Weogufka Mule Day – Weogufka, Alabama

Mountains Region

Weogufka Mule Day – Weogufka, Alabama

The annual event of the Weogufka Mule Day is something that you may want to put on your calendar to attend.  Here you will see one of the biggest festivals in Alabama where there are mules, wagons, antique tractors, antique cars, music, food, vendors, arts and crafts.  There are also special events each year to keep you coming back to see what they are going to do next!

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Annual Blessing of the Fleet – Bayou La Batre, Alabama

Gulf Coast Region

Two Day Festival for the Blessing of the Fleet

Bayou La Batre, AL (St. Margaret’s Annual Blessing of the Fleet) The event will be held on the grounds of St. Margaret’s Catholic Church, which is located at 13790 South Wintzell Avenue in Bayou La Batre, AL.

Traditionally held only on the first Sunday of May, the expanded two-day 2012 Blessing of the Fleet is sponsored by the City of Bayou La Batre and BP. There will be  a wide selection of family-friendly activities on Saturday, and Sunday,  from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days. Festival admission is free.

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First White House of the Confederacy – Montgomery, Alabama

River Heritage Region

First White House of the Confederacy – Mongomery, Alabama

Aberham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United State in November of 1860.  What followed was a reaction throughout the slave-owning states of the Cotton South with South carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabam, Gerogia, Louisiana and Texas seceding from the Union.  On February 5, 1861, the seceded states met in Montogmery, Alabama’s Capital building to form the Confederate States of America.

Montgomery was chosen becasue of its location.  It was situated on seven hills overlooking the Alabam River, and near the Federal Road from gerogia to Mobile.  It enjoyed a location central to the Deep South.  it had good transporation facilities with both the railroad and steamboat and held a reputation as the Black Belt’s center of wealth and culture.

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National Peanut Festival – Dothan, Alabama

River Heritage Region

National Peanut Festival – Dothan, Alabama

Of all the peanuts grown in the United States approximately half of them come from a 100 mile radius of Dothan.  The National Peanut Festival is held each fall to honor peanut growers and to celebrate the growing season.

Peanuts are farmed on nearly 200,000 acres in southern Alabama, along the Gulf Coast from one side of the state to the other and as far north as Hale County. 

The peanut is a plant of the legume, or pea, family, and its seeds form in pods. Peanut plants grow to just over one foot in height and spread about three feet. Peanut plants are self-pollinating, meaning that both male and female flowers appear on the same plant. Once the flowers wilt, the flower stalk grows down into the ground about an inch deep, where its ovary develops into pods containing the nuts, or seeds. Once the seeds mature, they can be harvested. Harvesting is a two-part process. First, a digger with a four-to-six inch horizontal blade is driven down the rows. This loosens the plants from the root while a shaker lifts and inverts it, exposing the pods to sunlight. Once the pods dry out for a few days, a combine or thresher cuts the pods from the vines, places the pods in a hopper on top of the machine, and replaces the vines and stems on the ground, where they serve as moisture-retaining mulch. The harvested pods are then placed in drying containers to cure, reducing their moisture content to around 10 percent.

Four major types of peanuts are grown in the United States: runner, Spanish, Valencia, and Virginia. Runner peanuts, which make up nearly 50 percent of all peanuts grown in the United States, are the primary peanuts grown in Alabama, as well as in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. Runner peanuts account for 70 percent of the food market in the United States, with more than half of runners used to make peanut butter and the rest going into candy or sold as roasted snack nuts.

To celebrate the harvest the festival is held at the fairgrounds in Dothan.  It is located on Hwy 231 South, just three miles south of the Ross Clark Circle.  At the festival there are amusement rides, animal acts, agricultural displays, live music concerts, beauty pageants, arts and crafts displays, contests, food, and a parade. 

Dothan is known as the “Peanut Capital of the World”.  The festival to celebrate the peanut began in 1938.   The festival ran yearly until 1942 when it was suspended due to WWII.  In 1947 it began again.  Today the event is a 10 day celebration.

Contact:

National Peanut Festival Association, Inc.
5622 Highway 231 South
Dothan, Alabama 36301
334-793-4323
Fax: 334-793-3247
Email: nationalpeanut@aol.com
Office Hours 8-5 (Mon-Fri)

Historic Districts of Decatur – Decatur, Alabama

Mountains Region

Historic Districts of Decatur – Decatur, Alabama

There are two historic districts in Decatur.  One is the Albany district which is situationed very near the Tennessee River.  Here you will find a fabulous collection of late 19th and early 20th Century homes, ranging from Queen Anne Victorians to Craftsman Bungalows.  This district extends from its own downtown district cetnered on Second Ave. to the beautiful and historic Delano Park.  In Delano Park you will find the Delano Park & Rose Garden, located at Gordon Drive and 8th Ave.  It was created in 1887 as the focal point of the new city.

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Freedom Quilting Bee – Alberta, Alabama

River Heritage Region

Freedom Quilting Bee – Alberta, Alabama

The Freedom Quity Bee grew out of the Civil Rights movement.  Income was needed after the local people lost their jobs after registering to vote in the 1960’s so the women put their kills to use making quits for sale.  The Freedome Bee is now the largest private employer in Alberta!

The group makes products of various sizes of quilts such as Gradmother’s Dream, Bear Claw, Grandmother’s Choice and Coat of Many Colors.  They also make potholders, placemats and napkins.  For specialty items you can order conference bags for organizaitonal meetings too.

The Freedome Quilting Bee is a cooperative that was established in 1966 by a group of African American women in the community of Rehoboth, 46 miles from Selma. 

Most of the members rallied for voting rights in the Selma-to-Mongomery March, or in Camden.  This caused many of the people to be put out of ther jobs.

At this time an Episcopal priest, Father Francis X. Walter, got lost driving around near the remote community of Possum Bend.  He spied a clothesline with three quilts in bold, primary colors handing on the line.  At this time the Op art movement was popular in the art world of New York City.  He believed that these quilts could be sold to this area.  When he approached the home of the quilts the black lady who saw him coming fled to the back woods, afraid of the white man.

He kept trying and finally stopped at another local African American quilter to discuss the craft.  A friend in New York suggested a quilot auction as a fund raiser.  The group decided they wanted a permanent quilting cooperative for black women of the area.  On March 26, 1966, the Freedome Bee was officially organized and the cooperative was formed.

An auciton of quits was held in New York, arranged by Walter, promoted as a way to help black women who had fought for their civil rights.  To gather the quilts for the auciton the priest went up and down the roads, asking for quilts to be shipped off.  Some women took stitchworks driectly from their beds.  The quilts proved to be popular with auction-goers.  Patterns reflected styles spanning at least a century of black quilting in the area, including the Roman Cross, Pine Burr, and Chestnut Bud. Especially poignant to prospective buyers were worn-out denim swatches, made from blue jeans after the men could no longer use them in the corn and cotton fields. The auctions stirred momentum and quilts went from $10-15 to $100 and upwards after the first two auctions.

The quilts caught the attention of influential artists, including Lee Krasner, widow of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, and the quilters exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution. Promoters from New York ran sewing schools at the co-op building that rose up from a former cornfield. The women learned to conduct business, and for the first time, they earned money, enabling them to acquire indoor bathrooms and roofs that did not leak and to provide their children with high school graduation rings and college tuition. They also fostered a nationwide quilting revival.

In the 70’s the co-op stopped crafting original, one  of a kind showpeices, they limited their patterns to a few, producing look-alikes to meet market requirements.  In addition to quilting the group filled sewing contracts for Sears, sold through larger co-ops, and took on projects through the New York based Rural DEvelopment Leadership Network. 

As time went on, many of the original members passed away and the group grew small.  At present, the co-op continues to sell at Black Belt Treasures, in Camden, a partnership between the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission and the University of Alabama, where the quilts sell for between $500 and $600.

Contact information: Freedom Quilting Bee, Fannie Etheridge, Manager; 4295 County Road 29, Alberta, Alabama, 36720; 334-573-9500.

Aldrich Coal Mine Museum – Montevallo, Alabama

Metropolitan Region

Aldrich Coal Mine Museum – Montevallo, Alabama

In 1873 Truman Heminway Aldrich leased the Montevallo coal mines and purchased the mines outright in 1875.  He named the surrounding settlement Aldrich.

The Musuem is housed in the “Company Store” of the former Montevallo Coal Mining Company in Aldrich, and Historic Farrington Hall.  As coal and coke production increased the mining company constructed communities around the area.  Centrally located were the company stores providing a common gathering place for town residents.  There were churches, schools, and fraternal organizaitons in the community.  The town has family dwellings, boarding houses, and retail stores lining the streets.  The deductions for company services and payments in scrip frequently undercut a miners pay.

From the end of the 19th century to the 1930’s approximately one-half of all coal miners in Alabama were African-American, and blacks comprised more than 90 percent of convict miners.  Segregation among miners exisited above ground but underground miners earned equal pay for equal work and endured the same hazzards and risks of a dangerous occupation. 

The Aldrich Coal Mine Museum features coal mining memorabilia, a mine replica and vintage equipment photographs of the town of Aldrich at its coal-mining peak.  Here you will see pictures and artifacts of Aldrich, coal mine, prision, stores, churches and post office.  The site has the only coal miner monument in Alabama.  The store was built in 1928.

The mine closed in 1942 although the store remained open until 1944. 

In the meantime, Emfinger (Museum owner) gives museum guests a guided tour through his own simulated coal mine located inside the company store.

Open Th-Sat. 10-4, Sun. 1-4, or by appt

Location: 137 Hwy 203, Montevallo, AL

Phone: 205-665-2886

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind – Talladega, Alabama

Metropolitan Region

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind – Talladega, Alabama

This school is for those that are deaf, blind and/or multidisabled.  It works with children from ages 3 to 21 years old providing traditional and nontraditional programs and educational experiences for those who are blind and vision impaired as residential or day students.  They also provide assistance to blind and vision impaired students in public schools all across the state through thier Instructional Resource Center for the Blind.

The Institute also does Braille transcribing for participating agencies at no charge.  This service is also available for non-participating agenecies althought here is a small charge to cover the cost of materials although the labor is free.

Every blind and visually impaired student in Alabama, at public and private schools, will have access to the books and materials they need to succeed in school.  The Resource Center can assist with all the necessary materials since they are expensive and most school budgets can’t afford to buy them for the limited number of students that would need to use them.

There is also access to the federal talking books program, officially called the Naitonal Library Service/Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  This pprogram was established in 1934 and books on cassette were made available in the 1960’s.  This program is free to participants.

Many music titles are also provided as part of this service. The national music collection is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than 30,000 items. This includes scores in braille and large print, textbooks and books about music in large print and braille.  Also available are recordings of elementary instruction for voice, piano, organ, guitar, recorder, accordion, banjo and harmonica.

The Alabama School for the Deaf  has over 150 years of serving the Deaf and hard of Hearing children in Alabama.

Helen Keller School of Alabama
The Helen Keller School of Alabama had its origin in a program created in 1955 to serve children who were both deaf and blind at AIDB and was named for the Alabama native when programs for children with multiple disabilities were consolidated in 1980. Serving children, ages three to 21, HKS provides individualized quality education, service and care which focuses on the abilities and potential of each student. The program is nationally recognized as a training center for teachers of children who are deaf or blind and multidisabled and they are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

HKS takes a holistic approach to working with children with special needs involving staff and parents in the design of an education plan that may include language, math, Braille, music, art and other academics, in addition to independent living skills and physical therapy.

There is no tutition, room or board charged for students whose families are Alabama residents.

You can visit the Warren Museum and Archives which is a collection of memorabilia and hsitorical data that celebrates AIDB’s past.  There are original school rolls, minute books, publication of the Messenger, the Alabama Brass, scrapbooks and photos for you to see.  There are also athletic jackets, a collection of hearing aids and things dating back to the 19th century.  There are braillewriters, and other early communication devices that tell of how things were done and how the process has advanced with experience and time. 

The Museum is housed in a central room in Manning Hall where the school began in 1858.

Location: 205 E. South St.
Talladega, AL

Email: the President graham.terry@aidb.state.al.us
Dr. Terrt Graham
Phone: 256-761-3200 V/TDD

10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers Memorial – Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Mountains Region

10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers Memorial – Huntsville, Alabama

The 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army was one of the original African-American units known as the “Buffalo Soliders.”  There were two cavalry and two infantry regiments established in 1866.  When war boke out in Spain on April 25, 1898, all four African-American regiments were recalled from the West where they had been involved in campaigns against American Indian tribes in an area from Montana in the Northwest to tExas, New Mexico and Arizona. 

When they weren’t fighting the Indians they built forts, roads, installed telegraph lines, .ocated water holes, escorted wagon trains and cattle drives, rode “shotgun” on stagecoach and mail runs and protected settlers from Indian attacts, outlaws,a nd Mexican revolutionaries.

They were sent to Cuba and participated in the battles of Las Guasimas, El Caney and San Juan Hill.  During these conflicts they won six medals of honor for gallantry in action.

After the war three regiments remained on occupation duty while the 10th United States Cavalry was ordered to New York, then to Camp Albert G. Forse in Huntsville, AL.  They were there until January 1899, hence Cavalry Hills.

This regiment also served in the Philippine-American War.  Here the Philippine people were fighting for independence from the colonization of the United States.  The war was “over” in 1902 but independence didn’t get granted to the Philippines until after WWII.

It was the only African-American unit under American command that fought Grenman soldiers (advisors) in WWI. The regiment was trained as a combat untie but was later relegated to non-combat duty and served in that capacity in WWII until it was deactivated in 1944.

The 10th Cavalry was reactived as an integrated combat unit in 1958.  Some of the soldiers ahve served in fronflicts franging from Vietnam to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The current structure is by squadron with the 1st, 4th, and 7th Squadrons assisgned to three brigades of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson, Colorado.

Location:
Academy for Academics & Arts, Poplar Ave. at University & Pulaski Pike
Huntsville, AL

Admiral Raphael Semmes House – Mobile, Alabama

Gulf Coast Region

Admiral Raphael Semmes House – Mobile, Alabama

This house was built by its first owner, Peter Horta, in 1858 but is best known as the home of Admiral Raphael Semmes, captain of the Confederate sloop-of-war- CSS Alabama.  The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

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