Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year from DeKalb Tourism by John Dersham

We at DeKalb Tourism wish each of you a happy and blessed New Year.
Last year was a banner year for tourism in DeKalb County. We enjoyed double digit growth in the number of visitors and the amount of dollars they spent on lodging. Tourism provides valuable tax revenue to our county and all of our cities.
In 2017 we are very hopeful to have an equally good year. Long term forecast from the U.S. Travel Association is calling for a good year, but forecasts show less growth than 2016. There are a lot of variables that can change that run parallel to the overall economy and the cost of petroleum. Worldwide and U.S. politics also play a role. People travel more if they feel secure in their jobs and if the overall economy is doing well. Visitors love our area and many of our guests are return visitors. We have established a large following of return visitors from nearby metro areas who love to come for a get-a-way weekend to relax, enjoy our parks and our scenic drives, hikes and our causal friendly environment. We are a low cost place to visit so many people will come for multiple weekends during the year.
As the new year progresses, I will use this column as a place to update you on all the things going on in our area and  some new ways we are trying to attract visitors.
Whenever you need information about things to see and do in DeKalb we maintain the official calendar of events on our website. Please have a look at

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Party and Parade by John Dersham

Tonight is the night and you and your family will not want to miss the Fort Payne Parks and Recreation 32nd annual Christmas Party in City Park. After that is Parade time. Every year the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce puts on a fantastic downtown Christmas Parade.

We have a beautiful town and it is never prettier than when it is all lighted up for the Christmas season. You will want to bring the whole family and join the fun. It is a wonderful time to say hello to friends and bid them a Merry Christmas, you will see them all since everyone loves to come to the parade.

We have a lot of things going on over the next several days that you will not want to miss. Here is a list:

December 9 Fort Payne Christmas Parade and Christmas in the Park - Join in the festivities in Fort Payne City Park. Free soft drinks, hot chocolate, refreshments, caroling, then there will be a huge parade to make this annual event tons of fun!  Festivities start at 4 p.m.  Parade starts at 6 p.m. 256-845-2741

December 9 Cook Castle 3rd Annual Christmas in Dixie Tour - Take a tour of the fabulous Cook Castle at Christmas. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $30 per person 256-845-2286 ext 7 

December 9 NASA Star Party - Join us at the Canyon Center for a night of stars. Educator John Weiss from NASA will be leading this star party. There will be opportunities to see meteor and lunar samples, look at stars through the telescopes, and have a great evening of star gazing. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

December 10 - 11 Yoga On The Mountain - Start your morning off right with Dee Brown. Classes are held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at DeSoto State Park. Cost is $5. To register contact 256-634-8370  

December 10 - 11 Dixie Long Riders Cowboy Mounted Shooters Assoc. will be at the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center in Rainsville. 256-638-1650

December 10 Blow Your Own Ornament - Come design and blow your own ornament with the help of one of our glass artists.  No reservations are needed, it is on a first come, first serve basis.   For this we welcome people of all ages (at least 5 years old). 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Cost is $38 per ornament blown. 256-523-3188 

December 10 Take A Hike - The JSU Field Schools will partner with groups (such as National Park Service, US Forest Service, Alabama State Parks and others) to offer diverse moderate-level hikes "from the deepest canyon to the highest mountain" each second Saturday of the month. Call for specific locations and meeting place. $5 per person; pre-registration required five days prior to hike date. 256-782-8010 

December 10 Serious Skills Series: Longleaf Pine Needle Basketry Class - Join artist Brittney Hughes to learn the basic steps to making a coiled basket from longleaf pine needles.  DeSoto State Park Nature Center, next to the Country Store on County Road 89.  9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $25 supply fee- Supply fee due day of class. All materials (pine needles, thread, and small center for basket) will be furnished. Class is for ages 10 and up. Pre-registration required; class number is limited to 12. 256-997-5025

December 10 Holiday Shopping Expo - Come shop with us for your holiday needs while supporting a great cause at the Minvale Church Life Center.  Santa will be there for photos!  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information please contact Elisha Huizenga 256-996-4041 or Erica Stevens 256-996-0272.

December 10 Children's Ornament Class Hosted by Miracle Pottery - Make your own ornament! Hand building is a technique that requires no prior experience working with clay. Given a bit of direction, some ideas and simple tools you can create a beautiful original piece of art. All clay and tools are provided. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Miracle Pottery in Valley Head $20 per ornament.  256-635-6863

December 10 Fyffe Christmas Parade begins at 12 p.m. 256-623-2222

December 10 Sylvania Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. 256-638-2604

December 10 Geraldine Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. 256-659-2122

December 10 Collinsville Christmas Parade begins at 3:30 p.m. 256-524-2135

December 10 Rainsville Santa Dash - The Santa Dash will take its proceeds and give them to Plainview School to be used to bring a Merry Christmas to children who might miss the excitement of receiving gifts on Christmas Morning. The one-mile fun run/walk will take place at the start of the Christmas parade at Sand Mountain Electric Coop, line up at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Rainsville Christmas Parade to begin at 4 p.m. The cost to participate is $30 per person.  Contact Jerry Clifton at 256-717-5650

December 10 Annual Rainsville Christmas At the Crossroads and Parade - Come and enjoy a celebration of the season with this fun festive annual event.  Parade begins at 4 p.m. 256-638-7800 

December 10 Night Zip Line & Sky Swing Adventure -  All our zip lines and sky swings are set up just before the adventure to ford a gorge or cross from one high point to another. Pre-registration required at True Adventure Sports by 6 pm the day before adventure.  6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 256-997-9577

December 12 Wild Cave Tour - This 2.5 hour adventure is for those of you ready to explore on your knees, on your belly, in the mud and through tight tunnels.  Adventure includes helmet, cave lamps plus a fun informative guide.  True Adventure Sports.  5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 256-997-9577