Tourism
Alabama Tourism Department has announced that 2013 will be the Year of Alabama Food. This is a great program for Athens and Limestone County because we have so many delicious foods that our residents and visitors get to enjoy when they eat at our local Mom and Pop restaurants as well as chain restaurants. We have over 150 restaurants in Limestone County. You can find eggs to lobster and of course we have all the southern favorites like fried chicken, catfish and hushpuppies, BBQ and much more.

Food TourismI’d like to encourage all restaurants to participate with us in our local Year of Limestone County Food by submitting your favorite dish to us. Please send a picture and a description of the dish to info@VisitAthensAL.com. We will promote your business and your dish on our website and social media. If there is enough participation, we may develop a “100 favorite dishes” list from restaurants in Limestone County. This is free publicity for all participating restaurants.

Food TourismDuring the summer we had a Limestone County Restaurant Week and several of the local restaurants participated. We will promote our local restaurants again this August. Any restaurant that wishes to participate should contact us at the Athens Visitors Center by telephone, fax or email. We look forward to hearing from all of you very soon. New tear off maps are being prepared in January. We ask that all restaurants contact us so that we can make sure that each eating establishment in Limestone County is listed. Tear off maps are free and are giving to tourists, participants at trade shows, participating restaurants for their customers and mailed in information packages to potential visitors. They are great marketing tool for all restaurants.

Happy New Year everyone! We look forward to an outstanding tourism year!

For more information about events and attractions in Athens and Limestone County or to add an event to our calendar, call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit www.VisitAthensAL.com. Pick up brochures, maps or information on dining, lodging, shopping, events and attractions at the Athens Visitors Center located at 100 Beaty Street North, Athens, AL.
By: Jeanette Dunnavant Jones, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

TourismThe Athens Limestone Community Association presents the critically acclaimed gospel musical “CROWNS” on January 4th and 5th at 7:00 PM and on Jan 6th at 3:00 PM at the Council on Aging Building location at 912 West Pryor Street, Athens, AL. Advanced tickets ($15.00) may be purchased at Pablo’s on Market, Raven’s Beauty Shop or Kenny’s Kutz. “Crowns” was written by Regina Taylor and is directed by Frank Travis.

Gospel Musical - Crown

The Story of “Crowns”

“Crowns”, a play with music and dance, is adapted from a book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. “Crowns” weaves together a variety of stories from different characters, time periods and perspectives that, when integrated with music and dance, create a tapestry of voices that transcend time and place. The essential story of “Crowns” is that of Yolonda, a young African-American girl trying to figure out her identity, her place in the world, and her place in her own culture.

Yolonda is a tough girl from Brooklyn who is proud of her status as a true New Yorker. When “Crowns” starts, Yolonda has been sent to South Carolina to live with her grandmother after her brother has been shot. Mother Shaw, Yolonda’s grandmother, welcomes her granddaughter into a circle of women (Wanda, Jeanette, Velma and Mabel) and a Man who takes many roles. These characters help Yolonda begin linking her own experiences to the stories of her relatives, her history and her people.

“Crowns” follow Yolonda, Mother Shaw and the other characters through a church service. Through its many parts, the service draws Yolonda out of her isolation and grief, teaches her the history of her ancestors and her people, and initiates her into a place in her new community. The women spend the early morning getting dressed and ready for church. The service starts with a Processional, with Yolonda reluctantly wearing a hat that Mother Shaw has bought for her. The women teach Yolonda the “hat queen rules” of etiquette and proper hat wearing.

When the Morning Service begins, Mother Shaw takes over and ushers in the Spirit, which temporarily transforms the space. Shadows of the past take the place of stained glass windows, and echoes of ring shouts and slave songs envelope Yolonda. She pulls away to perform her own “rebel dance,” a movement that evokes the urban landscape of her Brooklyn home and her homesickness. The congregation tries to embrace Yolonda with their message of everlasting love and their own stories of loss. Yolonda tells them her story last, describing her brother’s death and his funeral. She remembers him with sadness and longing, and the women open their arms to her and soothe her with song. In a final movement, Yolonda is baptized, welcomed and accepted into the legacy of these women and all the ancestors who have gone before her. She recognizes the unique ways her ancestry manifests in herself as she declares, “The more I study Africa, the more I see that African Americans do very African things without even knowing it. Adorning the head is one of those things…whether it’s the intricate braids or the distinct hairstyles or the beautiful hats we wear on Sundays. We just know inside that we’re queens. And these are the “Crowns” we wear.”

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

Country Lan Discounr Medical Massage Therapy

Jeanette DunnavnatThe Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and the Spirit of Athens invite the public to the 26th Annual Christmas Open House. Events will be held all day on Saturday, November 17, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 18. It will be a weekend of unique shopping, yuletide fellowship, and holiday fun.

At each business, shoppers will have an opportunity to register for door prizes and a grand prize donated by Hobbs Jewelers. The winner of the grand prize will be announced on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning located at 121 S. Marion Street. Activities planned for the weekend include visits from Santa, entertainment, carriage rides and refreshments.

Hobbs JewelersThis is the perfect time to start Christmas shopping. There will be sales in all the stores and a large variety of items to select from. Be sure and get the children’s picture taken with Santa Claus and Mother Christmas. Santa will be located in the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning on Saturday from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM and on Sunday from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM. Cost per picture is $5.

Athens Christmas
For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce, www.tourathens.com, at 256-232-2600 or the Spirit of Athens, www.spiritofathens.com, at 256-278-6436.
By Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, Inc.

Self Defense Solutions Athens Shop Local

Jeanette Dunnavant

Following the Change of Command Ceremony, the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives will hold the Athens Veterans Day Parade November 3rd at 11:00 am. The parade will use the same route as the Christmas parade, lining up at Athens High School. Contact 256-771-7578. Show the veterans how much you appreciate them by lining the streets of Athens and waving a “Thank You” as they pass. Former Prisoner of War (POW) Dempesy McLemore will be the grand marshal.

East Limestone High School “Support our Soldiers” program will be on November 8th at the high school at 8:00 am.

Veterans MuseumThe Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives will celebrate its 10th Anniversary with a Rededication Ceremony on November 10th at 10:00 am. Join the celebration at the museum. The museum is offering an anniversary price for the bricks of $45. They have only 200 spots remaining. This would a great time to purchase a brick for your veteran.

Ardmore Veterans Organization will hold their 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.

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: Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

Country Lane Discount

Jeanette DunnavantAs our 2011-2012 year came to an end, I looked back over the past 12 months and I am amazed to see how many new events and successful events we had this year. It has been a fantastic year for our tourism industry. I predict that 2012-2013 will be an even bigger and better year.

Our new tourism year began October 1st with a bang. The Haunts Walks sold out, Bean Day had a great turn out, Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby had a record number of ducks adopted, and the 46th Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention had a record crowd on Friday night. If the rain had held off on Saturday, I think Saturday would have also been a record breaking crowd.

All that is behind us and there is so much to look forward to attending in this fiscal year. On October 20th Chick-fil-A will have their Fall Festival with lots of great games and food. The annual Rails to Trails Fall Walk/Ride will be Oct 27th& 28th and leaves should be at their peak. It’s the perfect time to bring the kids and enjoy the 10 mile walk. If you prefer, bring your bicycles and horses and enjoy the trail. No motorized vehicles are allowed.

We will wrap up October with the 6th Annual Athens Storytelling Festival on October 25th – 27th. The school children will get to attend free again on October 24th& 25th thanks to our local legislators. Athens State University is bringing John McCutheon and his folk music to the tent on October 25th. This man will amaze you with his talent as he plays numerous instruments.

The Spirit of Athens will use the Storytelling Tent October 22nd and will be showing the movie “The Goonies.” Admission is only $3.00. Bring the entire family and enjoy the movie.

November events will begin with the Annual Athens Veterans’ Day Parade on November 3rd at 11:00 AM. On November 10th the Alabama Veterans Museum will celebrate their 10th anniversary and have a rededication ceremony. The annual Athens and Ardmore Veterans’ Day Ceremonies will be on November 11th. We all look forward to the Annual Christmas Open House downtown November 17th& 18th. Open House is the perfect time of year to find that special Christmas gift.

As you can see, even though the weather is getting chilly, there’s still plenty to do in Athens and Limestone County. We are all looking forward to more events for 2013.

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

Everyone 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 couldn’t find the source? Maybe a cold spot you past through in 90 degree heat that 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 lie in the tales of some of our oldest residents– the ones of ether or malcontent.

The 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, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday 8:00 am to noon, for the upcoming walks on October 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30. Each walk lasts 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 30th walks since they are the day before Halloween. We are asking those who attend on the 30th 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 both feature a leisurely stroll of downtown Athens. This is a walking tour, and those participating should wear comfortable walking shoes with reflective colors, and bring a small flash light.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Athens Visitors Center, located at 100 North Beaty Street. It’s on the corner of Market and Beaty Streets, next to the Big Spring Memorial Park.

For information about the above walks, as well as other Athens-Limestone County events, call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

Toe Tapping & Lips Smacking

The inaugural Athens Grease Festival will be September 29, 2012 in downtown Athens at 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. The downtown area will be filled with Southern crafts, Olympic-themed activities, and a variety of food vendors who will offer at least one fried item on their menus. And in the South, fried food is not limited to vegetables and meat; desserts such as fried Oreos and fried Twinkies have become increasingly popular.

It will be a day-long event which includes a bike ride, fun run, and a children’s area. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may turn out to be the largest toga party in North Alabama and dance to live music provided by Faron Davis, The Charles and Grant Show, Matt Prater, Richie and Deemer, Joey Thompson and Charles Williams, and The Park Band.

For more information about the Grease Festival visit www.athensgreasefestival.com.

Riders in The Sky will be headlining the 46th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Athens State University (ASU), performing on the Founders Hall stage at 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM on Friday, October 7th. The Convention will be October 5th & 6th on the ASU campus.

For thirty years, Riders in The Sky have been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the Western musical field. Remaining true to the integrity of that genre of music, they have become modern-day icons by branding a group with their own legendary humor and wit. Riders in The Sky are the only exclusively Western artist to have won a Grammy, actually they have won two!

The 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.

Contests begin Friday, October 5th at 7:00 PM following the Riders in the Sky performance and resume on Saturday, October 6th at 8:30 AM. A total of $11,870 in prize money will be awarded. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.

Admission is $8 for Friday, $10 for Saturday and $15 for both days. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent. Advance tickets are available from the Athens State Business Office located in Founders Hall at 300 N. Beaty Street. For more information visit http://www.athens.edu/fiddlers.

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 Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

The Athens Grease Festival event planners are very excited about the upcoming new festival they are bringing to downtown Athens, AL. Spirit of Athens Director, Trisha Black shared the following information about the festival.

The city of Athens is embracing its love of deep-fried foods and is set to serve up one day dedicated to all things dipped, battered and fried. The inaugural Athens Grease Festival is set for September 29, 2012 in downtown Athens, and along with celebrating the South’s love of fried food, the one day event also pays tribute to the Greek origination of the town’s name.

The downtown area will be filled with Southern crafts, Olympic-themed activities, and a variety of food vendors who will offer at least one fried item on their menus. And in the South, fried food is not limited to vegetables and meat; desserts such as fried Oreos and fried Twinkies have become increasingly popular. Organizers are not worried about encouraging others to indulge as long as everyone eats responsibly the other 364 days of the year. No fried food festival would be complete without a contest to see can best dip, batter, and fry. Food vendors and downtown restaurants are challenged with to see who can come up with the best fried vegetable, best fried meat, best fried dessert, and most outrageous.

Other activities planned for the day-long event include a bike ride, fun run, and a children’s area. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may turn out to be the largest toga party in North Alabama and dance to live music provided by Faron Davis, The Charles and Grant Show, Matt Prater, Richie and Deemer, Joey Thompson and Charles Williams, and The Park Band.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and admission is $5 or $4 for toga wearers. Children 12 years and under get in free. The Athens Grease Festival is organized and hosted by Spirit of Athens, a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Athens. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Spirit of Athens and downtown restoration and renovation projects. For more information, visit www.athensgreasefestival.com or call 256.232.9040 256.232.9040

For information about the above event and other Athens-Limestone County events call 256-232-5411/256-867-1438 or visit our website www.VisitAthensAL.com.

By Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

Crape Myrtles are beautiful this year!

We are very fortunate to have such beautiful crape myrtles this year and just in time for the 20th Annual Ardmore Crape Myrtle Festival and the Miss Crape Myrtle Beauty Pageant. Join us for festival fun on Saturday August 25th, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM, at the Ardmore John Barnes Park located on Ardmore Ridge Road. The festival offers something for everyone. The Kids’ Korner will have rides, games and lots of fun for the little ones. Over 40 vendors will be participating this year offering delicious festival food as well as arts and crafts of all types. The Ardmore AL/TN Chamber of Commerce hosts the event and will be selling crape myrtles in all colors from miniature 1-gallon containers to large plants in 7-gallon containers. The hard to find deep red crape myrtles in 3-gallon containers will also be available. It is suggested that you pre-order and reserve your plants. Admission is free; however, donations are accepted and appreciated.

Live music of country, gospel, bluegrass and rock and roll can be enjoyed at the amphitheater. Bring your chairs or blankets and settle in for a wonderful day of music.

The pageant will be August 24th, 5:30PM, at the Ardmore, TN Annex building. The pageant is a wonderful opportunity for young ladies to learn the art of pageantry. Admission is $3.00 for everyone but participants.

For more information about the events above, contact Linda Higginbotham at 256-423-8252

The next two weeks offer lots of fun and exciting events to attend.

The 20th Annual Piney Chapel American Farm Heritage Days will be August 3rd and 4th at 20147 Elkton Road, Athens, AL. Show grounds open at 9:00 AM on Friday and 7:00 AM on Saturday. There will be gasoline engines, steam engines, antique tractors, cars, trucks, horse drawn equipment, parts vendors, collectibles, and much more. Events include the Parade of Power, Fast Crank Competition, Slow Races, Skillet Throw (for the ladies), Pedal Pull (for the kids) and lots of fun for the entire family. Live entertainment on Friday night will be at 5:00 PM. Admission is $5.00. Children 10 and under are admitted free. Free parking. Contact David Hargrove at 256-431-6226 or Allen Dement at 256-431-0619 for more information.

After you have enjoyed a day at the Farm Heritage Days, drive to Ardmore for the 20th Annual Ardmore Police Rodeo, August 3rd & 4th. The rodeo will be held at the Ardmore, TN John Barnes Park located at 30500 Ardmore Ridge Road. It’s time for bucking, roping, bare back riding, barrel racing and much more. Bring the kids to see the rodeo clowns. Admission is $10 (6-12 years) and $12 (adults) in advance or at gate. 5 and under are admitted free. Two $100 cash giveaways each night. Be sure and purchase your chances on the saddle to be given away. A new Buckle will be given to each event winner. Contact Officer Tom Combs – Rodeo Coordinator at 256-434-0329 or Ardmore Police Department at 256-423-2146 for more information. Contractor this year is Burgess Rodeo Company.

Come to downtown Athens August 4th, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM, for the monthly Cruise In on the Square. Bring your antique vehicle and park around the square. Join the fun by enjoying delicious dishes offered by our downtown restaurants. Come early and check out the great buys at the downtown businesses. Be sure and get an ice cream cone at Limestone Drug or milk shake at Kreme Delight. Make it a family night. Contact Tom at 256-457-9179 .

The 9th Annual Ardmore Quarterback Club Car Show will be August 11th at 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

One of the biggest and best car shows in Tennessee and Alabama is in Ardmore at the Ardmore, TN John Barnes Park located at 30500 Ardmore Ridge Road. Awards will be presented in 10 classes with the top five by class. Live music will be provided by Microwave Dave. The Club Grand Prize is a 1967 Chrysler Imperial. Pre-enter by August 4th and the fee is $20.00. Day of Show entry fee is $25.00. Spectator admission is $5.00 per person or $15.00 per family. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Contact: 256-423-7588 for more information.

On August 11th, the Athens State University Community Band will hold its annual Concert on the Square at 6:30 PM on the east side of the Limestone County courthouse in historic downtown Athens, AL. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy the music under the direction of Mr. Dan Havely. The concert is free but donations will be 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 Jeanette Dunnavant, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association