MarchMadness
Jeanette Dunnavant JonesIt’s March and the fun begins! You can find several things to do each weekend during March. One of the favorites is the annual Poke Sallet Follies, March 7, 8 & 9 at 7:00 PM. This unique variety show features local talent that draws a sellout crowd each night. Local residents perform in a musical that is sure to please all who attend. In addition to the outstanding show, a delicious meal is served. Tickets are available for $35.00 at the Athens Senior Center. Contact 256-233-6412.

Home & Garden

Another favorite event for Athens each year is the annual Athens Home and Garden Show, hosted by the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. The show will be March 16th & 17th at the Limestone County Event Center located at 100 West Pryor Street, Athens. Over 70 booths will have all types of home and garden items for review and sale as well as great ideas for your home and garden projects. It’s a great time to purchase spring plants. Contact: 256-232-2600, www.tourathens.com. Free admission.

Other March events include:

23rd Annual Gospel Fest – Mar 1 at 6:00 PM – Showcasing a variety of local talent including singing, liturgical dance and step groups at the Grand Foyer – Huntsville Campus. Contact Pamela Little at 256/306-2634 or the Calhoun Office of Public Relations at 256-306-2560.

2nd Annual Storybook Ball – Mar 2 at 7:00 PM – Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation invites you to attend this library fundraiser.Tickets are $20 each for adults and $15 for ages 3-18 years. Visit www.alcpl.org for more information.

3-1-2013 1-56-30 PMThe Flashbacks in Concert – Mar 2 at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:00 PM) – “The Flashbacks” will be at Yesterdays Event Center for a night of fantastic memories, and some exciting new surprises. This group performs your all time favorite hits from the 70’s and 80’s, with a little 60’s, Motown, and Disco included, all with high energy and crowd interaction. This will be a complete dinner show, but no dance floor for this show. Admission is $15. Email reservations are required. Dinner is available for $9.95.

Minority Male Summit – Mar 7 at 7:00 PM – featuring motivational speaker Tim Worley, former running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, at the Huntsville Campus. Contact Pamela Little at 256-306-2634 or the Calhoun Office of Public Relations at 256-306-2560.

Dogwood Festival Fashion Show – Mar 12 at 12:00 PM – Athens Limestone Beautification Board invites you to attend their Fashion Show at the Beasley Center on Marion Street. Fashions will be presented by Claborn Specialties and Shoe Gallery II. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased by Mar 5th. Contact 256-232-70207

City of Athens Relay for Life Celebrity Waiters Night – Mar 12 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Our local celebrities will be working for tips to donate to the American Cancer Society at Applebee’s on Hwy 72. The waiters we have so far are Mayor Ronnie Marks, Police Chief Floyd Johnson, Sheriff Mike Blakely, Councilman Jimmy Gill, actor Frank Travis, retired Circuit Court Clerk Charles Page and current Circuit Court Clerk Brad Curnutt.

Corporate Spelling Bee – Mar 16 at 8:00 AM – noon at Athens High School.

Mooresville Rocket Run 10-Mile – Mar16 at 8:00 AM – This is a 10 mile run in Mooresville, AL. Huntsville Track Club membership required to participate in race. Member Forms https://www.huntsvilletrackclub.org/MemberApp2012.pdf

https://www.active.com/running/mooresville-al/rocket-run-ten-miler-2013

Easter Egg Hunt on the Courthouse Lawn – Mar 16 at10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – The hunt is for ages toddlers to 11 years. Pictures with the Easter Bunny will be $5.00 and taken outside this year. There will also be a jelly bean guessing contest and a coloring contest. Sponsored by Spirit of Athens partnering with First Baptist Church.

For more information on the above events or other events and attractions in Athens-Limestone, visit the Athens Visitors Center located at 100 North Beaty Street or call 256-232-5411. Information is also posted on our website – www.visitathensal.com.

3-1-2013 1-57-25 PM 3-1-2013 1-57-39 PM

Celebrating Outdoor Events!

TourismThe Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association is excited to be joining forces with KALB’s Earth Day Celebration this year by adding an Outdoor EXPO to highlight our outdoor activities in our county.

TourismThe Earth Day Celebration and Outdoor EXPO are scheduled to be April 20th at Big Spring Memorial Park. This event offers all types of Earth Day activities as well as recycling projects for the children, live entertainment and vendors displaying and selling outdoor wares such as hunting and fishing supplies, canoes/kayaks, archery supplies, softball/baseball/volleyball/soccer supplies and much more.

Tourism
We are currently accepting vendor applications for the Outdoor EXPOs. Vendors may demonstrate their products but not sell them without paying a vendor’s fee. For vendors wishing to sell their products, there is a required vendor’s fee.

We believe this will be a wonderful opportunity for local retailers to show the community what they offer in support of our outdoor activities. Any retailers interested in participating in the Outdoor EXPO should contact 256-232-5411 for a vendor application or information.

Anyone desiring to participate in Earth Day Celebration should contact 256-233-8728.

If you need information about these or other events and attractions in Athens-Limestone, visit the Athens Visitors Center located at 100 North Beaty Street, Athens, AL, 35611.
By Jeanette Dunnavant Jones, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, Inc.

TourismThis time of year, couples are making special plans to show their love for one another with a special Valentine’s Day celebration. What do we do this year? Where do we go? Do we just stay home and watch a movie? Valentine’s Day is a day to express your love and to celebrate the spirit of love – so do something special for your loved one.

Flowers, candy, jewelry, candle-light dinner, a night at the movies, a day of shopping or even a get away weekend at a nice hotel/motel is always great. Athens and Limestone County businesses would enjoy the opportunity to help you celebrate.

Local florists will deliver bouquets to your loved one. Most women that work love having flowers delivered to their workplace. Valentine’s Day cards and candy are available at local stores as well as chocolate coated strawberries from Russell Stovers, Sugar Mama’s Sweet Treats, Bakery at Elkmont and other locations. Sonic is offering chocolate-cherry Sweetheart milkshakes and of course, Shoney’s has their delicious strawberry pies. Want something extra special – Southern Splendor Chorus will deliver a singing valentine to your sweetheart.

Tourism

Go to one of our locally owned restaurants like LuVici’s and Village Pizza downtown on the square or Catfish Cabin, Clark’s Family Restaurant, 306 BBQ and others on Hwy 72 for a nice cozy meal. Take your sweetheart to a dinner theater show at Yesterdays Event Center, Spoon & Croon Valentine’s Lunch at the Athens State University (ASU) Sandridge Hall Ballroom hosted by the ASU Center for Life Long Learning or the Valentine’s Day Dinner at Canebrake.

Make your loved one feel special with a get away from the kids weekend (or just one night) at one of our local hotels/motels. Local properties will treat you like royalty when you spend the weekend with them. Most offer hot breakfast and two have indoor pools (Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn & Suites). Some hotels are offering special Valentine’s Day packages. Call around and see what’s available.

Gifts of all types are available throughout the county at the specialty shops and department stores. Stop by one of the jewelry stores (Hobbs Jewelers and Osborne’s Jewelers) and pick up a “shiny” surprise for your special person. Not sure what to get that special person, the sales personnel at downtown shops like Pablo’s, Pimento’s, Trinity’s, Crawford’s, Shoe Gallery, UG White and others will help you pick out something special. You can do something as simple as walking hand-in-hand through one of the parks or walking trails and watch the sunset. It’s all about showing your special person how important they are to you. You still have time to plan that special night!

If you need information about these or other events and attractions in Athens-Limestone, visit the Athens Visitors Center located at 100 North Beaty Street or call 256-232-5411. Information is also posted on our websites – www.VisitAthensAL.com.
By Jeanette Dunnavant Jones, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, Inc.

Country Lane Dish Network

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.