Thursday, November 9, 2017

Decatur-Morgan County CVB Announces Name Change

Decatur, Ala. (November 9, 2017) – The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced today that the organization’s board of directors approved an organizational name change to Decatur Morgan County Tourism, Inc. effective immediately.

The name change is part of the rebranding initiative to move towards creating a new brand destination and to better align the organization’s name with its current and future tourism efforts. “When I accepted the position of president in 2013, I knew that I had wonderful resources and stories to promote, but I also thought that we needed to move towards creating a new brand destination,” stated Decatur Morgan County Tourism President and CEO Melinda Dunn. “Our name was too long and didn’t accurately reflect our scope of work and our logo, which had served us well for many years, had become dated and needed a refresh. Visitors, vendors and tourism partners will find no change in the quality of services offered as we make the transition to the new name.”

Along with the new name, the organization is sporting a new logo and has adopted a new tagline of Create Your Adventure. The new logo and tagline will be incorporated into all advertising and promotional efforts. The logo features rich warm, earthy tones and incorporates the abbreviation for the state of Alabama into the design to distinguish Decatur Morgan County Tourism from other cities named Decatur.

“Decatur and Morgan County is filled with opportunities for adventure. Our rebrand team loved the idea of being able to create your adventure with the implication of choice and creativity given to each person to define what adventure means to them. Maybe your idea of adventure is to explore your genealogy at the Morgan County Archives or trace the events of the Civil War. For a family with young children, their idea of adventure might be witnessing the colorful spectacle of hot air balloons as they float through the sky at the Alabama Jubilee. To a foodie, adventure might be to going to the Farmer’s Market and gathering an abundance of fresh, local produce to make a special meal, or trying a different local restaurant or local dish each week of the year for one year. For outdoor enthusiasts, your adventure might be paddling the backwaters of the Tennessee River. I could go on and on about the adventures that we have to share, and with our new name, logo and tagline, our team at Decatur Morgan County Tourism will proactively work to bring visitors to our city and county,” said Dunn. 

As part of the rebranding efforts, Decatur Morgan County Tourism is working on the development of a fresh, new web site that reflects the new name, tagline and incorporates more of the features that tech-savy traveler’s demand. Estimated launch is late spring of 2018.

For more information on the new name and logo, call Dunn at 256.350.2028. For full press materials, including new and old company logo graphics, contact Maryanne Floyd, Decatur Morgan County Tourism communications director, at
Award Recipients and 2016 Tourism Figures for Decatur and Morgan County Announced

Decatur, Ala. (November 9, 2017) – During the annual tourism breakfast hosted by the Decatur Morgan County Tourism and the Decatur/Morgan County Hospitality Association on November 9, 2017, at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, tourism figures for 2016 and six awards were presented and five corporate companies were recognized for excellence in tourism.

According to the most recent economic impact analysis conducted by the Alabama Tourism Department, travel-related expenditures for Morgan County in 2016 exceeded $179 million, an increase of 12.8 % from 2015. Annual state lodging taxes collected in Morgan County in 2016 garnered over $900,000. The tourism and travel industry within Decatur and Morgan County provided 2,080 direct and indirect jobs for local residents and total travel-related earnings for Morgan County exceeded $48 million, reflecting a 7.8% increase. “Tourism puts money in the pockets and purses of our local citizens,” said Decatur Morgan County Tourism President/CEO Melinda Dunn. “Without the dollars collected by the tourism industry, each household in the state would end up paying $444 more in additional taxes, according to the reports developed by economist Dr. Keivan Deravi.”

According to the report, statewide tourism industry has grown by 5.4% with more than 25 million visitors spending $13.3 billion and creating $836 million in state and local tax revenues in 2016. An estimated 179,644 jobs are attributable to tourism and the total impact of the travel industry on Alabama’s earnings in 2016 is estimated at over $4.7 billion. The general fund of the State of Alabama received over $49.4 million from lodging tax revenues and travel spending in Alabama has doubled over the previous 14 years. 

Wade Weaver, treasurer of the Decatur Morgan County Tourism board of directors, stated, “When we hear the word industry, we tend to think in traditional terms such as the processing of raw materials and manufacturing of goods in factories. However, tourism is an industry, and it is proving to be a natural in its role as a key economic driver in our local and state economy. It continues to be a sweet time for tourism in our Sweet Home Alabama.”

This year’s theme for the annual tourism breakfast was Tourism: It’s In Our Nature. During the presentation, Decatur Morgan County Tourism took time to reflect on growth resulting in new visitors and revenue to the city and county. Decatur and Morgan County boast over two dozen annual events that bring over 100,000 visitors to the area. The special events and tournaments hosted in the area encompass activities that range from soccer to dog shows, tennis to fishing, Ultimate Frisbee to Lacrosse, horse shows to hockey. “Over 8,000 documented hotel rooms from events hosted in the area translate into an economic impact of over $5.9 million dollars for Morgan County alone,” said Dunn.

Additional developments of 2016 that had a positive impact on tourism growth in Decatur include:

- From 2009 to 2016, using data only from events where the Decatur Morgan County Tourism served as the official housing bureau, sporting activities at Jack Allen Recreation Complex, which include soccer, lacrosse, archery and ultimate, brought in a documented 41,821 room nights for the area and an economic impact of $30,909,108. 

- Decatur Morgan County Tourism received a grant to develop three new pieces promoting local heritage to include a new African American Pioneers Brochure, signage for the Burleson Fine Arts Center and a brochure to accompany the new Trail of Tears Interpretive Trail and its signage that was installed in 2017.   

- Decatur and Morgan County received national media attention on ESPN and Fox Sports SE through coverage of various sporting events that include fishing on Wheeler Lake and softball at Wilson Morgan Park. 

- Point Mallard Park was named as one of Alabama’s top 10 tourist attractions for 2016 by the Alabama Tourism Department.

- A new state-of-the-art visitor’s kiosk was installed at the Ardmore Welcome Center this year. The kiosk provides tourists a new way to discover Decatur and Morgan County by providing instant access to information on attractions, festivals and local businesses. Additionally, a new visitor panel located above a key entry that visually connects to the display was installed.  Each year, over one million visitors stop at Ardmore.

During the annual breakfast, the Decatur/Morgan County Hospitality Association honored area hotels, industries, and citizens with its annual awards. Based on data submitted from seven participating hotels in Decatur, the Top Five Corporate Companies producing the most room nights in Morgan County during 2016 were recognized. Those receiving recognitions were Toray with 1,824 room nights; 3M with 1,905 room nights; Nucor with 2,461 room nights; United Launch Alliance with 3,636 room nights; and Hexcel with 5,346 room nights.

Each year, the Decatur/Morgan County Hospitality Association selects an Event of the Year and honors its impact on Decatur and Morgan County. This year’s honoree is a relatively new event that has shown significant growth since its inception five years ago. The 2017 Event of the Year is Battle at the Jack. This three-day tournament attracts up to 120 teams from across the Southeast, bringing some of the region’s best youth soccer players to Decatur and producing 367 room nights in September. Hosted by the River City United Soccer Club, Battle at the Jack is an Alabama Soccer Association and United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) sanctioned tournament that offers competitive soccer opportunities. Funds raised from this event are used to support soccer scholarships for children.

The Good Neighbor Award is given to a person, business, organization or entity whose body of work has had a significant impact on local tourism. The “Good Neighbor” may be an event organizer who lives out of town but helps with events in Morgan County; it can be an organization or business that significantly supports local events, or a person whose job may be outside the typical realm of tourism but whose work has made a difference. When Hurricane Irma forced people to flee their homes seeking refuge in Decatur and Morgan County, many local hotels hosted evacuees and made this difficult time in their lives easier and local citizens and churches sprung into action and brought food. The Good Neighbor Award is presented to all of those individuals and organizations that assisted the evacuees during their stay in Decatur.

The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to the person who has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills and initiative associated with their position. This year’s nominations were so strong that it resulted in a tie. The members of the Decatur-Morgan County Hospitality Association elected to name a King and Queen Tourism Professional of the Year. The Tourism Professional of the Year was awarded to Mr. Scott Suenaga of the Courtyard by Marriott and Ms. Seyma Njbigbo of the Best Western.

To go along with Decatur Morgan County Tourism’s new tag line, a new award was presented at this year’s tourism breakfast. The first recipient of the Create Your Adventure award is Mr. Art Thrash with the Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic. Thrash has served on the Alabama Jubilee committee and also has been the pilot for the city’s balloon for many years. He is retiring as pilot this year.

Presented to a person, or persons, within Morgan County who has contributed significantly beyond their professional duty to the development and promotion of tourism for the betterment of Decatur and Morgan County, the 2017 Julian Walker “Mr. Tourism” Award was awarded to Mr. Tyler Jones, owner of The RailYard and Whisk’d Café. 

The Gilmer Blackburn Legacy Award was created as a means of recognizing an individual who has shown a long lasting and permanent contribution to the industry over the years and has helped change the tourism landscape of Morgan County. It is named in honor of the late Mayor Blackburn who was instrumental in developing the foundation of the tourism industry here. For his service to Decatur and Morgan County and the tourism industry, Jimmy D. Smith of Jimmy Smith Jewelers was presented with the 2017 Gilmer Blackburn Legacy Award.

For more information on tourism figures and awards, contact Melinda Dunn at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028.

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

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 décor? 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 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

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

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

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  

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

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 today!

Monday, May 22, 2017

CONTACT: Kay Donaldson, Program Director
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 855.9FISHAL

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  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;; 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   

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

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, Give us a call to help plan your next adventure!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Downtown Decatur’s 3rd Friday Returns April 21

Decatur, Ala. (April 11, 2017) – Downtown Decatur’s monthly block party takes to the streets for the first time in 2017 on Friday, April 21. 3rd Friday kicks off the 2017 lineup with an Earth Day celebration, and each month through October, the monthly street party brings a different theme featuring art, entertainment, live music, a classic car cruise-in and other family-friendly activities.

Organized by the Downtown Merchants and Business Association, 3rd Friday gets underway at 5:30 p.m. and the theme for the kickoff event is Downtown Celebrates Earth Day by Giving Back. Patrons bringing canned and non-perishable food for the Neighborhood Christian Center will receive a coupon towards discounts at many participating downtown restaurants and boutiques. All donations will be collected in Jones Park. During 3rd Friday, everyone is encouraged to use the recycling bins provided by the City of Decatur.

While antique cars line 2nd Avenue, some of the area’s best musicians and entertainers will be performing at various locations. Performers slated for April 21 include the Decatur Youth Symphony at the Alabama Center for the Arts, Jack Ryan and Valerie Denny at Downtown Dawgs, Laura Alaina Key at Kathleen’s, The Chordsman at Jones Park and Dustin Allen at Gyro Uno.

A variety of activities just for children will be available including inflatables in the block of second Avenue between Moulton and Johnston; visits with Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Jack Frost, Tinker Bell, Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Spiderman, and Minnie Mouse from “Party Like a Princess”; and free fun provided by Decatur-Morgan Library in Jones Park.

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

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.

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  

Monday, March 27, 2017

What Decatur Means to Me Monday

With Monday comes a fresh start, a new beginning. This Monday, and every Monday, we get to leave a little piece of ourselves in the week. In the world. In Decatur and Morgan County. This Monday we asked David Breland what Decatur and Morgan County meant to him.

“I am David Breland and currently the Director of Historic Resources and Events for the City of Decatur. Additionally, I am a retired District Court Judge for Morgan County.  As a life-long resident (by choice!) of Decatur and Morgan County, I believe this to be one of the finest places in the world in which to live!  It is a wonderful place in which to raise a family as it has hard working, generous and caring residents.  We have a history that is unsurpassed in the nation.  There are many interesting, educational and fun things to do with many of them being absolutely free of charge.  We have good health care, nice and inexpensive housing and both tax rates and utility rates that are far below the national average.  The cost of living makes Decatur and Morgan County a very affordable place in which to live.  It is small city living that is great with the added benefit that our location near larger cities and the good transportation to get to those cities allows us have the benefits of both smaller city and larger city experiences.  The rural areas of our county are quite beautiful as well with beautiful farms, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains throughout the county-- plus the mighty Tennessee River and its tributaries such as Flint Creek.  We don’t always appreciate it as we should, but this is a little piece of “paradise”!”   

Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful area with so much to see and do. Where else can you enjoy annual events like the Alabama Jubilee hot air balloon festival, weekly and monthly events like Third Friday Downtown, and area attractions like Point Mallard Park? Whether you are a visitor or resident, you are part of what makes Decatur and Morgan County such a special and unique destination. Start your new beginning this Monday. Visit Decatur and Morgan County, AL.

Monday, March 20, 2017

April Walking Tours

Decatur has a rich and colorful history dating back to the early 1800s. To learn more about the city’s heritage, residents and visitors are invited to take part in a casual stroll through the historic Old Decatur area. Organized by the Decatur-Morgan County CVB, the free guided walking tours are held each Saturday in the month of April and each one features a different route, theme, and tour guide.

Scheduled for April 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, the walking tour begins at 10 a.m. All tours last one hour and begin at the Old State Bank except for the April 22nd tour, which begins at the Morgan County Courthouse and will last over one hour. Knowledgeable guides will escort participants through historic neighborhoods and landmarks where they will share the history of the city and entertaining accounts of the city’s storied past. Several of the tours will also include mini tours to various museums or historic sites such as the Old State Bank, the Lafayette Street Cemetery, the Train Depot and the Morgan County Archives.

April 1 – General history tour led by Squee Bailey.

April 8 – Old State Bank, Lafayette Street Cemetery and the Train Depot tour led by David Breland.

April 15 – Historic church tour led by Phil Wirey.

April 22 – Scottsboro Boys tour led by Peggy Towns. (Tour begins at Morgan County Courthouse.)

April 29 – Historic Bank Street and Morgan County Archives tour led by John Allison.

Reservations are not required and tours are held rain or shine.

Decatur’s guided walking tours are part of the April Walking Tours coordinated by the Alabama Tourism Department. Decatur is one of 28 towns across the state participating in the annual event.

For more information, call the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 256.350.2028 or 800.524.6181.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot

The Morgan County Parks and Recreation will host a 3D archery tournament and fun shoot April 1, 2017, at West Park located in Danville, Ala. The one-day tournament is open to the public and is expected to draw up to 200 archers from across northern Alabama.
Situated along West Park’s nature trail, the tournament course layout features 20 targets, all of which will be official 2017 ASA (Archery Shooters Association) 3D targets. Each target will have a scoring area that will simulate the typical kill zone area. Each participate will have one arrow shot at each target from their designated maximum range (stake). According to ASA, ASA 3-D archery features competitive rounds of lifelike, three-dimensional animal targets made of foam. The scoring rings are not always visible from the shooting stake and binoculars are allowed. Advanced archers must determine the distance to the target, pick a good aiming point, and execute the shot.
Shooters of all ages from across northern Alabama are expected to take part in the tournament. “The West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot is an opportunity for local archers to participate in an event close to home and for serious competitors to get in a practice round or two a week before the next ASA Pro/Am,” said Morgan County Parks and Recreation Director Sean Dailey. Classes include Men’s Open, Men’s Hunter, Bow Novice, Women’s Open, Women’s Hunter, Traditional and Youth/NASP. First place prizes, provided by Van’s Sporting Goods, will be awarded at the conclusion of the tournament.
The cost to participate is $10 per person for tournament round and $7 per person for the fun shoot (non-tournament entry). All additional rounds are $5. Advance registration is not required. Admission is free for spectators. The shoot begins at 7 a.m. with the last scorecard going out at 2:30 p.m. A warm-up range/bags and concessions will be available.
West Park is located at 74 W Park Road in Danville, Ala. For more information on the West Park 3D Archery Tournament and Fun Shoot, call Sean Dailey at 256.560.6070.

Monday, March 6, 2017

“What Decatur Means to Me”

It’s Monday again. Suddenly, you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings. With every new beginning, there is something to be said about a place that welcomes you with open arms— a place where you can find history, arts, beauty, amazing food, great shopping, and new opportunities. Some go their whole lives without ever finding that place, the place that reminds you upon arrival that you have found your home away from home. For many others and me, that place is Decatur, Alabama.

New places can be overwhelming when you come from a small town, even frightening. But that’s what makes life beautiful isn’t it? A new adventure, a new opportunity, a new chance to become the person you’re meant to be. When you find that place, it’s a feeling like no other.

There is always something to learn and do in Decatur-Morgan County. Where else can you find annual events like The Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic, Racking Horse Spring & World Celebrations, Hartselle Depot Days, the Daikin Japanese Festival, and other one of a kind festivals and celebrations? This unique area has something to offer everyone, from families and children, history buffs, arts and culture lovers, as well as outdoor enthusiasts. With attractions like Point Mallard Park, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Delano Park, and many others, there is always a new adventure waiting to be had. There are even museums like the Blue and Gray Museum that focus on the Civil War to the Cook Museum of Natural Science that will soon be open. For those seeking arts and culture, Decatur has the Princess Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, among other attractions. Not to mention, you can find endless options to satisfy your dinner cravings. If you visit Decatur-Morgan County, be assured you will not leave hungry. It’s also the perfect place to spend a Saturday shopping. From the antique and specialty boutiques along the Historic Shopping Districts in Decatur and Hartselle, Decatur-Morgan County has a broad spectrum of shopping choices.

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. Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of the work week that we forget something: the area that we are privileged enough to be a part of is absolutely breathtaking. There is only one Decatur, and it’s my home away from home. What does Decatur mean to you?

Maryanne Floyd-Communications Director, Decatur CVB

Monday, February 27, 2017

What Decatur Morgan County Means to Me Monday

“What Decatur and Morgan County  means to me”

Decatur, Alabama is not my hometown,   but having lived and raised two children here in the past 30 years,  it is now my home.  As the celebration of the Alabama Bicentennial begins in March 2017, the Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau will be inviting guests from throughout our city and county to share their thoughts on what Decatur and Morgan County, Alabama means to them.

At the Decatur Morgan CVB, we are the privileged host of visitors who come seeking a taste of the authentic, a chance to explore and play and a welcome that is genuine.  Our visitors  embrace our rich history and culture at places like the Old Bank, the Archives, the Carnegie and the Princess;  they compete fiercely  at Jack Allen, Wilson Morgan,  Ingalls Harbor and the Celebration Arena; they marvel at God’s creation and nature’s wonders at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Delano Park and the Cook Museum of Natural Science; they savor the flavor and charm of our unique restaurants , retail establishments and historic districts; they enjoy family-friendly fun  at events throughout the county such as  the Alabama Jubilee,  3rd Fridays Downtown,  Hartselle Depot Days, the Falkville Fall Festival, Music on the Square in Somerville and Eva Frontier Day and our guests splash, golf, hit the ice, camp and play ball at Point Mallard Park,  one of Alabama’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions!

The weekend of February 25th symbolized the spirit that makes our city and county wonderful.  There was ground-breaking for a new Farmer’s Market in Hartselle, the Alabama Bass Trail kicked off its Northern Division Tournament Series on Wheeler Lake, the city’s first-ever half marathon tested the endurance of runners participating in the Carnival Frolic, the Point Mallard Duck’s hosted a “Try Hockey for Free” event, a 9 ball pool tournament took place, the streets of downtown Decatur were filled with people enjoying the color and festivity of a magical Carnegie Carnival celebration of Mardi Grass and to top it all off, it was PANCAKE DAY!   To my now grown children, Pancake Day is one of the best and most memorable days of the year!  For today’s children, I can only imagine how awesome it must have been to have pancakes, beads, moon pies and parades combined into one joyous day!  These events brought people of all ages and backgrounds together in celebration of life’s simple joys that are all part of the fiber of who we are and the special place we call home.  In today’s world, it is easy to focus on what we don’t have and take for granted the bounty with which we have been blessed.  This weekend was a reminder to take delight in our story, the beauty of our surroundings and the creativity of our citizens!  Throughout the year, there are a multitude of events that celebrate the history and unique flavor of our city and county. These events, held at special places throughout Decatur and Morgan County, are part of that treasure-trove of memories come to mind when I think about Decatur and Morgan County, Alabama.  As we head into spring, I invite you to take part in these activities as they truly define and put the “home” in “hometown.”   Like the mountains of pancakes that were cooked last Saturday, our plate is full and we are blessed beyond abundance! 

Melinda M. Dunn-President, Decatur CVB