Thursday, September 12, 2013


Fort Payne, Ala. – With the arrival of autumn and its beautiful display of colors, a visit to Lookout Mountain in the northeastern corner of Alabama in October proves to be just as colorful as it is fun. Three unique events --a new Christian worship event, a Little River Canyon celebration, and a two-day arts and crafts festival-- attract thousands of visitors high atop Lookout Mountain for free family fun at a time when Nature is preparing for a spectacular fall season.  

A new 72-hour outreach and worship event is set for October 10-13, 2013 on Lookout Mountain. The Courage is a free worship concert featuring dozens of Christian bands, solo artists, and speakers. During daylight hours, there will be organized community service groups going out at each hour for volunteers to participate in with worship time continuing throughout the day and night. Over 30 bands are slated to perform including For His Reward, Bay of Believers, Matt Stinton, David Walker, Unspoken, Big Daddy Weave, Against the Downpour, Bread of Stone, Leeland, Shane and Shane, Chris August, John Tibbs, The Ember Days, McKenzie Lockhart, Noah Cleveland, Joe Guerra, and Derek Johnson.

According to event organizers, the event was established to serve the people of DeKalb County who are in need. DeKalb County saw the highest death toll in Alabama during the massive tornado outbreak in April 2011, and today, many are still recovering emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The three-day event starts at noon on October 10 and lasts until noon on Sunday, October 13 and will be held at Twilley Fields Event Grounds located at 13675 Alabama Highway 176, less than two miles outside of Little River Canyon National Preserve in Fort Payne. Admission is free but a ticket is required for entry and may be downloaded from 

Visitors will make their way to the Little River Canyon on the second Saturday for a day of guided hikes, music, food, and more. Set for October 12, 2013, Rendezvous at the Rim and Half Marathon celebrates the arrival of autumn in the Little River Canyon offering a day of guided hikes, live music, and other fun centered on nature. Runners will take to the streets beginning at 8 a.m. for the Little River Canyon Half Marathon, possibly one of the most scenic half marathons in the country. The certified course loops 13.1 miles on paved roads, starting and ending at the Little River Canyon Center. Proceeds benefit outdoor education programs and local conservation efforts. Registration is available online at

At 8:30 a.m., Rendezvous at the Rim gets underway with Growl Prowl where children are led on an interactive hike with a naturalist. As they encounter animal clues along the trail, the children become different animals following the leader in animated motions, such as hopping like a rabbit, leaping like a frog, and buzzing like a bee.

Throughout the day, a variety of activities will keep festivalgoers busy and entertained. Bring your camera and join DeKalb Tourism Director and former Kodak executive John Dersham for a photography improvement hike. All ages are invited to participate. Festivalgoers can participate in a tree, wildflower and geology identification hike or learn about the history of the Little River Canyon from Park Ranger Larry Beane and the DeKalb Historical Society.

Children will also want to check out Critter Tales, a hand-on program about animals including live snakes led by Jacksonville State University Field Schools Assistant Director Renee Morrison, and there will be a Un-natural Trail Hike where children can practice their observation skills by looking for items along the trail that do not belong there.

Additional activities include live music, natural history hikes, nature art, a bug safari and fly fishing and rock climbing demonstrations and there will be plenty of concessions for breakfast and lunch. The event wraps up at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

The town of Mentone welcomes autumn and its colorful display with a two-day celebration. Sponsored by the Mentone Area Preservation Association, Colorfest is set for October 19 and 20, and this year’s event introduces two new fun events – A 5K Color Run and Scarecrow Holler, a scarecrow-building contest and display.

On Saturday morning, gates open at 9 a.m. to a beautiful display of arts and crafts from over 70 premier artists and craftsmen in Mentone Brow Park with breathtaking autumn views in the background. Swing by Mason Park to admire Scarecrow Holler and vote for your favorite handmade scarecrow and be sure to visit the Children’s Farm Fair across the street from Mason Park for pony rides, crafts for the kids, pumpkin painting and other family-friendly activities. Saturday night at 6 p.m., festivalgoers will not want to miss the pig roast and live music hosted by Wildflower CafĂ©. The Farm to Table Pig Roast will feature Birmingham chef James Lewis who was named one of America’s best new chefs of 2011 by Food & Wine and a James Beard Foundation 2013 finalist for best chef in the South region. Mountain Song Farms, a local farmer of woodland raised heritage breed hogs, pastured chickens and mixed pesticide free produce, will provide the pig and fresh vegetables.

Rise early Sunday morning for the Color Craze 5K Run at 8am before heading back to the festival when gates open at 11am. Throughout the weekend, a steady stream of music from talented local musicians featuring the "Sounds of Mentone" can be heard in the Brow Park pavilion.

On Friday night beginning at 5 p.m. (and until supplies last), One world Adventure Company will host a Fish Fry at the Mentone Inn Pavilion. For a $10 donation, get a taste of some of the best hand breaded fish along with homemade hushpuppies, slaw, dessert, and drink. Following dinner, enjoy live bluegrass and folk rock music by The Gypsy Begonias at 8 p.m. in Mentone Square.

Brow Park is located off of Alabama Highway 117, north at the caution light in Mentone. All activities are held rain or shine and festivalgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Admission is free.

For more information on Rendezvous at the Rim and Colorfest or on additional things to do in and around DeKalb County, contact DeKalb Tourism at 888.805.4740 or visit   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fall in Northeast Alabama by John Dersham

Pretty soon our good friend October will arrive. Just like every year she will bring her magical weather wand and a full palette of gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, red, crimson and plum. She will whisk away the heat and humidity of summer and bring us bright blue skies and clear air so we can see forever across a canvas of mountains, hills and valleys all in fall splendor. We love our area in the fall. We brag about our beauty and our great fall colors and we should because it is not just us locals that say this about us, it is our visitors too. Every fall people from all over the Deep South migrate north to see our fall foliage. Many of our fall visitors live in Birmingham and further south in Alabama, they live along the Gulf Coast or coastal plains in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. We represent the closest area for them to travel that has fall colors equal to anywhere further north of us. Our cooler temperatures and hardwood forests are the reason. The coast and coastal plains don’t have as defined of seasonal changes and they don’t have the trees like the Maples, Dogwoods, Black Gums, Sweet Gums, White, Red and Scarlet Oaks that give us the rich diverse color palette we see here in Northeast Alabama. For the same reasons we don’t see as many visitors from areas north of us especially if they live in the mountains. They already have the same features where they live. We are fortunate to be located where most everyone living more than 50 miles south of us would find our area to be distinctly more scenic in the fall than where they live. Fall is our second largest tourist time, just behind June and July.
We have a lot for visitors to do here in the fall, in addition to the scenic value and usually great weather we have festivals, like Fort Payne Boom Days, the VFW DeKalb County Fair, Mentone Colorfest, Collinsville Turkey Trot, Rendezvous at the Rim and Canyon Fest at the JSU Canyon Center and Little River Canyon N.P. and lots of local events with an outdoor setting. It is a great time for those of us that live here to get out for a daycation in one of the prettiest, friendliest places you’ll ever find.
For more information about upcoming fall events in DeKalb County visit our website at or call us at 256-845-3957.