We’re only six months into 2017 and Tourism has been more active than ever. To date we have already given two haunts walk tours for Leak City. Leak City is a one-of-a-kind Natural Gas and Fire Service training facility for people all over the U.S. to come master their skills here in Athens.
Also, we hosted several events for our ongoing bicentennial. On March 3 and 4, Rebekah Davis and Dr. Harry Joiner came together for an Oral History presentation. They presented a detailed the history of the Territory of Limestone County to our Athens Rotary Club as well as to the public at our newest venue, the Revival Center. Tourism also hosted Khris Anderson, the Executive Director of the North Alabama Bureau of the American Red Cross. This year marks the 100th Anniversary for this prodigious organization, and we were so honored to host them at our Athens Visitor’s Center.
May 23, we had the first of our bicentennial church tours with Dr. Eric Betts of Athens State University's Curtis Coleman's Religious Studies and Ethics class. We scheduled to tour four facilities. Dana Waldrop with Athens State University gave the tour of the “New Testament Chapel” in Founders Hall at the university. The next church on the tour was First Presbyterian Church (which was formed in 1829 as a Cumberland Presbyterian) with tour guide Buzz Estes. Our third church was Marion Street Church of Christ (This building was originally constructed in 1836 by the First United Methodist Church). Our tour guide was Wayne Kuykendall. Our final church was First United Methodist Church. (First United is actually older than our state. They relocated to the corner of Hobbs & Jefferson and built their current building in 1925.) Our tour guide for this final leg was Richard Martin.
On May 24, Athens-Limestone County Tourism was host to 29 students from India. This marked the fourth year of our ongoing partnership with Nina Tijoriwala, owner of EDU Outing Concepts from Mumbai, India. Along with myself, the students were welcomed by Commissioner Chairman Mark Yarbrough, Mayor Ronnie Marks and Athens State President Robert Glenn. Mrs. Sara Love offered an in-depth tour of the University’s facilities as lunch was served later in the day. We are partnering with local organizations to facilitate a program to encourage a two-day stay for next year’s excursion.
In April, we held five historical walking tours. Each Saturday we gave 4 to 5 separate tours so each visit would provide a different experience. We also had our Bicentennial Historical Cemetery Stroll. Altogether there were approximately 500 guests to enjoy the tours in Athens. Over 100 people explored Mooresville during the five weekends of walking tours. Out of the 67 counties in Alabama, Limestone County was second in attendance for the state. Next year we would like to have Ardmore and Elkmont included in the historical bicentennial tours to share their rich history.
Due to the threat of inclement weather, our first Singing on the Square was held in the Vietnam Veterans building on May 19, featuring lifelong Athens resident Garth Lovvern and his band “Temple of Blood.” Our next Singing on the Square Summer Concert will be headlined by another local favorite, “Trippin' Dixie.” They are scheduled to take the stage on Friday, June 16.
Tourism along with Habitat for Humanity Director, Deb Kohlhase participated at the Rodeo Parade by offering parade watchers and rodeo fans a cool, nearby location at the Revival Center. We offered refreshments, a little bit of rodeo ambiance, and rodeo history the while awaiting the arrival of the 100 plus horses and buggies traveling along the parade route.
We greatly appreciate those who have come out to support Athens-Limestone County and all its events. If you didn’t make it to the first Singing on the Square performance, I feel we will have something for everyone to enjoy this summer.
See you soon!
By: Teresa Todd, TMP
President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association