Montgomery, Ala – “The tourism numbers have been released from the State Tourism Department for 2016,” said Teresa Todd, President of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, and the numbers are great! With our Bicentennial Celebration starting this year (2017) and continuing through 2019, I foresee an even greater percentage of travelers coming to visit Limestone County and many other Alabama Counties.” In our community travelers spent $129 million and were responsible for 1,569 jobs last year in Limestone County, according a report conducted for the Alabama Tourism Department. To break it down another way, that figure represents a 3.9% increase in traveler spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation. Looking statewide, the tourism industry grew by 5.4% with more than 25 million visitors spending $13.4 billion last year, according to the report conducted by Auburn University Montgomery. “The tourism numbers for 2016 bring great economic news for Alabama,” said State Tourism director Lee Sentell. “The dollars spent on tourism creates jobs, it grows local economies and generates needed tax revenues. Travel spending in Alabama has doubled over the previous 14 years.” Without the dollars collected by the tourism industry, each household in the state would end up paying $444 in additional taxes, according to the report developed by economist Dr. Keivan Deravi. Todd gave the amount locally saved; without the dollars collected by the Tourism Industry each household in Limestone County would end up paying $341 in additional taxes. The five counties in which tourists spent the most are: Baldwin County with $4.2 billion, Jefferson County with $1.9 billion, Madison County with $1.2 billion, Mobile County with $1.1 billion, and Montgomery County with $814 million. The complete state tourism economic impact report will be available in early May. Contact Teresa Todd for more information Teresa@VisitAthensAL.com 256-232-5411 May 6th -- Coffee Call: Veterans of all wars and their families are invited for breakfast and fellowship from 8:00 a.m.-9:30a.m. at the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archive, 100 West Pryor Street in Athens. 256-771-7578 May 6th – Play Outside Day: Families everywhere are encouraged to get outside the first Saturday of every month and play in public parks, enjoy trails, hit the waterways, explore greenspaces and just play! Limestone County offers over 20 trails to explore including walking, cycling, horseback riding and kayaking – perfect for all ages. For more information: 256-232-5411 May 6th -- Paddle for a Cause: Fort Hampton Outfitters LLC, 28890 AL-127 in Elkmont, will host their annual fundraiser from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. They provide the kayak, paddle and flotation device. This year’s proceeds go to a local family who needs help with medical expenses. To schedule your Paddle for the Cause, contact Don Bowling: (256) 431-8988 May 6th -- Ladies Pampering Expo II: At the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 511 Post, 17915 West Elm Street in Athens, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Enjoy a festive atmosphere where YOU are the top priority! Learn to pamper yourself with new clothing, skin care, beauty ideas and accessories. Receive personal attention as you meet local companies that cater to health, cosmetics, nutrition, and crafts. Schedule a paint party with DeeDee Morgan. Free admission. May 6th -- Chick-Fil-A Athens 10K, 5K & 1-Mile Race: Starts at 8:00 a.m. in downtown Athens and winds through historic Athens on USATF Certified courses to benefit Loads of Love. Registration: 10k - $30 pre-registration, $35 race day; 5k - $25 pre-registration, $30 race day; 1 Mile Fun Run - $15 pre-registration, $20 race day -- More info at visitathensal.com May 6th -- Eli's Block Party: Cruise In and Paint Night with The Broken Brush, 107 South Marion Street in Athens, from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. for a cruise in and paint night fundraiser. Sign up and send a picture of your car! The Broken Brush will pre-sketch your car on your canvas and then teach you step-by-step how to make your car come to life! Refreshments provided! Open to ages 10 and up for a 3 hour class. Fee is $55.00 per painter. May 6th -- Mom/Dad and Me Fairy Garden Workshop with 1818 Farms, 24889 Lauderdale Street in Mooresville: Our team at 1818 Farms developed this unique “make and take” fairy garden workshop using only the highest quality containers, plants and handmade painted fairy garden pieces. Workshop includes step-by-step instructions on how to design, plant, and care for your magical garden. Children must be accompanied by an adult. One fairy garden project will be created by each pair. More info at visitathensal.com May 6th -- Spring Krusher Century Ride: The Alabama Backroads Century Series arrives to tackle the roads of Limestone County for their Spring Krusher. Riders can choose from three different distances: 31, 64 and 100 mile options. The ride starts at 8:00 a.m. at Elkmont High School. Info at visitathensal.com May 12 -- Relay for Life of Limestone County: At the Athens Sportsplex from 6:00 p.m. to midnight to honor those lost to cancer, to celebrate those who have won the battle, to recognize those who have stood by those with cancer and to raise awareness. The event is free to attend. Variety of team tents, concessions and goods will be for sale to continue the fundraising to end cancer through research by the American Cancer Society. May 13-20 – Limestone County Sheriff's Rodeo Events: May 13: Parade: Lineup begins at 10:00 a.m. - groups and individuals welcome. Sheriff Blakely and the Grand Marshal will lead the parade starting at 11:00 p.m., featuring Queen Contestants, cowgirls, and cowboys of all ages on horseback along with many buggies and wagons. May 16 -- Live Band, Line Dancing, Western Fashion Show and Music provided by the "Jeff Whitlow Country" band at 6:00 p.m. at the Limestone County Courthouse Square May 18 – Slack Admission $5.00 - Gates open 8:00 a.m. Slack begins 9:00 a.m. May 19 – Special Needs Rodeo 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Rodeo for individuals with special needs at the Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo Arena. May 19 & May 20 – Main Performances. Gates open 6:00 p.m. Pony rides for kids 10 & under till 8:00 p.m. when 35th Annual Rodeo Opening Ceremonies begin. May 20 at noon, Miss Limestone Rodeo Queen Luncheon at the Limestone County Event Center - 114 Pryor Street, Athens. Tickets are available online with credit or debit cards. Links at www.limestonesheriffrodeo.com May 18 -- Tourism Day at the Ardmore Welcome Center at I-65: South-bound travelers are amazed at the hospitality shown here as they stop to take a break and stretch their legs. Everyone will enjoy the tourism activities, entertainment, free soft drinks, cake and loads of free items from hotels and restaurants. Stop by from 10 a.m-2 p.m. May 18 -- Yesterdays Events presents “Elvis Remembered” for the senior matinee and lunch. Doors open 10:30 a.m. Program begins 11:00 a.m., showtime noon - 1 hour show. Complete lunch $12, cash or check; show is free with paid lunch. Contact info@yesterdaysevents.com May 19 -- Singing on the Square: Limestone County Courthouse, Marion Street in Athens, AL. Join the Athens-Limestone County Tourism and sponsor Jimmy Smith Buick GMC for a free concert starting at 6:00 p.m. with Contagan and Temple of Blood at 7 p.m. This is our first Heavy Metal band, playing tunes of the 80’s. Be sure to bring your lawn chair and maybe some ear plugs. Rain location is the Vietnam Veterans Bldg, 17915 W Elm St, Athens. Next month’s band will be Trippin Dixie on June 16. May 22 -- Pancake Breakfast to benefit Girl Scout TROOP 1922: Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased at door on day of event. Where: Applebee's Bar & Grill 1331 US HWY 72 E, Athens, AL, 8:00 - 10:30 a.m. May 27 -- 3rd Annual Catfish Literary Festival: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Meet local writers and celebrate the arts at Athens-Limestone County Public Library. We’ll have 20+ local writers signing their books, author panels, and nature photography by local photographer Denise Grisham. The Little Kitchen food-truck will be serving gumbo, fried catfish, and more! This event is free and open to the public. If you’re an author interested in having a table at the festival, please contact Kris at 256-232-1233. May 29 -- Memorial Day Program: At the Limestone County Event Center, 114 West Pryor Street Athens, AL. Join the Alabama Veterans Museum and area veterans’ organizations for a Memorial Day presentation. Open to the public.

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