Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Tourism Season is here by John Dersham

Mentone Colorfest, Fort Payne Heil Harvest Festival and Third Saturday Sunset Cruise In
I love this time of year. The days are sparkling clear, the air is cooler and the look of the harvest with all those lovely warm fall colors of pumpkin orange and shades of brown, yellow and red appear in the landscape. Halloween is nearing as it leads into Thanksgiving. School is on, it is football season and the mowing and weed eating and the tremendous heat of summer are ending for the year and family and friends are gathering more to enjoy the fellowship of the fall season.
It is also a very big season for tourism. Our visitors flock here from points south throughout south Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana , Georgia and Florida to come to the mountains and see some stellar fall color that they do not see where they live. We have some of our most enjoyable events of the year during fall season starting with Fort Payne Boom Days Heritage festival, the DeKalb County VFW Agricultural Fair in September and now this weekend Mentone Colorfest and Fort Payne 3rd Saturday Sunset Cruise In and Main Street Block Party, which will celebrate Oktoberfest this Saturday evening from 5-8. Be prepared to have your picture taken in some German garb, it will be fun. In addition we will have classic cars, music, food and retail shopping for this gala closeout of our best ever season of 3rd Saturday Cruise In events.
Heil Environmental will be hosting the 4th annual Harvest Festival on the Heil Campus Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at the gate for $1.00 each. There will be a 5K Color run that begins at 9 a.m


Veterans, Police Officers, Firefighters, EMTs and Heil employees will receive double tickets with appropriate identification.

All proceeds from the event will benefit local charities.

In addition, Heil has been selected to host the NAM Manufacturing Day event in conjunction with the Fall Festival. The goal is to bring publicity and community interest to the manufacturing industry. We hope that you will join us in celebrating this huge honor!
It is also Mentone Colorfest weekend. This annual event is a favorite among our visitors who pick this weekend to come enjoy fall in our beautiful mountain village of Mentone.

Colorfest Schedule of Events
Brow Park Hours:
Saturday, 9am-5pm
Sunday, 11am-4pm

Friday, October 14
5pm Food Trucks By Mentone Market, MAPA (til 8pm)
5pm Chris Hale
6pm Bonfire and Concert by Will Dooley and Friends (til 9pm)
Saturday, October 15
10am Karaoke (til 4pm)
5pm Food Trucks by Mentone Market, MAPA (til 8pm) 5pm Terry Hutcheson
6pm Bonfire & Concert - Permagroove
(til 9pm)
Sunday, October 16
12pm Storytime - Debbie Happy Cohen
1pm Singer - Cathy
2pm Storytime - Kylie Laine Peterson, Mini-Miss Rhododendron
2:30pm Abby Schrader
Brow Park Stage
Saturday, October 15
10am Jess Barker
11am Larry Joe Hall
12pm Curtis Strange & Dr. Rob
1pm Daniel Hughes
2pm Lisa Crowe
3pm Amy Snider
4pm Katrina Barclay
Sunday, October 16
11am Trey Headrick
12pm Scarecrow Holler & Pumpkin Patch
Jubilee Winners Announced
12pm Dana Owens
1pm Jared Cushen
2pm Marc Womack
3pm David Lusk
Special Events
Boat Rides from DeSoto Falls
Friday, 1 til dusk
Saturday, 9am til dusk
Sunday, 11am-4pm
Scarecrow Holler at the Mentone Springs Hotel Site
Scavenger Hunt will be held all over town during festival hours. Game forms will be available at the MAPA/Info tent at Brow Park and must be returned to the MAPA/Info tent by 3pm on Sunday.
Children’s Fair - pony rides, balloon animals, games and more
Farmers Market  at the Mentone Inn Square

Thursday, October 6, 2016

First Annual Fiesta Cultural Latina by John Dersham

This Saturday, October 8th, we have our first ever community wide Latina Festival at the Fort Payne Rotary Pavilion from 5-9 P.M. You will be delighted with music, food, drinks and dancing, all with a Latina cultural flavor. This event is hosted by Fort Payne Main Street and will be for everyone in our community to come to and enjoy sharing this beautiful and enjoyable kid friendly celebration that brings the rich Latina culture to all of us here in DeKalb no matter our race or nationality. This event will bring us all together to see, enjoy and learn more about our Hispanic communities in Fort Payne and DeKalb County. The schedule for the event is as follows.
5:00-5:15 - 1st Dance Group Performs

5:15 - 5:40 - Gio Perez Solo Performance

5:50 - 6:05 - 2nd Dance Group Performs

6:15 - 6:35 - Acoustic Instrument with Multiple Performers

6:45 - 7 - 3rd Dance Group Performs

7:15 - 9 - Main Act

Drawings, Food, Fun, Park Access for the Kids, Beer-Wine-Tequila Mixers (Signature Drink: Margarita).As the Director of Tourism and as a board member of Fort Payne Main Street I am especially happy about this event. It will be another contribution to our growing list of downtown Fort Payne events that we offer. Wow! It excites me to think how wonderful downtown Fort Payne will be when all of our storefronts are filled and the windows are dressed and we have growing choices to shop and eat, drink and have a great time. The thing is we are already having a good time, so just think about having even more.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Boom Days Heritage Celebration and \3rd Saturday-it here!

Boom Days Heritage Celebration and \3rd Saturday-it here!

 Boom Days Heritage Celebration is a family-friendly event offering an incredible lineup of music, a children’s entertainment area, arts and crafts, exhibits and more. Now in its eleventh year, the annual event attracts music fans from across the southeastern United States. Along with headliner Atlanta Rhythm Section, the lineup includes over 30 bands on seven stages. This year’s event Friday night and all day Saturday from early till late. 

On Friday, September 16, a special kick-off event featuring Highway To Hell and Appetite For Destruction is set for the Main Stage from 5 to 10 p.m.

Covering five blocks in the downtown district, street performers will take to the streets as a variety of music flows from seven stages on Saturday, September 17. Early risers can enjoy a feast at the Kiwanis Pancake breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. (admission charged). The city’s downtown district will be closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Activities held throughout the day include our traditional 3rd Saturday vintage automobile cruise-in, cultural and historical exhibits on display at the Depot Museum and Hosiery Museum, a children’s activity area in Alabama Walking Park, and sidewalk sales from downtown merchants. The popular pet parade takes to the streets at 10 a.m., there will be a wine tasting in the Coal and Iron Building at 1 p.m. (admission charged) and dozens of skilled artisans including quilters, potters, painters, and workers in iron, wood, and glass will be demonstrating their talents in City Park.

Live music cranks up at 10 a.m. and thirty-seven bands on seven stages are lined up for this year’s event. All outdoor music is presented for free. Scheduled to perform (subject to change) are:

City Park Stage
10:00 a.m. Trade Day Troubadours
11:00 a.m. Will Dooley and the Tatum Brothers
12:00 p.m. Eric McKinney and Bent Creek
1:00 p.m. Grace Pettis
2:30 p.m. Judge Talford

Courtyard Stage
10:00 a.m. Michael Cooley
11:00 a.m.  Jared Cushen
12:00 p.m. Dana Owens
1:00 p.m. Billy Louvin
2:00 p.m. Chris Hale
3:00 p.m. Marc Womack

Rotary Pavilion Stage
10 a.m. Wolves of Chernobyl
 11:30 a.m. Jess Goggans Band with Ryan Chambliss
1:00 p.m. Permagroove
2:30 p.m. If Birds Could Fly

Rock the Block Stage
11:00 a.m. Prolific
12:30 p.m. Soul Karnival
2:00 p.m. 3 Times Driven
3:30 p.m. The Protest
5:00 p.m. Men and Mountains
6:30 p.m. Katrina Barclay
8:00 p.m. Headwires

Fort Payne Opera House
11:00 a.m. Underwood Sisters
11:15 a.m. The Underwoods
11:30 a.m. Simply for Jesus
11:45 a.m. The Williams Brothers
12:15 p.m. 5 for the Lord
2:00 p.m. The Church Sisters
3:00 p.m. A Tribute to the Louvin Brothers

DeKalb Theatre Stage
5:00 p.m. N 2 Christ
5:30 p.m. Soul Redeemers
6:15 p.m. The Spiritual Highlights
7:00 p.m. The Gospel Legends
8:00 p.m. Doc McKenzie and the Hi-Lites

Main Stage
4:00 p.m. Jacob Stiefel
6:00 p.m. The Kentucky Headhunters,
8:00 p.m. Atlanta Rhythm Section

The Atlanta Rhythm Section has been a part of the Southern Rock scene for more than 40 years. In 1977, “So In To You” became the band’s breakthrough single, reaching the U.S. Top 10, and the album from which it came, A Rock and Roll Alternative, went gold. Their platinum follow-up album, Champagne Jam, broke into the Top 10 in 1978, together with the blockbuster single “Imaginary Lover.”

During the late nineteenth century, Fort Payne experienced a huge coal and iron boom, and in the twentieth century, a boom in textile manufacturing led to the city’s one time claim of “Sock Capital of the World.” As a nod to its manufacturing heritage, the mountaintop town hosts the Boom Days Heritage Celebration. In 2015, it was named Event of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department during the 2015 Alabama Tourism Awards.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Ider Mule Day - Labor Day Festival

Set for September 5, 2016 and now in its 30th year, Ider Mule Day is a one-day family-friendly festival in celebration of the town’s agricultural heritage and along with mules, tractors, and horses, there will be a parade, live music, a vintage baseball game and more.

Mule Day kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with a parade featuring mules, horses, carriages, antique tractors and wagons. At 10:30 a.m., the competitions get underway. The mule pull gets the action started followed by a draft horse show. A trail horse competition is slated for 11:30 a.m. Entry fee to compete is $10 for children 12 years old and under and $15 for adults. For more information, call 256.899.4011.

The daylong event also offers an antique engine and tractor display, blacksmith demonstrations, a car, truck and motorcycle show, arts and crafts, and a vintage baseball game will take the crowd back to 1860 when the rules to play by were a little different than today. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.

Live music gets underway at 11:30 a.m. A great entertainment line-up featuring Just One, Jordan’s Crossing, Shaunta Dalton, Consider the Ravens, Resource and Master of Ceremonies Ryan Watkins will keep festivalgoers on their feet and plenty of food vendors will keep everyone’s appetite satisfied.

Admission is $2 per person. All activities are held in and around Ider Town Park located off of Highway 75 at 183 Sweet Gum Road. Pets are not allowed inside of the park. For more information, visit 

My family and I try to go every year. Mule Day is one of our favorite family days together each year. We always get there in time for the parade that begins at 9:30 AM. This parade is filled with rural Americans finest visual attractions such as horseback riders, ponies, hay wagons, horse drawn carriages, mules, tractors, antique automobiles, elected officials, fire departments, police departments, local school marching  bands and all the other colorful things that are working their way to the park for a great day of wonderful family oriented events.
Our family loves the look and feel of rural America. I guess that is why we city folk moved to the top of Lookout Mountain on a farm. We love all the animals at Mule Day and the events that go with it like the Mule Pull and Draft Horse Pull. It is amazing to witness the strength and drive of these very large animals. There will be a big crowd at the horse arena cheering for their favorite horse and mule. As you walk around the park you will see people brushing and washing their horses, ponies and mules. There are competitions for each category. You can hitch a ride on a horse pulled carriage and enjoy a ride more similar to 100 years ago. For the kids there are pony rides, miniature train rides,  inflatable’s for jumping or getting lost in brightly colored plastic balls. This event has something for everyone in the family. You will find antique cars and tractors, arts and crafts, live music and food and drink all taking place in Ider City Park. This is an event you will not want to miss and it makes a fantastic way to spend your Labor Day holiday.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fyffe UFO Day

12th Annual Fyffe UFO Days
Saturday August 27, 2016
Fyffe Town Park @ Graves Street
Fyffe, Alabama

On Feb. 11, 1989, several people reported seeing UFOs over Fyffe. The sightings would become a national story. The first call was made to the Fyffe Police Department. A woman reported seeing a strange object in the sky. By the end of Feb. 12, more than 50 residents had reported seeing the strange objects, including the town's police chief and his assistant. Due to the interest and publicity that surrounded this event more than 4,000 visitors showed up the next day to see the UFO but sad to say there were no further sighting.
Since this event had become known nationwide, community leaders 12 years ago decided to create a local festival themed on the UFO sightings.
You will enjoy all the fun, fellowship with friends and great offerings for food and entertainment. Please come spend the day and bring the whole family. There is something fun for all ages.
Here is the line up including the 5K run.
You can register on-line at or print out a form and mail a check to Fyffe Spirit Club, PO Box 11, Fyffe, AL 35971. Great prizes. Great dry fit shirts!
5:30 p.m. Registration begins
6:30 p.m. 5K starts
Kids Fun Run: $20.00
Kids are now able to get involved in the 5K fun with a kids fun run. Fun run is one mile and will be held at the conclusion of the 5k. Winner receives a prize and a medal. Fun run for ages 10 and under.
rqqe5K: $25.00 pre-registration
$30.00 Registration day of Race.
$20.00 group rate (ten or more and must have matching shirts)

2016 UFO Days Entertainment Line-Up
Tentative Schedule -Subject to Change

9:00 a.m. Gates open for festival (music, food, vendors, and more)
10:00 a.m. Deborah Peek
10:45 a.m. Dennis George
11:30 a.m. Welcome speech from the Mayor
12:15 p.m. The Sharp’s
1:00 p.m. The LST Band
1:45p.m. Jack Martin and Forever Country
2:30 p.m. Danny Lee
3:15 p.m. Jeff Martin & Caleb Chisenhall
4:00 p.m. Still Kickin’
4:45 p.m. Backwoods Revival
6:15 p.m. Notorious
7:00 p.m. Willie Underwood
7:45 p.m. Country Case
8:30 p.m. Jamie O’Neal ( She’s Somebody’s Hero, There is no Arizona, When I think about Angels, Trying to find Atlantis)

Contact: Jeff Maddox- 256-461-8612 or email
- Rides cost $200 per person.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fort Payne Third Saturday Sunset

Third Saturday Sunset Cruise In is constantly improving; more entertainment, more classic cars, more food, more people and more fun. It has been fantastic each of the four times we have had it this year. Fort Payne Main Street hosts the Main Street Block Party each Third Saturday at the DeKalb Theater Courtyard, which now has a roof over it and is getting a great new fa├žade. At the block party we will have a photo booth with dress up costumes and some live music with Justin Coonce. There will be pop corn, beer and wine sales and a lot of tables and chairs to sit and enjoy your friends and all the fun taking place at the Main Street Courtyard event. This is a really fun way to spend a Saturday evening. Gault Avenue is closed to traffic and downtown from 1st Street to 5th Street becomes a big walkway to stroll and enjoy an evening of entertainment, food, shopping, games for the kids and 200 classic cars, or more. It is here you will see many of your friends that you have not seen for awhile. Along the way you will hear great local entertainers. They are spaced at just the right distance apart so when you start getting too far away to hear one, you begin hearing another. This means at almost all locations along your walk through downtown you can hear music. As you walk you will find a large collection of classic cars provided by local collectors and car enthusiasts. Gault Avenue will be lined with cars, one after another, on both sides of the street. Amelia Landstreet, who heads up the Third Saturday planning committee, tells us there are often as many as 250 classic cars.  In addition to Amelia Landstreet, the other dedicated planners on the Third Saturday committee are Terry Locklear, Johnny Eberhart, Randall Ham, Steve Westmoreland and Chris Roberts. Third Saturday Sunset is held from April through October. The hours are 4-8 PM. At sunset on a nice evening the sunlight sets shining its sparkle across our beautiful historic downtown and lights up the side of Lookout Mountain with a beautiful warm glow. We are truly blessed with a very appealing downtown with our historic Boom Days architecture of the late 1880’s to the perfectly maintained City Parks all clustered in our historic district close to  the original, recently restored Coal & Iron/Opera Block.  Just down the road is the Depot Museum, Alabama Walking Park and our new Rotary Pavilion amphitheater. The whole time you are walking around downtown Lookout Mountain is standing there beside you, majestic and peaceful. There is a sense of being nestled at the foot of the mountain that gives Fort Payne another attribute to its already strong visual appeal as an all American downtown…quaint, friendly and steeped in good will, strong values and a strong sense of community that is exhibited everywhere you look and to everyone you speak.
Many thanks to the Mayor and City Council and to the Third Saturday planning committee along with Fort Payne Main Street and the downtown merchants who have done a great job hosting this event. The crowd estimated at 2,500 to 3,000 made for a very successful event. Also thanks to our Parks and Recreation Department for keeping our parks “picture perfect” and to the police and fire departments who protect our people and our assets. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Vacation is Over by John Dersham

The World’s Longest Yard Sale (WLYS) has ended, school has begun and our official end to summer vacation has arrived. The WLYS is our largest single weekend event for tourism each year and in recent years school has started on or shortly after the WLYS. The beginning of school typically marks the end of our summer tourism season. This does not mean we will not continue to have vacationers since many of our leisure travelers are Baby Boomers with grown kids and they do not have to adhere to the school calendar. Our numbers prove, however, that August suddenly becomes a quieter month after the yard sale ends
Our next major spike in tourism will happen in the fall. October and November have become nearly equal to June and July for us. People living in the coastal plains of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and north Florida find us an easy to get to destination, with stellar fall color, pleasing temperatures and a very relaxing low cost get a way. Typically, our fall tourism season begins to pick up in middle to late September with our Boom Days Heritage Celebration the third weekend in September each year. From that point we have a continuing increase in visitors through October and November. We find visitors are renting cabins for Thanksgiving family events and we continue to see visitors coming to our parks, camping and renting cabins through early December. As Christmas approaches it will get a lot quieter here until March when people begin venturing out for weekend trips as spring approaches.
Cloudmont Ski Resort provides some winter visitors and we get a fair amount of travelers staying in our hotels during the Christmas travel season. We should have a good year for Christmas travel, provided gas prices stay fairly low.

In the case of our pre fall tourism, Fyffe UFO day is August 27, Ider Mule Day is coming on Labor Day (Sept 5),  then Boom Days Heritage Festival and Third Saturday Sunset Cruise In (Sept. 16 &17) and the DeKalb VFW Agricultural Fair (Sept. 26 thru Oct. 1). There is always plenty to do in our area. To prove it, visit our website ( calendar of events and you will find plenty of things to attend year around.