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 façade. 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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Record summer for tourism by John Dersham

We are well on our way to a record summer in tourism in the United States according to the U.S. Travel Association. Early reports say the July 4th holiday was the largest in history as far as number of people travelling. Alabama is reporting record numbers, as well, and so are we.  We are nearly 10 percent above last year, using our year to date numbers and our numbers come in from the state revenue office 60 days in arrears. This means we do not have our June and July numbers yet. I am expecting, judging from the visitors seen and reported by attractions and lodging partners throughout DeKalb County, that the growth over last year will be well over 10%...we hope.
Some of the contributors to this growth are due to an overall strengthening of the U.S. economy and lower gas prices than the last number of years. Our travel industry is hopeful the trend will continue and growth will continue. Both Alabama and DeKalb are growing at a steady rate. As the state of Alabama continues to become an increasingly popular destination, every area of our state will benefit from the publicity and added national and international attention the state is receiving.
In a few weeks we will end our summer travel season with our largest single attendance event of the year with the World’s Longest Yard Sale (WLYS). This event is held this year from August 4-7, officially, but many vendors and a lot of activity on our section of the yard sale (located on the Lookout Mountain Scenic Parkway) will begin as early as the weekend prior. Event promoters estimate the total number of visitors along the WLYS route from Gadsden to the Georgia state line should exceed 25,000 -30,000. Despite the size of this number many people agree the WLYS is not as big as its peak in the late 90’s thru 2005. The reason is demographic. The biggest portion of support for the yard sale has been the Mature/Silent (sometimes known as the Greatest Generation) and the Baby Boomer population both of  which are aging out  of the collector buying process and the X-Generation and Millennia’s, as a whole, do not have a material driven culture. They tend to accumulate less with an emphasis on engagement in travel, entertainment and culinary pleasures. None the less, the WLYS will continue to be a major tourism event for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

International Travel Writers by John Dersham

I really had fun last weekend. We had the honor of having a bus full of travel writers spend a weekend here in DeKalb. They work in different countries for publications that will publish articles they write about us. Our visitors were from Brittan, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria and China. Let me tell just how important it is to have travel writers here. If we run an ad in a major magazine it costs us up to $6,000 for a small ad when the consumer sees paid travel advertising they assume the destination will be bragging about themselves…thus lessening the total impact. When a travel writer writes an article about our destination the consumer believes they are getting accurate and helpful information. In addition, when they write a story about us and it is in a popular travel magazine, it is free publicity. In other words, it costs us nothing to get better advertising than we could pay for. This is why when travel writers come to town we want to make sure we give them the best hospitality and show them our beauty, our customer service and all the great things there are to see and do in DeKalb, including eating and shopping. Our visitors spent Saturday and Sunday touring our area. DeKalb Tourism and DeSoto State Park serviced as the local hosts and I served as tour guide. This was an event hosted by North Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and the trip included five days in North Alabama. Our guests stayed at DeSoto State Park and on Saturday evening we had a dinner that included a welcome to the park by Ken Thomas and a DeKalb Tourism talk by me. We had a booth set up so they could get our travel guides and information. We toured Desoto S.P. and Little River Canyon, which included rappelling with True Adventure Sports and Israel Partridge as the host. We ended up at Wildflower Café in Mentone for great food and musical entertainment specifically welcoming our visitors. The really good news is what they think of us. Wow, they love our area, our people, our food and they were totally awe struck by our scenic beauty and they were totally amazed we had a 650’ canyon in Alabama. Their upcoming articles will be another step in growth for us in the International market. The magazines they write for will be viewed in their countries and help consumers pick us as one of their destinations when coming to the southeast U.S. Fortunately for me, most international visitors speak English and communicate well in the U.S. When we travel abroad most of us are dependent on them knowing English since not many of us are bi or tri lingual.