Friday, September 30, 2011

The 56th Annual DeKalb County VFW Agricultural Fair by John Dersham

Don’t miss the fun, it is going on now through Saturday.
We have one of the best county fairs anywhere in this part of the country. In fact our fair is like a state fair on a little smaller scale. Fair Chairman Charles Stephens and his VFW officers and all the volunteers have done a fantastic job this year, just as they have done every year in the past.
DeKalb Tourism sets up a booth each year at the fair and on Monday night we had the annual ribbon cutting to open the fair. The premises were beautiful and squeaky clean. You could not find any dirt, litter or debris on the floor or grounds by the time of the ribbon cutting.
The night the fair opens is always fun and rewarding because our local elected officials, business and community leaders all come out and greet everyone on opening day.
From the vantage point of a guy who moved around the country a lot before moving to Fort Payne, I find something unique about Fort Payne and DeKalb County. There is a fellowship and comrodary here that is strikingly noticeable to an outsider. All you have to do is spend a few hours or days here and you start noticing it right away. It shows up when you go to the store, or when you go get your driver’s license or conduct business at a bank or real estate office or restaurant. This is very evident when visiting our fair.
DeKalb County boasts one of the highest, if not the highest, return rates among it tourists in Alabama. People come here year after year. Yes, we have beautiful scenery, great parks and quaint downtowns and lots of places to spend the night. We have good places to eat and shop and lots of recreational activities and a lot of places to just plain relax. But with all that said the magic is in our people. We have the most consistently and genuinely nice people of anywhere I have lived, worked, or visited. This is an aspect of DeKalb County that you can say in tourism ads but it’s like car dealers saying they have the lowest prices ever. It is just words until you see for yourself. Our tourists return because they found what I say to be true and above all things that make them return to us each year it is the quality of the people, the customer service, the easy going pleasant way we do business. It is you that make my job easy and fun.
The fair continues through Saturday with lots of great fun and events. Come see the winning art, produce, animals, flowers, and baked and canned goods. There is entertainment each night and special events. For more information on times, prices and events check out

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Sure Live in a Wonderful Town by John Dersham

It is a great pleasure for me to help promote our wonderful city. Anyone who visited Boom Days Heritage Celebration on Saturday would have to feel good about what they saw. The weather was perfect, the streets were filled with smiling faces, people meeting friends…laughing and sharing in a great day of entertainment against an extremely scenic backdrop.
I am thrilled with the work of Mayor Jordan and our City Council and all city employees and volunteer participants that have made our downtown area a show place. The restoration of the Iron and Coal Building is well underway and all the new windows and doors, along with the new sidewalk and fence were done for us just before Boom Days. Mayor Jordan along with lots of help from Johnny Eberhart in planning and execution along with wonderful carpentry and construction work by Tony Keef and his team are making our “Boom Days” heritage new again. The restoration of the “Opera Block” and currently the Iron and Coal building has come from grant monies achieved through historic building preservation grants. The city qualified for these grants which require the restoration to mimic the original 1889 construction as closely as possible. The city used a number of resources including some architectural professionals who helped review the building and helped uncover changes that were made over its 121 year history. This would enable restoration to look like the original construction. The city also used original Boom Days pictures of the building to help bring it back to the original appearance. If you were at Boom Days you saw the new windows and doors which are exact duplicates (in appearance) of the 1889 construction. The windows and doors were crafted in Alabama. As much work as possible has been as local as possible.
It was such a pleasure for me and my family to spend the day on Saturday walking around our beautiful town. My son was here from Nashville for Boom Days. It was his first visit to our Boom Days Heritage Celebration and he was impressed. He loved the music, the arts and crafts, the people, the weather and the layout of the festival and the whole theme of it. He commented on the cleanliness of the town and was impressed by the dedication to the downtown park system with our City Park, Alabama Walking Park, the idea of the new pavilion and the blending of the original 1889 Boom Days architecture into downtown. He liked the fountain in the park, the old Boom Days brick used in the making of the fence at City Park and The Depot Museum. As a tourist here, he was impressed.
We really do have a town to be proud of. Hats off to Mayor Jordan, the city council, Greg Conkle and the Parks and Recreation team and all the city employees and volunteers from Landmarks and others who have dedicated themselves to keeping Fort Payne a “one of a kind city” in Alabama.
The one comment I hear most from our out of town guest s and the one that makes me proudest is our people. I hear this comment everyday in my job and I witness it every day personally. We are the friendliest people and we provide the best customer service, anywhere and all with a smile.
I am proud to call Fort Payne my home.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Northeast Alabama Agri Business Center By Kayla Worthey

The Northeast Alabama Agri Business Center opened its doors on September 12, 2010, with two of its three phases of construction completed and has been a major contributor in growing tourism in DeKalb County this year.
With the arena being just over 71,000 square feet and having a permanent seating capacity of 3,400, this facility has the capability to host some major events. Designed to specialize in rodeos, horse shows and other livestock events, this arena was created with a 250’ X 150’ dirt performance floor, a 25,000 square feet warm up and staging pavilion, a 214 stall stable barn, and an open air exercise area. In the past 12 months this spectacular building has been home to many rodeos, the World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions, Alabama Quarter Horse and Barrel Horse Associations as well as the US Team Roping Championship.

It has also housed main events like arena cross, motor cross, monster truck shows, truck/tractor pulls and demolition derbies, which are all entertaining shows to witness in person!
The facility also has the ability to transform into a concert setting with ease. Elevated lighting platforms for stage lights are already in place. Approximately 2,000 portable chairs can be set up on the temporary wooden floor in front of the stage making the total seating capacity 5,400 for hosting concerts like John Anderson and John Michael Montgomery. This setting is also ideal for events like high school and college graduations, wedding receptions, and other local events and shows.
Anyone wishing to stay overnight for an event has access to the 69 RV spots located behind the barn with full hookups including sewer for livestock trailers and recreational vehicles. In addition there are hotels and restaurants nearby.
You can visit the center’s website at for more information on the facility and for a complete list of their events.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bringing New Life to Your Old Photographs and Negatives by John Dersham

Remember all those old pictures you and your family have been taking for generations, on film? Do you have your negatives and prints in a drawer or shoe box, or neatly in a photo album? With the advent of digital imaging most people have changed the way they look at and share pictures. The standard has shifted from handing friends and family hard copies of pictures or showing them your photo album to emailing them or putting them on Facebook or other online photo galleries. In the last few years looking at pictures electronically has surpassed traditional viewing.
Let’s remember the purpose of taking pictures is so we can preserve a moment in time permanently. Traditional photographic materials like film and photographic prints can last for 100-200 years if stored under normal conditions inside a drawer or closet in a house. So now that technology has changed, what are you doing with your old prints and negatives? Are you showing them to anyone anymore? Wouldn’t it be nice to share them on Facebook or put them on an online gallery where you and the whole family and your friends can remember the old days again, even if they live far away? The answer is that you can. There are print and negative scanners available from all the major companies like HP, Epson, Lexmark, Kodak, Dell and many more. If you buy a dedicated film scanner there are models that allow you to scan negatives and slides of all sizes and prints too. The quality of your scanned images will be as good as your original negative, slide or print. If you had a good 35mm camera and have the negative, your images will be equal to those currently being shot on digital Single Lens Reflex. If you have a lot of images taken on the former 126 instamatic format or 110, the scanned pictures will be equal to the original quality. The nice thing about scanning your negatives, slides and prints is that once done, your images can be treated like any other digital picture. You can color correct them, crop, enlarge, print, email them or post them online. You can also take the digital files and have them printed at any photo lab. In addition you can name each image as you scan it, or you can name your whole roll of film you scan, or both. You can record your family history in chronological order. Storing the pictures on your computer will make for a great long term way to look at and share your memories.
Warning! Save your picture files to a back up drive, CD, DVD, thumb drive or online storage service. Do not think your digital images are safe and permanent on your computer without a backup. One day a computer crash, virus or the loss of your hard drive will take all your images away, including the ones you shot on digital to begin with. Digital photography is only as permanent as your storage methods. Always have a backup.
You can buy a dedicated film scanner at some mass merchants like; Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and Camera stores. You can also buy them online at Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo and Video etc. Canon and Epson seem to have the best film scanners for home use. Epson also makes professional film scanners, as does Nikon. You can pay from $75.00 to $300.00 for one that scans negative and slides. If you have a lot of negatives and prints to scan and they are different sizes, I recommend the Epson 700 or 750M Professional. These will scan negatives of all sizes up to 8x10 and also scan prints up to 8x10 and cost about $700.00 A 35mm negative or slide scanned at 6400 DPI will produce about the same file size as a digital SLR camera of about 18MP. Most people find scanning at 2400 DPI to be sufficient for their needs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ider mule Day

Ider mule Day

Labor Day is always a great day because the town of Ider hosts its annual Mule Day. This is the 25th year of this all day fun filled family event. There are things to do from start to finish and you will not want to miss any of it. No need to pack a lunch, there is plenty of hot food, snacks and drinks for sale at multiple locations throughout the park.

While many years ago, farmers came to the Ider area to display their mules, today, the mountaintop town celebrates the tradition with the annual Ider Mule Day. Set for September 5, 2011, the event kicks off with the Wheels of Time Cruisers Open Car Show at 8 a.m. A parade featuring mules, horses, carriages, antique cars and tractors take to the streets at 9:30 a.m. Tests of strength follow with a mule pull at 10:30 a.m. and a draft horse pull at 1 p.m., and in between the fierce pulling competitions is the mule and draft horse show beginning at 11 a.m.

The day-long event also offers an antique engine and tractor display, an antique tractor pull, arts and crafts, and games for children. Live entertainment featuring bluegrass and gospel singing fills the air from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and plenty of barbeque and other food vendors along with Ider Rescue Squad’s famous homemade ice cream will be available.

Admission is $2 per person and children under 6 years old are admitted free. All activities are held in and around Ider Town Park located off of Highway 75 at 183 Sweet Gum Road.

For more information on this event, call DeKalb Tourism at 888.805.4740 or visit