Thursday, September 24, 2015

Boom Days, Third Saturday Sunset-Big Success by John Dersham

What a day we had last Saturday, wow! The largest crowds ever for Boom Days and Third Saturday Sunset. Downtown Fort Payne bustled all day, the crowd was consistent and really never dropped down in the late afternoon, as has happened some years due to football games. The Rotary Pavilion was overflowing for all of the afternoon shows and by the time the Swampers came on and Delbert McClinton people were standing in the parking lot and the Alabama Walking Park listening to the great concert. When the Swampers performed Sweet Home Alabama the crowd went wild, after all it is the Swampers that performed on the original hit record by Lynyrd Skynyrd. We had 22 music acts on five stages from the fantastic Hootenanny at the Opera House to Fort Payne City Park and the stage in the courtyard at the DeKalb Theater and on the stage inside the DeKalb Theater. The music kept on going deep into the evening with a fantastic performance by Leah Seawright and her band. They sang a wide arrangement of songs from gospel to rock and roll, country, blues and some great Elton John classics. As soon as Leah was done it was time for the rock and roll show at the DeKalb Theater with Flow Tribe. They put on a great show for a good audience. Katie Sunshine and the Trapeze artists from Boom Days put on a Hula Hoop show while Flow Tribe  was performing, it was so much fun.
Collins Kirby and the Boom Days committee and Johnny Eberhart, Amelia Landstreet and the Third Saturday committee did a great job in putting together an event that lasted that long with consistent crowds throughout.
There is great economic impact for last weekend. We had the largest out of town crowd ever for Boom Days. I estimated the total crowd based on a tourism formula that counts density per city block with a multiplier based on two hour turnover  rates. I estimate we had 12,000 to 15,000 total for the entire day including all events. The hotels, cabins, campgrounds all enjoyed great weekend business due to Boom Days. The average family of four contributes $436.00 a day into our economy for each night they spend here. They pay for their lodging, they eat, they buy gas, they shop and they go to attractions. This helps our city, county and state because more tax revenue is collected. Last weekend was a win, win event for all of us. We should be proud to have a great weekend like this each year to celebrate our rich cultural heritage. I loved it all. A special thanks from DeKalb Tourism to Mayor Chesser (better known on Saturday as the Marshal), the Fort Payne City Council, the Boom Days and Third Saturday planning committees and to Parks and Recreation, the police and fire departments and all the volunteers we had all day.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Get ready, get set- Boom! by John Dersham

It is here! Boom Days Heritage Celebration and Third Saturday Sunset all wrapped up into one fantastic day from morning to night. Boom Days is the state of Alabama Event of the year as awarded at the Governors Conference on Tourism in August. These two events are fun for the whole family. Regardless of your age there is something for you. From a free performance at the Rotary Pavilion by Delbert McClinton at 4:30 to Katie Sunshine and her amazing skill with hoola hoops, yes plural, she can use several at a time. There will be some of the finest artisans in the southeast with us in Fort Payne City Parks and there will be music all day at four stages including 21 music acts. No matter where you may be while walking in the historic district of For Payne you will hear music. There is hootenanny at the Opera House 2-4 with Norman Blake headlining, a wine tasting at Hunt Reception Hall 1-4:30, classic cars, food, drinks and much more. Beginning with Haulin’ for Hannah 5K run at 8 a.m. to the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast from 8-noon, a pet parade (bring your dogs for the parade through town) 10 a.m. There will be professional Frisbee demonstrations from 10-5 , Trapeze Acts 10-5 and vintage vehicles in Alabama Walking Park 10-6 and then again downtown for Third Saturday Sunset from  4-8. The annual Rock and Roll show featuring Flow Tribe is at the DeKalb Theater at 8 P.M. (admission $10.00). There will be a “meet the authors” event at the Bookshelf from 10-3. The city park art show is 10-6 and herding demonstration by Border Collies is at Alabama Walking Park 10-5. Now, with all that said, you need to know another couple biggies; The world famous Swampers will be on the Rotary Pavilion at 3 P.M and a new addition this year is a kiddy train, to accompany other children’s fun activities at Boom Days.
Boom Days is a celebration of our historic culture. We are one of the few towns in Alabama that was “Boomed” by industrialists from New England in the late 1880’s. The imprint they left during a few short years is with us today in our culture and our architecture in historic downtown Fort Payne. From the historic Opera House to the entire Iron and Coal-Opera block to the Fort Payne City Park, the Railroad Depot Museum, stately downtown buildings and Victorian era homes that serve as a long lasting ode to our Boom Days past.
Please come and join us for the fun all day and into the night on Saturday, Sept 19.