Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spirit of America Festival Announces Theme and Activities for 46th Annual Star Spangled Celebration

For the past 45 years, families from across the southeastern United States have gathered at Point Mallard Park for the fourth of July to celebrate our nation’s freedom and the sacrifices military personnel and their families make every day. The annual Spirit of America Festival returns in 2012 bringing with it all-American family fun ranging from live entertainment and an assortment of children’s activities to grand pageantry, awards, and a spectacular fireworks display presented by OneMain Financial. This year’s theme “America: We Are One” celebrates the unlimited possibilities of what can be accomplished when we work together to build a brighter future for this land.

The free Independence Day celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. with the Children’s Bike Parade where patriotic decorated bikes, tricycles, wagons, strollers, and wheelchairs make their way from the TC Almon Center to the Children’s Tent, followed by a golf cart parade. There is no fee to participate in the Bike Parade; however, registration is required beginning at 3 p.m. Garrius Owens will get the crowd fired up with his tribute dance to Michael Jackson as children participate in a variety of free activities including face painting, balloon crafting, and inflatables.

Other activities include a hula hoop contest, the Ping Pong Ball Drop, a Money in the Hay contest, a water balloon toss, karate demonstrations by Webster’s Karate. The Boy Scouts of America Arrowhead District will again sponsor a Scouting Celebration Area filled with activities, demonstrations and hands-on fun including a pinewood derby, rocket launch, a raingutter regatta, knot tying, 2-liter bottle rockets, and more.

Music provided by the Arsenal Brass and the Brass Machine Brass Band fills the air beginning at 5 p.m. until the start of the Spirit of America Award Show, a presentation of awards recognizing outstanding service and sacrifice for country and fellow man, and the Miss Point Mallard Pageant, a preliminary for the Miss America Pageant. Following the crowning of the new Miss Point Mallard, the celebration culminates at 10 p.m. with the 2012 Spirit of America Fireworks Display presented by OneMain Financial.   

Two additional activities leading up to the festival are the Little Miss Point Mallard Pageant at the TC Almon Recreation Center on July 2nd and the Miss Point Mallard Outstanding Teen Pageant on July 3rd at 7 p.m.   

All activities take place in Point Mallard Park located at 2901 Point Mallard Drive in Decatur. Admission to the festival is free; however, some children’s activities require the purchase of tickets for a nominal fee.

For more information, including an up-to-date schedule of events and entertainment, driving directions, and a spectacular photo gallery, visit

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Decatur's New Archery Park Officially Open June 28th

“Master of the Longbow” Byron Ferguson to make special guest appearance

Alabama’s fifth community archery park is set to open on June 28, 2012 in Point Mallard Park in Decatur. The Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Decatur Parks and Recreation, and the City of Decatur will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. to officially open and introduce residents to the city’s newest recreational venue, the Decatur Community Archery Park. On hand for the special occasion will be trick archery expert and Morgan County native Byron Ferguson who will perform at the conclusion of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Decatur Community Archery Park features 40 targets, including an eight-target adult range from 15 to 50 yards; an eight-target youth range of 5 to 20 yards; a four-target range of 10 to 40 yards with a 12-foot platform, and a 20-target walking course. The Decatur Community Archery Park will be host to competitive tournaments, outdoor educational programming, and day recreation.

According to Stuart Goldsby, Regional Hunter Education Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, the park will be open to the public 365 days a year during daylight hours for recreational shooting, preparation for fall hunting seasons, and archery tournaments. Day use of the park is free for those under 16 years of age or over 65 years of age not requiring a hunting license. Residents between 16 and 65 years old without a hunting license or fishing license may purchase a $10 annual Wildlife Heritage License for admittance. For non-Alabama residents, a $16 annual Wildlife Management Area license is required. All activities including school and park and recreation archery activities will enjoy free use of the park by permit under Point Mallard authorized programming.

Top bowhunter and trick archery expert, Byron Ferguson will be demonstrating the skills that have placed him in the international spotlight following the ribbon cutting ceremony. Ferguson performs all over the world in countries such as France, Japan, Chile, Italy, Spain, Canada, and Sweden drawing crowds of over 100,000 people to witness his longbow skills. He has also appeared on numerous television shows including the Jay Leno Show, American Shooter on the Outdoors Channel, Shooting USA, and Impossible Shots, and has served as host and producer on TNN’s “Everything Outdoors,” the world’s first “how-to” outdoor television program. He is also the author of Become The Arrow, a paperback instructional book on bare bow shooting as well as the video of the same title and other archery related videos. He currently resides in Hartselle, Ala. with his wife, Wanda.

The Decatur Community Archery Park has been made possible by the following sponsors:  Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries; TVA; U.S. Fish and wildlife Service/Wheeler Wildlife Refuge; Archery Trade Association; and the City of Decatur. The community archery park is located next to the west entrance of the Aquatic Center in Point Mallard Park.

The Decatur park is the fifth park of its kind in Alabama constructed over the last six years. Parks are currently in operation in Athens, Cullman, Dothan, and Demopolis; and three more in Ozark, Heflin, and Lincoln are currently under construction. The series of parks are being developed by the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries in partnership with Park and Recreation agencies and the Archery Trade Association. The parks are one component of a Community Archery Strategy in which the life skill of archery becomes as recognized as baseball, football, soccer and others as a mainstream activity.

For more information, contact Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Tom Chappell at 256.341.4930.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DMCCVB Hires New Special Events and Sports Marketing Director

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB) welcomes Leonard Morris II as its new Director of Special Events and Sports Marketing effective July 16, 2012.  Morris will serve as the CVB’s liaison to special events in Morgan County as well as assist in attracting new sporting events.
Morris comes to DMCCVB from Chick-fil-A where he was responsible for marketing and sales in its Decatur, Athens, and Huntsville locations for the past six years. He has served on Chick-fil-A’s grand opening marketing team in five different cities and is a member of the Chick-fil-A Corporate Event Staff during the CFA Bowl/Kickoff games in Atlanta, Georgia. In his spare time, he serves as an AHSAA official for basketball, baseball, and football, an assistant baseball coach for Dixie Youth, volunteer coach for 6th grade girls basketball, is involved with WHO AM I? Basketball Camps, and is director of the Decatur Heritage Christian Academy Saturday League Basketball.

"Through his involvement with sports-related programs and his experience in sales and marketing, Leonard has cultivated many professional and personal relationships.  I believe most people have come to know Leonard through his position with Chick-fil-A. His communication and presentation skills along with his promotional experience will play a major role as we aggressively market Decatur and Morgan County as a destination for sporting events, athletic programs, and special events,” said DMCCVB President Tami Reist. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Favorite Songs from the 70's to Today!

Enjoy all the great music from the 70’s to today as the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department welcomes PapaRox to Concerts by the River on Monday, June 25, 2012.    This free concert will take place from 6:00-8:00 PM at Rhodes Ferry Park. For updated schedule information, please call 256-341-4818 or visit  In case of inclement weather, cancellation decisions will be announced after 4:00 PM on the DPR website and will also be posted on the DPR and Decatur, Alabama FACEBOOK pages.

PapaRox is a versatile band that plays great music from the 70’s , 80, 90’s and today!  Members of the group include Michelle West (keyboards and lead vocals), Chris Klaus (lead vocals and guitar), Rickey Holtzclaw (bass), Mark Sanford (drums), and Robert Fox (electric guitar and vocals). This popular North Alabama band plays at area festivals such as Panoply and Big Springs Jam, corporate events and private parties and has developed a following based on their vocal harmonies, tight instrumentation and an energetic sound and playlist that  offers something to please everyone.  For more information on PapaRox please visit

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jeff Whitlow and The Old Barn Band

A great summer of music takes on a country flavor  as the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department proudly welcomes audience favorite  Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band  in concert on Monday, June 18 at the 2012 Paul Stroud Concerts by the River series. All concerts are open to the public and are held at Rhodes Ferry Park. Concerts begin at 6:00 PM and usually conclude by 8:00 PM.  For updated schedule information, please call 256-341-4818 or visit  In case of inclement weather, cancellation decisions will be announced after 4:00 PM on the DPR website and will also be posted on the DPR and Decatur, Alabama Facebook pages.
Great country music will fill the evening air as Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band take the stage on June 18th!  Influenced by classic country artists such as Merle Haggard and George Jones, Whitlow has recorded professionally in Nashville and has numerous CD’s to his credit, including 2010’s My Originals and More and 2008’s  collection of country gospel selections, I Saw the Light.   In addition to country classics, this show will include samples of original tunes and favorite country gospel numbers. In 2007, Whitlow was asked to perform at  Governor Riley’s Inaugural Kick-Off Boots and Barbecue Party, after writing the song  Headin’ to Montgomery Again.”  In 2010, the group opened for country stars including Daryle Singletary, Rodney Atkins, Sammy Kershaw and Billy Joe Royal.  They have also headlined shows for country stars including Aaron Tippin and for Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band.  The group has performed at the Hank Williams Festival and has offered a sold-out Honky Tonk Christmas Show at the VBC during the past holiday seasons.  Talented band members joining Whitlow in the Old Barn Band include Ryan Gilley (drums)   Porter Dutton (guitar and vocals),  Mike Thompson (keyboard and vocals) Gaylon Parker (bass and vocals)  and Wayne Reburn (lead guitar.)  The band performs throughout the regions at festivals, fairs, special events and is available for private bookings.  The music of Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band will get the audience moving with its classic country sound.  For more information, please visit or 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Riverwalk Yacht Club launches "Tackle Trash on the Tennesee"

Riverwalk Yacht Club launches “Tackle Trash on the Tennessee”

Decatur, Al -- All hands are welcome to the Riverwalk Marina to help pick up trash from the banks of the beautiful Tennessee river. The Riverwalk Yacht Club and Decatur Parks and Recreation Department are proud to sponser this inaugral annual event. 

“The Tennessee river provides us with an enormous benefits and this is just a little way to give something back. Boaters are needed boaters that are willing to fill up trash bags with garbage collected from the Decatur area riverbank,” says event organizer and yacht club member, Cecil Chaney.  Volunteers should bring a dip net some old tennis shoes just in case they get a little wet.  At least two people in each boat will be needed for safety and to maintain a distance from the riverside rocks.  

Garbage bags will be provided.

Chaney adds, “If you love the river as much as we do then come on out and help. Launch your boat at 9:00 a.m. on June the 9th and have a great day on the river. We should finish up by 2:00 p.m. at the marina where we will take a photo of the filled trash bags and of all volunteers who helped collect them.”


What:  Tackle Trash on the Tennessee
Where: Riverwalk Marina (boat ramp)
When:  June 9, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Who:  Anyone with a boat willing to come and help clean up Tennessee Riverbanks

Cecil Chaney
Contact :