This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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