Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Celebrate Back to School at 3rd Friday

Downtown Decatur’s monthly block party takes to the streets this Friday, August 18 for an evening of music, shopping, dining, classic cars and vendors. In celebration of back to school, festivalgoers are encouraged to bring school supplies to benefit local children.   

Organized by the Downtown Merchants and Business Association, 3rd Friday gets underway at 5:30 p.m. This month’s celebration features a school supply drive and festival goers are asked to bring donations to Jones Park to benefit the local Boys and Girls Club.  

While antique cars line 2nd Avenue, some of the area’s best musicians and entertainers will be performing at various locations. Performers slated for Friday include Elvis impersonator Michael Dean at the Princess Theatre, Divide by Zero at Gyro Uno, Lindsey Gravitt at Downtown Dawgs and Wild Paisley at Kathleen’s. Everyone is also invited to a street dance party led by Delandrion Woods at the intersection of Moulton and 2nd Avenue.

Craft vendors selling handmade items and artists and artesian goods vendors will fill the area of 2nd Avenue from Moulton Street to Johnston Street. Additional store specials, giveaways, and discounts will be offered at select retailers, and many of the merchants will remain open until 8 p.m. or later.

3rd Friday is concentrated in the 2nd Avenue area only (including Holly Street, Moulton Street, Johnston Street and Grant Street). Beginning at 4:30 p.m. streets will begin to be blocked and will be closed to traffic from 5:30 until 9:00 p.m. Antique and classic cars are asked to be in place by 5:30 p.m. For more information on 3rd Friday, visit www.facebook.com/3rdfridaydowntown/.

Third Friday’s was first organized in 2009 by merchants as a way to attract locals and visitors to the downtown area. Presenting sponsor is Budweiser. Additional sponsors include Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Magnolia River, Bank Independent, Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Cook’s Pest Control, Morgan County Commission, Nucor Steel, 3M, Peck-Glasgow Insurance, Renasant Bank, Stovall-Marks Insurance and King Insurance Agency. The Downtown Merchants and Business Association wishes to thank the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department for the tremendous support they provide to the event as an in-kind sponsor.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Weekend Retreat to Satisfy Both Sexes

Summer is here, which of course, means it’s time to take a break from reality and gather your friends for a weekend getaway. Still trying to decide on the ideal location? Look no further than Decatur, Alabama. Nestled along the Tennessee River, Decatur is a Southern oasis perfectly tailored to host a weekend full of activities for both sexes. No matter what your group is into, this charming city has the total package.  

Shopping, sunning, and, spas- the quintessential recipe for the perfect girls’ weekend

You will love the quality time with your ladies and feel like a million bucks while experiencing all that Decatur has to offer. Spend some time strolling the tree-lined streets of Decatur’s historic shopping district and explore the specialty shops offering a variety of eclectic items. You will surely find something to boost your wardrobe at Indigo’s and other unique boutiques found in the historic downtown Decatur and Hartselle shopping districts. In search of completely unique home d├ęcor? Kathleen’s Interiors in downtown Decatur has an incredible selection original furniture and artwork you never knew you always needed in your home!
If your crew is craving some fun in the sun, reconnect with your inner child at America’s first wave pool at Point Mallard Park. Relax in a float as you improve your summer tan and let the waves rock your worries away. When you need a break from that scorching heat, spend an afternoon in cushy robes with cucumber-covered eyes, and unwind with the girls in Decatur’s most exclusive day spa, deLoain. Pamper yourself with a relaxing pedicure or massage or renew your skin with a refreshing facial.
After a day of leisure, you’ve probably worked up quite the appetite! Round up the crew and head to Simp McGhee’s for fine dining spiced up with a Cajun twist! This storied local downtown dining hub boasts a tapas menu with shareable bites like the Crystal Shrimp Martini, dinner mains such as the creamy, garlicky Speegle, and the housemade fave speciality cocktail the Bank Street Tea. If you’re looking for a more casual dining option, check out Hard Dock, located right on the Tennessee River, and enjoy a beautiful Alabama sunset while listening to live music, sipping cocktails, and eating delicious seafood on the outdoor patio.
Spend a weekend outside with the guys
Plan an outdoor-fueled guys’ weekend by taking advantage of the Decatur’s many recreational activities. For the fishing enthusiasts, Wheeler Lake offers top-notch waters for dropping a line. Rife with bass and catfish, you’re bound to get a bite on this top-notch local fishery. Enjoy a peaceful day on the water... until you and your buddies start trying to decide who had the bigger catch!
If golfing is more your competitive speed, Point Mallard’s course is a great option for teeing up. With 200 acres of wooded flatlands right on the Tennessee River this scenic course is one to experience. It is open to the public and only $26 for an 18-hole round.
For a more leisurely day, head to historic Decatur to take a trip back in time with the self-guided Civil War walking tour. Beginning at the Old State Bank building, the thirteen-block walk chronicles events surrounding the four-day 1864 Battle of Decatur. History buffs will also enjoy the Blue and Gray Museum at 723 Bank Street, which is home to what is believed to be the largest collection of Civil War artifacts in the country.
Everyone knows any manly weekend isn’t complete without beer and meat. Moe’s BBQ provides a laid-back setting with live music, some of Alabama’s most beloved wings and a beer selection to meet all needs. The Railyard is another favorite with area beers on tap and a local farm and produce-based selection of mouth-watering Southern influenced dishes. Dine on roasted quail, venison and pork meatloaf, prime rib, or lamb shank—this menu leaves no meat behind!
Where to turn in for the night 
After you’ve delighted in dining, dancing, and live music at Decatur’s various venues like The Hard Dock, The Brick, and the historic Princess Theatre, your crew will want a cozy place to call it a night. Whether your group prefers comfy hotel beds and continental breakfasts or sleeping under the stars, Decatur has options for every style of respite at every single price point. The Point Mallard campgrounds have 210 shaded camp sites over 25 wooded acres. Waste no time in finding your ideal spot and getting right to the many activities in Point Mallard Park that are walking distance to the grounds! If WiFi and room service are necessities, the Decatur Riverfront DoubleTree has you covered. They offer a variety of amenities including an indoor/outdoor pool and fitness center. No worries if you need to use those Marriott points—Decatur has a lovely Courtyard Marriott as well! In addition, the newly opened Home2 at Ingalls Harbor has an array of posh rooms perfect for crashing hard at the end of all your distinctly Decatur adventures!
 However you choose to design your weekend in Decatur, your friends are sure to love you for it! For more information on Decatur’s many attractions and lodging options visit decaturcvb.org or call 800-524-6181.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Out With The Old and In With The New

Tourists to the popular Ardmore Welcome Center now have a new way to discover Decatur and Morgan County.
Each year, over one million visitors stop at the Ardmore Alabama Welcome Center. “It is important that the DMCCVB offer an inviting and welcoming presence to prospective guests as they enter into Alabama at this extremely busy welcome center,” said DMCCVB President and CEO Melinda Dunn.
Working with Joel McWhorter and the McComm Group, a new design was developed to replace the dated visitor kiosk that had stood in the Ardmore Welcome Center for many years. The new design is rich in images that showcase the unique flavor of Decatur and Morgan County. McWhorter and the McComm group worked with Expo Displays on the kiosk’s fabrication. The new kiosk also features a video panel that continuously plays a video on Morgan County produced by Juergen Beck of Freedom Light Productions and funded through the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. The video component is interchangeable and the DMCCVB can provide videos specific to upcoming events in the area.
Additionally, a new visitor panel located above a key entry that visually connects to the display invites guests to come and play and further strengthen the presence of Decatur and Morgan County at the Ardmore Welcome Center. The display panel is made possible through funding from Senator Arthur Orr. The production of the new kiosk was funded by the DMCCVB.
County Commissioner Don Stisher and his crew assisted with the removal of the former display. Since the new display’s installation, interest from the traveling public has sharply increased, resulting in a higher percentage of brochure pickup at the center. Dunn noted, “Within minutes of the kiosk’s installation, families had gathered around to watch the video and absorb the images that depict our story and flavor.”

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

CONTACT: Melinda Dunn, President & CEO
Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau
EMAIL: mdunn@decaturcvb.org

Decatur to Host 26 Lacrosse Teams this Weekend
River City Rivalry returns to Jack Allen Recreation Complex June 17-18.

Decatur, Ala. (June 13, 2017) – Twenty-six teams from across the Southeast will make their way to Decatur this weekend for an exciting two days of lacrosse action when the Jack Allen Recreation Complex (JARC) hosts the River City Rivalry. Returning for the fifth year, the River City Rivalry is set for June 17-18, 2017, and admission is free to the public.

The River City Rivalry features full field format with a guaranteed four game minimum play (weather permitting). Each game consists of two 22-minute halves. Day one features “round robin” pool play and day two is championship bracket play.

Twenty-six teams are registered to compete and this year’s tournament offers two girls divisions:  high school with graduation years 2018-2021 and middle school with graduation years 2021-2023. Teams registered to compete will be traveling from within Alabama and from across the southeastern United States including Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. This year’s tournament also includes a team traveling from Indiana.

“While lacrosse guests are visiting Decatur, Alabama, they are invited to experience our local flavor by participating in events such as 3rd Friday in downtown Decatur. On Saturday evening, a team barbecue will be held at Ingalls Pavilion to provide fun and entertainment. The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s hot air balloon will welcome guests to the evening of local barbecue and field games,” said Decatur-Morgan County CVB President and CEO Melinda Dunn.

All games will be played at the JARC located at 2616 Modaus Road SW in Decatur. The tournament is open to the public and admission is free. Parking is $10 per day or $15 for both days. For more information on the facility, visit www.decatursports.com

For the past twelve years, the Jack Allen Recreation Complex has hosted local, regional, and national soccer tournaments attracting thousands of amateur and professional players and earning a reputation as a world-class facility nationally and internationally. In 2013, the complex welcomed the first River City Rivalry tournament attracting hundreds of lacrosse players plus coaches, family members and fans from across the southeastern United States. The event impacted all areas of Decatur including hotels, local restaurants, retail merchants and entertainment venues. According to Dunn, the event in 2016 had an economic impact of $250,000 for the city of Decatur.

For more information on the River City Rivalry tournament, contact Tournament Directors Pam McNabb at 404.423.8177 or Melanie Johnson at 770.317.3476 or visit http://www.southernedgetournaments.com/rivercityrivalry.

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit its website at www.decaturcvb.org.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Water Wonderland Awaits in Decatur, Alabama

While the first day of summer isn’t officially until June 21st, those among us living, working, and playing in the Deep South know good and well that it’s felt like the summertime solstice for well over a month. In fact, we tend to skip right over spring and onto the steamiest part of the year. But before you plan to keep you and your family cooped up to avoid the sweltering temps, consider combating those summertime blues with the refreshing water recreation available exclusively in Decatur, Alabama.
Situated along the breathtaking Tennessee River, Decatur offers a host of cooling, water-centric spots to check out. From man made water parks to natural estuaries and plenty of unique offerings in between, your best summertime memories are waiting to be made in this North Alabama water wonderland!

Point Mallard
Point Mallard’s official opening date is May 27th—and not a moment too soon as the temperature starts to rise and the humidity causes everyone’s hair to expand considerably. This Decatur staple is home to the world’s very first wave pool, a claim to fame that persists now even 47 years into its existence. Point Mallard Park is also home to some of Decatur’s best festivals with the Alabama Jubilee, Spirit of America, and Battle for Decatur all held on site each year. A veritable water park by the water, Point Mallard is uniquely situated along the Tennessee River and provides plenty of amusement for every single member of your brood. The Double Drop Speed Slides will appeal to the daredevils among you, while the Lazy River offers the leisurely drifting befitting of those who crave the full relaxation vacation vibe. In addition, a Towering Sky Pond, three Flume Slides, and idyllic Lagoon round out the full heat-busting quench served up in Decatur’s can’t-miss Point Mallard. You’ll even discover a spacious campground area for when you’re ready to call it a day and a golf course for those who crave some serious tee time. Check out more about the destination made for the pluckiest of travelers at pointmallardpark.com.

Riverwild Playground and Garden
For the ultimate place to make a splash this summer, round up the troops for a trip to Riverwild Playground and Garden. The kiddos are sure to love standing under the park’s towering fountains for a soak, while the adults will marvel at the site’s living history. Complete with a family-friendly Bathhouse and wheelchair-accessible splashpad, Riverwild offers H20 respite and revelry for all ages. Riverwild also features a playground of dreams for the youngest members of your family and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic lunch. Meander through the Trail of History, a path that winds through the park that beautifully interprets the park’s development as well as its significance as a historic site in a storied part of town. And for those who are looking to experience a bit of art and nature amid all the water play, Riverwild’s Sculpture Garden celebrates the Tennessee River wildlife with giant monuments of Decatur’s finest fauna with heron, bullfrog, dragonfly, turtle, and beaver statues. Be sure to check out the Delano Rose Garden on site for the perfect family photo op to commemorate your North Alabama Adventure!

Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
If you’re in search of pastoral elegance on your family vacation this summer, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to celebrate a break from your daily grind. The Tennessee River runs right through the Refuge, which means ample opportunity to engage in aquatic action like canoeing or kayaking. Expend some of the kids’ energy, paddle in hand, as you make your way through Wheeler’s focal point. June is the optimal time to cast your line for bluegill and bass, too, as these angles are in abundance during this part of the summer. The sparkling waters you’ll witness will certainly leave you with a new appreciation for one of Decatur’s most precious natural resources.

Wheeler Lake
For fishing enthusiasts, Wheeler Lake offers up fresh catches and waterside bonding—hook, line, and sinker! Load up the family, and take your boat out on the serene waters of Decatur’s delightful lake. As an integral part of the Alabama Bass Trail, you’ll find plenty of angling opportunities for fun in the sun sure to provide everyone in your family with fish tales worth telling time and time again. For more lake recreation to include in your North Alabama vacation, check out fishalabama.or.

Big Bob Gibson’s 
All that splish-splashing and gallivanting gets the appetite going. When it comes to a delicious meal suited for every member of your water-lovin’ party, you can’t go wrong with Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ. Long heralded for their North Alabama white barbecue sauce, Big Bob Gibson’s has been feeding hungry families melt-in-your-mouth meals of pulled pork, ribs, smoked chicken, and “Heaven High” meringue pies since 1952. The proof is truly in the award-winning barbecue dishes as Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ just earned the highly sought-after Grand Championship title during the Memphis in May International Festival for the fifth year! Whether you’ve worked up an appetite after traipsing through fountains and wading through pools or you’re looking for the very best stuff to pack in your picnic basket, Big Bob Gibson’s serves up sumptuous barbecue, sides, and pies that’ll give you plenty of reasons to come on back to Decatur long after the summer heat has subsided.
For more about Decatur’s distinct offerings and for lodging to accommodate your family’s summertime getaway, visit decaturcvb.org today!

Monday, May 22, 2017

CONTACT: Kay Donaldson, Program Director
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 855.9FISHAL
EMAIL: kay@alabamabasstrail.org

Alabama Bass Trail Announces 2018 Tournament Schedule
Registration Opens August 1

Decatur, Ala. (May 9, 2017) – The Alabama Bass Trail (ABT) is pleased to unveil the 2018 tournament schedule and among the key changes is a new open tournament that allows anglers to try the trail without committing to five weekends. Returning for the fifth season, the team-style tournament series is held on eleven of the lakes of the Alabama Bass Trail beginning February 17, 2018, with the championship tournament to be held on October 26-27, 2018. The new ABT Open Tournament makes its debut September 8, 2018, on Smith Lake.

“It is hard to believe we are announcing the schedule for the fifth season,” said ABT Program Director Kay Donaldson. “The success of the tournament series relies a great deal on the host cities that bid for our events. Arranging the tournament schedule is similar to a jigsaw puzzle at times, and in some cases, you have multiple cities bidding for hosting rights on one lake. We have to consider available hotel space, meeting space, boat ramp access, prime fishing time on each lake and weather. We are excited about the 2018 season and we look forward to another great year on the trail.”

Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the ABT Tournament Series contains two divisions, North and South, and each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. The maximum number of boats for each tournament is 225. Teams must fish in all five tournaments in their respective division; no single entries will be allowed.

North Division:
February 17, 2018                               Pickwick Lake hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism
March 10, 2018                                   Lake Guntersville hosted by Marshall County CVB
April 21, 2018                                     Wheeler Lake hosted by Decatur-Morgan County CVB
May 12, 2018                                      Weiss Lake  hosted by Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
June 9, 2018                                        Logan Martin Lake hosted by Pell City Chamber of Commerce

South Division:
February 24, 2018                               Lay Lake hosted by Shelby County Commission
March 24, 2018                                   Lake Martin hosted by Alexander City Chamber of Commerce
April 7, 2018                                       Lake Eufaula hosted by Eufaula-Barbour Chamber of Commerce
May 5, 2018                                        Lake Jordan hosted by City of Wetumpka
June 23, 2018                                      AL River/Cooter’s Pond hosted by City of Prattville Parks and Recreation

Hosted by the Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department, the championship tournament is set for October 26-27, 2018, on Neely Henry Lake. “We are proud to partner with the City of Gadsden to bring the Alabama Bass Trail Championship to Gadsden and Neely Henry Lake. Tournament fishing is hard work and we'll do our best to give the anglers the best tournament we can,” said Hugh A. Stump III, executive director of Greater Gadsden Area Tourism.

The championship event will include up to 185 boats. The 185 boats are comprised of the 10 divisional tournament winning teams, top 75 teams in points from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective divisions, along with the top 10 student boats, top five college teams and the top five couples teams collectively from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective division.

Each tournament features a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize and pays 40 places, totaling more than $47,000. The winning team of the championship walks away with a fully rigged bass boat valued at $45,000, and there is a $5,000 bonus cash prize for Angler of the Year and $2,500 for runner-up Angler of the Year. According to Donaldson, more than $566,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded when the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series wraps up its season in 2018.

2018 Payout Schedule:
First place       $10,000
Second place   $ 5,000
Third place     $ 4,000
Fourth place    $ 3,000
Fifth place       $ 2,000
Sixth place      $ 1,500
Seventh place $ 1,100
Eighth place    $ 1,100
Ninth place     $ 1,100
Tenth place     $ 1,100
11th – 20th      $    750 each
21st – 40th      $    500 each

Anglers who fished all five events in their respective divisions in 2017 will be given a priority entry period from August 1 to August 14, 2017, to register online at www.alabamabasstrail.org.  Registration will be open to the public on August 15, 2017. The entry fee per tournament is $1,300 per team, which includes registration for all five tournaments in the respective division. Each team may choose to pay a $500 nonrefundable deposit to hold the team's spot. The balance of $800 must be paid by January 16, 2018.

New for 2018, the ABT Open Tournament is set for September 8, 2018, on Smith Lake. Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, the one-day tournament allows teams to compete in a single tournament instead of the tournament series, which has a five-weekend commitment. It has a $15,000 guaranteed first place prize and a total cash payout of more than $70,000. The maximum number of amateur boats is 250 and the entry fee is $300 per team. In addition to the amateur teams for the first time, Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour Pro Anglers are invited to participate. The professional teams are competing for a  $7,500 winner-take-all prize for highest finisher in the tournament. The maximum number of pro teams is 25 and the entry fee is $300.  “We are super excited to invite these professional anglers to fish an Alabama Bass Trail event. A good number of them follow our trail and I think we will have a good turn out of the top anglers on each professional tour,” said Donaldson. Registration for the ABT Open begins on January 22, 2018.  

“We are excited to introduce the first Alabama Bass Trail Open Tournament,” said Donaldson. “One of the comments we hear often is how much anglers would like to fish with us, but they just can't commit to five weekends. This gives them the opportunity to fish our event and experience the quality of the event, and hopefully when they can commit to fishing a trail, they will choose the Alabama Bass Trail. The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and their volunteers have been great to work with during previous events, providing great hospitality to our teams, and we are extremely excited to bring this new event to Smith Lake and Walker County.”

Alabama Bass Trail Tournament sponsors include Bill Penney Toyota; the Alabama Tourism Department; Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc.; Academy Sports & Outdoors; Garmin; Wind Creek Hospitality-Montgomery; Wind Creek Hospitality-Wetumpka; T-H Marine Supplies, Inc.; Wedowee Marine; Alabama Power Company; Tennessee Valley Authority; Lews Fishing; FishNeelyHenry.com; Power-Pole; YETI; Hydrowave; and AFTCO, Inc. Pond MD will manage fish care and Southern Stream Live will be the live-streaming company.

For more information, call Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.   

About Alabama Bass Trail

The Alabama Bass Trail is a program of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. Its mission is to promote Alabama as a year-round fishing destination, to preserve natural resources for generations to come, and to educate high school and college-aged students to be good stewards of natural resources. The 13 bass fishing lakes consist of Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Weiss Lake, Lake Martin, Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lake Jordan, Alabama River, Lake Eufaula, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. For more information, visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What Decatur/Morgan County Means to Me Monday

It’s Monday again in Decatur and Morgan County. It is a new month, with a new beginning, new focus, and a fresh start. Sometimes, you just need a break.  Especially, this time of year. Spring brings visitors to Decatur and Morgan County for a variety of reasons.  For many,  Decatur-Morgan County is a destination for regional, national, and even international sports tournaments and events. For some, it is a weekend get-away or a summer bucket list destination. However, there are individuals that are lucky enough to call Decatur and Morgan County their home. Among those individuals is Peggy Towns, Author:  "Duty Driven.  The Plight of North Alabama's African Americans During the Civil War"
“It’s my hometown, where I was born and raised.  Decatur with its charming small town flare is a treasured gift of family, friends, and neighbors.  Growing up in Old Town, the city’s oldest neighborhood brings a great sense of pride for the community.  Today’s sports, social and cultural activities provide varied engaging opportunities; while learning activities offered for the young and old give a great source of enlightenment.
Decatur is a city of “discovery.”  Understanding our Cultural Heritage is important; from slavery to Civil War, with the organization of the first black regiment in the State of Alabama (106th United States Colored Troops).  From Reconstruction to the railroad, to the bustling Bank and Vine Street business districts; to a once thriving community of black professionals and ordinary people.  From Church history, to strolling in cemeteries, to watching the calming waves of the Tennessee River.  From a ride out in the country, to the joy of finding a piece of Decatur’s history that had long been forgotten.  Decatur is home.”
With every Monday comes a new beginning and a fresh start to make this week the best one yet. This Monday, take a look around. Take in the beauty around you. It’s easy to forget that we live in an area with so much history and culture. Discover something new about Decatur-Morgan County today and let us know what this area means to you.

History, and heritage videos, photographs, downloadable brochures and additional links of interest about the Decatur area are available at the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau website, www.decaturcvb.org. Give us a call to help plan your next adventure!