancer Society. Contact 256-990-1254 or Bill_Bullington@yahoo.com.

Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation Luncheon on August 21st at 11:45 AM at the Limestone County Event Center. Purchase your tickets online at www.alhfevents.org, or call 256-233-9236.

Summer Art Strolls in Athens Aug 23 from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
Over 20 visual artists on the Courthouse Lawn on The Square. Contact athensartsleague@gmail.com.

8-16-2013 3-18-08 PMMiss Crape Myrtle Pageants – Aug 23 – Young ladies ages 1 day – 19 years and gentlemen 1 day – 5 years are invited to participate at the Ardmore, TN Annex building. www.ardmorealtnchamber.org or call Tonya 256-777-6621.

Athens State Zumba Fundraiser Aug 24 at 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM in the ballroom of Sandridge Student Center at ASU for $10 per person. The proceeds benefit Sarah’s Helping Hands. Contact Hannah (256) 749-5485 or hesch1@my.athens.edu.

Ladies Tea and Fashion Show at Creekside Plantation Aug 25 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM in Mooresville, AL. Tickets are $20. Call Holly Carpenter at 256-479-1429.

Ardmore Crape Myrtle Festival on Aug 31 is held at the Ardmore, TN John Barnes Park located on Ardmore Ridge Road.

Alabama Veterans Museum Coffee Call Sep 7 at 8:00 AM. Contact Sandy at 256-771-7578.

Athens Cruise In on the Square, Sep 7 from 3:00 -8:00 PM. Contact Tom at 256-457-9179.
By: Teresa Todd, Athens-Limestone County Tourism President

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