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February 2019

Animals, Celebrities, Old Movie Trailers…What Works in Super Bowl Advertising

Dr. Linda Ferrell

With so many new communications platforms for marketers to use these days, does the Super Bowl ad still hold the same weight as it once did in terms of effectiveness and considering the large cost involved?

Ferrell: The Super Bowl is a massive cultural celebration. Whether you’re into sports or football, we love to get together with friends and enjoy the Super Bowl. Its effectiveness…it brings together colleagues, families and friends. Its viewership last year was over 103 million people in the U.S. The rate per 30-second ad is also a proxy for efficacy with this year’s Super Bowl charging a record $5.25 million ($1 million more than the 2014 Super Bowl).

The beauty is in the strategy for the ad. The very best ads get talked about, tweeted and discussed on morning shows and talk shows for days after the Super Bowl. Media outlets have “Ad Meters” where viewers can share their thoughts on best and worst ads. In addition, the very worst ads get traction and visibility. Your worst nightmare as a Super Bowl advertiser is to be in the middle and not be noticed or talked about. Your $5.25 million is well spent if you end up getting a lot of “free residual press.”

Often, it seems Super Bowl ads are focused on making the viewer laugh—hoping to provide a memorable “water cooler” moment. Does this method of marketing still work best, or should Super Bowl advertisers consider a different, more conscientious approach in such a day and age of political and societal turmoil?

Ferrell: The Super Bowl is a celebration with friends, family, food and frosty beverages. Social issue ads have to be handled very carefully to be successful. They must be very optimistic in their perspective and they are indeed, challenging for this broadcast. Nationwide ran an ad, “The Boy Who Didn’t Grow Up” in the Super Bowl a few years ago. The ad was highly controversial as it had a young boy stating that he “couldn’t grow up because he died in an accident.” The response was an “outrage” from the audience. Tweets started immediately: “Nationwide just ruined the Super Bowl.”; “Not cool, Nationwide. Not cool.”; “Nationwide Monday morning staff meeting is going to be a humdinger.”; and “Worst play in Super Bowl history #Nationwide #WhatWereYouThinking.”

This year we will see more ads featuring successful female celebrities and athletes including Serena Williams.

What trends are you seeing in advertising that we might look out for while watching this year’s Super Bowl?

Ferrell: Continuation of what marketing research knows that works in Super Bowl ads: Use animals, humor, celebrities, food (snack, frosty beverages, restaurant) and early movie trailers and promotion. Historically, movies that are promoted in the Super Bowl far exceed total box office receipts of those that are marketed more traditionally. Historically there have been eight to 10 movie trailers in the Super Bowl. This year there is expected to be three or four. The increasing cost of ads and declining box office revenue are contributing to this effect.

Dr. Linda Ferrell is professor and chair of the Department of Marketing in Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business. Her research interests include marketing ethics, ethics training and effectiveness, the legalization of business ethics as well as corporate social responsibility and sustainability. She has served as an account executive in advertising with McDonalds’ and Pizza Hut’s advertising agencies in Houston, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. She was recently honored as the Innovative Marketer of the Year by the Marketing Management Association.

Movers & Shapers, February 2019

Lewis Brooks

Lewis Brooks
Brooks is superintendent of Shelby County schools. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist degrees from the University of Montevallo and a doctor of education degree from Samford University. Brooks has been an Alabama educator for 28 years. Brooks serves on the board of the DAY Program for at-risk youth and the UM Educational Leadership Advisory Committee. He has been honored by the University of Montevallo and Samford University. Brooks is on the UM National Alumni Board and is an adjunct professor for Samford University.

Scott Coefield
Coefield has served as superintendent of Pelham City Schools since the system was established in 2014. With nearly three decades of educational experience, Coefield has served as superintendent in Cleburne County and Oneonta. He has mentored new superintendents throughout Alabama and worked with principals and board members. Coefield also worked at the State Department of Education as a principal coach, where he provided focused assistance in 40-plus schools helping improve school efficiency, school culture and student achievement.

Kathy Copeland
Copeland is president of KCopeland Inc. and has represented White Rock Quarries as director of public and governmental relations since 2007. The majority of her professional career was spent at South Florida Water Management District, the largest water resource agency in Florida. She is involved with career readiness activities at middle and high schools, serves on the chamber boards and works to end the opioid epidemic. She is a columnist for the Shelby County Reporter. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama. 

Alex Dudchock
Dudchock is county manager in Shelby County. In 2019, he will have served Shelby County for 30 years, with more than 26 as county manager. He has lived in Shelby County since 1988. Four of the boards he currently serves on are Chilton Shelby Mental Health, as board president; the Shelby County Chamber; United Way of Central Alabama, and the Birmingham Business Alliance, which is the regional economic development entity for Central Alabama. 

Greg Knighton

Greg Knighton
Knighton is the economic development manager for the city of Hoover, after serving as vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Knighton is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery. He is past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and on the board of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce. Knighton is a member of the International Economic Development Council, NAIOP and ICSC.

Daniel Listi
Listi is CEO of Shelby Baptist Medical Center, after serving as COO at two facilities in Texas. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and is a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives. Listi is on the board of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, soon to be the Shelby Chamber.

Kirk Mancer
Mancer is president and CEO of the Shelby County Chamber. He leads a staff that works with hundreds of volunteers from more than 1,200 investor organizations to grow existing businesses and attract new ones in partnership with 58 Inc., the new county-wide economic development organization, and with local schools.

Tom McLeod
McLeod is president and CEO of McLeod Software, which he founded in 1985. The company has grown to more than 430 employees and is Birmingham’s largest software development company. Active in the American Trucking Association, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Alabama Trucking Association, he specializes in software to support trucking and freight brokerage operations. He is past president of the Birmingham Boys Choir and incoming chairman of the Alabama Trucking Association. He recently relocated the company headquarters to the Highway 280 corridor of Hoover in Shelby County. He is a graduate of Samford University.

Yvonne Murray

Yvonne Murray
Murray is managing director of 58 Inc., Shelby County’s new economic development organization. She comes to 58 Inc. after a decade at the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, operating its community development fund, VentureSouth. She earned bachelor’s and MPA degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with additional credentials from the Brookings Institution. She is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.

Stuart Raburn
Raburn, a serial entrepreneur in Birmingham, spent 26 years in the IT field before his current position as founder and CEO of Southern Organics in Shelby County, which combines natural and pesticide-free farming techniques with technology. Raburn’s IT career includes founder and CEO of TekLinks Inc., which was recently purchased by C Spire, and of AA MicroSystems Inc. He also worked as a tax accountant for a local accounting firm. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama.

Keith Richards
Richards is owner of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, which opened its first location in 1998 and was named one of America’s fastest-growing leaders by Inc. 5000 in the fresh-casual industry in 2018. The company now has 88 restaurant locations spanning across 17 states, with plans to expand in existing and new areas by 2023. Prior to Taziki’s, he was café manager at Birmingham’s award-winning Bottega Café. Richards serves on the Shelby County Chamber board. His company’s signature charity, the HOPE Program (Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment), partners with schools teaching students to grow herbs and build restaurant careers. He currently employs more special needs individuals than any other Alabama company. Richards received the Down Syndrome of Alabama’s Champion Award in 2014. He also received the Large Employer Award presented by the National Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) in 2015. 

John Stewart
Stewart is president of the University of Montevallo. Stewart combines a background teaching English, working in private industry and working in university administration to lead UM. He also served as vice president for institutional advancement at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Stewart earned his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University, his master’s from Washington College and his Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi. As UM president, he has raised the school’s national profile in academics, sports and enrollment and guided the school’s $20 million campaign to 85 percent of its goal.

Wayne Vickers
Vickers is superintendent of Alabaster City Schools. He has more than 28 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in public school districts throughout Alabama. In Alabaster, he has directed a strategic plan, gained AdvancED District Accreditation and led a $100 million construction project. Vickers is an adjunct professor of school law at the University of West Alabama.

Meeting Match Makers

“I love to be able to show our city to organizations that haven’t been to Mobile,” says the CVB’s Amy Angermeier. “Once we get them here, they love it.” Photo by Mike Kittrell

Attracting conference organizers to Alabama is a constant courtship by Convention and Visitors’ groups across the state, which tout attractions and calculate benefits to add to the allure of the city. With big bureaus like Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, the challenge is for a city to find its way to the planner’s shortlist, and then these regions of Alabama showcase their unique appeal to close the deals.

Waterfront Welcome

In Mobile, the enticement of a coastal venue makes the city an easy sell once planners are privy to its myriad attractions and the efforts the CVB staff make to accommodate needs, says Amy Angermeier, vice president of sales, Mobile Convention and Visitors Bureau, part of the city’s Visit Mobile.

“We offer unique incentives in bidding on business in order to compete with other cities,” Angermeier says. “We want meeting planners and decision-makers to understand that Visit Mobile is an extension of them…. We are here to save them time and save them money.”

To highlight Mobile’s desirability, the CVB offers incentives — travel help for planners, perhaps a donation to a charity that a visiting group supports or VIP tickets to attractions.

Sites like USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park are available for planners to tour, as well as outings on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Visit Mobile also offers monetary incentives based on specific room nights booked and exhibit space, and the organization throws the weight of its marketing support behind conferences with social media support and website links.

To make an event memorable, the city can call on its Azalea Trail Maids or the Battleship’s Ship Mate Crew to welcome and guide guests.

While the conventional path is a reception at the hotel, some groups prefer unique settings for luncheons and outings, such as the battleship, the golf course, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico and The Steeple on St. Francis, a century-old church refurbished as an entertainment venue.

“Depending on the time of year, we always let them know the convention center is on the water, and it’s beautiful to hold a meeting overlooking the bay,” Angermeier says. Conference planners can rent a boat to offer attendees a break from meetings.

Like other CVBs, Visit Mobile holds sales blitzes throughout the country with Professional Convention Management Association and Meeting Professionals International, organizations active with meeting planners.

“I love to be able to show our city to organizations that haven’t been to Mobile,” Angermeier says. “Once we get them here, they love it.”

Capital Cool

Keely Smith, director of sales at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitor Bureau, says incentives vary depending on the size of a group, among other factors.

“If a group has 1,000 total room nights, we would look at ways we could help pay for some of their costs at the convention center or full-service hotels,” Smith says.

Smith and members of her team gather meeting specs, get options from hotels and share that plus more about Montgomery with meeting planners.

“We’ve had three different sets of planners in the last week, and they all talked about how compact our convention center district is,” Smith says. “They can park their cars at any of our full-service hotels, and they have access to our entertainment center, full of restaurants, nightlife, bars and attractions, all within a mile to two miles of the convention center.”

The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened in April 2018, is becoming an increasingly popular attraction for the capital city.

“You can walk through eight acres of beautiful landscape to experience a memorial to those who lost their lives,” Smith says.

“We also have excellent special event venues and offsite activities for welcome receptions or closing banquets,” Smith says. “Steps away from the convention center, you can walk over to warehouses that have been … converted into cool and unique meeting space.”

Alley Station, in the heart of Montgomery, has ballroom space to accommodate 300, a rooftop venue to accommodate 200 and revamped warehouse space to accommodate 330. The rooftop terrace epitomizes the CVB’s catch phrase of “Capital Cool” with open-air space bringing a modern feel. Central, 129 Coosa, a renovated 1895 grocery warehouse, overlooks the Alley entertainment district, offering reception and meeting space.

“We have half a dozen options to accommodate groups from 30 to 350, all right in the entertainment district,” Smith says. “Another plus is the Convention Center is attached to the Renaissance Hotel and Spa with 346 rooms. Visitors don’t have to leave to go to general sessions, workshops and breakout sessions.”

“Our visitors enjoy the history related to Montgomery being the capital during the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement,” Smith says. “We have the Alabama Department of Archives and History, a comprehensive museum that takes people from the early days of Alabama, all the way to current time.”

Smith says the cuisine is one of the city’s important attractions.

“We have diverse cuisine, and when we bring planners in, one thing they comment about is how much they eat and how great the food is,” Smith says.

Meeting planners visit every month, she says. “Once we get them in and show them around, the chances of booking them go from 80 to 90 percent. They love how quaint it is and how new it all is. Everything that has happened has been in the last 10 years.”

“We are slowly changing the perception of Montgomery and Alabama, and we love to bring people to show them we are a forward-thinking city with incredible chefs and meeting options,” Smith says. “We are a really dynamic city on the move.”

Magic City

Michael Gunn, senior vice president of sales for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, is equally passionate about what Birmingham has to offer. The Magic City’s CVB is an economic development arm of Birmingham, and Gunn considers his mission to go forth and find organizations to bring back home.

When event planners express interest, the CVB brings them in to tour attractions and experience restaurants.

“We want to know what the customer is looking for,” Gunn says. “If they are looking for more of a resort atmosphere, they might find a property like Ross Bridge Resort more appealing than being downtown at the Sheraton. If they want an area with lots of shopping, they might be more interested in the Hyatt at the Galleria. If they are having a large expo, we would send them to the BJCC.”

Gunn likes to show off Birmingham’s unique attractions, including Barber Motorsports and Museum, the Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Vulcan Park, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark and more.

“We just had a group here, CMP Conclave, and about 200 of that group were meeting planners for other organizations,” Gunn says. “We took them to an opening reception at Sloss Furnaces, where they had an opportunity to find out about the history. At the end of the conference, we visited the Civil Rights Institute and gave them another perspective. Some wanted to visit Barber’s Museum. Some went to the Birmingham Museum of Art and some of the other attractions. That’s like making 200 sales calls at once. Opportunities don’t come along too often, so we try to lay out the red carpet. It’s a real coup to be able to do that.”

Gunn has lived in the Birmingham area for 20 years and loves giving people a new perspective on a city they might have had preconceived ideas about.

“Some people have the Civil Rights history of the city as the impression locked in their minds,” he says. “And they think it’s a flat little country town. When they get here and see the hills and the metropolitan area and understand how different it is, they realize it’s a totally different city than they had envisioned.”

Gunn is particularly proud of the food scene and award-winning chefs Frank Stitt, Chris Hastings and others who make Birmingham a favorite among foodies.

Gunn likes to point out unique appeals like the largest Wedgwood collection in the world at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the sports medicine scene that brings famous athletes to the city for treatment and the convenience to airports and interstates.

And for millennials, the city offers breweries, clubs and more. “This is a happening place for them,” says Gunn.

Rocket City

Visit Huntsville and you can dine under a Saturn V moon rocket at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center to be sure. But the city has much more to offer than just its space history, says Jamie Koshofer, vice president of conventions at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“People are surprised at what we have to offer here in North Alabama,” Koshofer says. “We’re a big tech city. Cummings Research Park is the second largest research park in the country. We have a beautiful, walkable downtown area, a great brewery scene, a museum and restaurants, bars and shops in the downtown area.”

Koshofer says a group of 6,500 can take over the whole city, giving convention-goers their own community.

The city is also adding to its inventory. Downtown will include 106 Jefferson Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton, offering easy access to Huntsville highlights such as The Garage at Clinton Row retail center, The Avenue shops, Big Spring Park, CityCentre at Big Spring, Von Braun Civic Center and the Huntsville Museum of Art.

The Von Braun center is currently renovating and expanding, adding a music hall and additional meeting space, including a new 35,000-square-foot ballroom and 14,000 feet of breakout meeting space.

“We have a renaissance happening in the downtown area with restaurants, shops and bars coming to the area,” he says. “If you don’t want to stay downtown, we have two great hotels right next to the space and rocket center.

The Westin at Bridge Street Town Centre, an upscale shopping center at Cummings Research Park, includes an outdoor shopping and entertainment area. Abundant off-site locations include Camps No. 805, a former school that houses two craft breweries, shops and restaurants.

Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment Center is an art studio complex, one of the largest privately owned arts facilities in the U.S., including working studios, performance venues and more than 200 artists.

“The great thing about the convention center is there’s no tax or gratuities,” Koshofer says. “That’s an incentive for groups to come and save potentially 30 percent. We participate in a lot of different trade shows around the country — corporate trade shows, government trade shows — we’re competing with every big city in the Southeast and want to be sure we are represented. We go out and tell our story about how great Huntsville is.”

Cara Clark and Mike Kittrell are freelance contributors to Business Alabama. She is based in Birmingham and he in Mobile.

Company Kudos, February 2019

Auburn University has been designated an R1 research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which highlights the university’s high level of research activity. Above, Amal Kaddoumi, left, a professor in Auburn’s Department of Drug Discovery and Development, works with graduate research assistant Sweilem Al Rihani investigating oleocanthal, a molecule in extra-virgin olive oil, as a novel preventative treatment for Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Atlas Senior Living has experienced rapid growth in 2018, with an 88 percent total occupancy across its 423 units. Two communities achieved 100 percent occupancy and two more maintained it for 11 of 12 months.

BBB Industries, of Daphne, has partnered with TFI Envision Inc. to win a Connecticut Art Directors Club Award of Excellence  and a dotCOMM Gold Award for its OE Overhaul advertising campaign and an American Graphic Design Award for its NAPA Power Premium Plus Trilingual Packaging.

Faulkner University Jones School of Law was named a 2018 MGM Impact Maker by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

Interstate Billing Service has surpassed $2 billion of invoices in a single year, best in the company’s 35-year history. Interstate Billing, a subsidiary of Bank Independent, has 125 employees in Decatur.

Robins & Morton has received six Excellence in Construction awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama. In addition, the company received the Building Star Award for its work in Raleigh, North Carolina from the North Carolina Department of Labor.

Staggs Grocery, a family-run eatery in Florence, won Simply Southern TV’s Bama’s Best Breakfast contest.

Trustmark celebrated its 129th anniversary in December with a Month of Thanks and Week of Giving, presenting $25,000 to community organizations in its five-state area. Alabama recipients are Valiant Cross Academy, United Way of Southwest Alabama and the Birdie Thornton Center.

Tuskegee University’s accreditation has been reaffirmed for 10 years. The university also ranked in the top 25 degree producers in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s annual ranking.

Wilkins Miller has been named to the Best Accounting Firms for Women by Accounting Today for a second consecutive year.

The Princeton Review’s 2019 best business schools ranking places Auburn University‘s online MBA program at no. 13 in the nation for a second consecutive year. This ranking comes on the heels of the recent Poets & Quants listing of Auburn’s Harbert College of Business as no. 2 in its ranking of Best Online MBA Programs of 2019.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Under the direction of 15 faculty investigators, scientists have published more than 650 research papers, made discoveries in numerous areas, diagnosed close to 200 children with unexplained developmental delays and opened the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine, the first stand alone genomics clinic. In addition the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center has sequenced more than 110 organisms and the Genomic Sequencing Lab has processed more than 400 terabytes of raw DNA sequence each month.

Southeast Health is celebrating its first year of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedures. During this year, it has completed approximately 40 of these non-surgical valve replacement procedures.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Psychology increased its federally funded research expenditures by 12 percent from 2016-2017, totaling more than $4.9 million, according to the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey for 2017.

The United States Sports Academy‘s accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has been reaffirmed for another 10 years. It is America’s only freestanding accredited sports university.

Tuskegee Spotlights Homegrown Icons Hurston, Ellison, Murray

Albert Murray

A two-year grant totaling nearly $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities will help Tuskegee University faculty produce curriculum, digital humanities resources and community engagement activities focused on three black authors with ties to Alabama.

The grant, “Literary Legacies of Macon County and Tuskegee Institute: Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and Albert Murray,” among the newest NEH-funded digital projects, preserved collections and humanities initiatives on college campuses.

The project will connect students to these literary and cultural icons, each of whom is connected biographically and artistically to Macon County, Tuskegee University and HBCUs. Dr. Adaku Ankumah, a professor of English and chair of the Department of Communication, Modern Languages and Philosophy, is leading the effort.

“By studying the works of and engaging with scholars knowledgeable about these pre-eminent authors who helped document the racial struggles of the 20th century, students will be able to understand and contextualize 21st century challenges in culture and society,” Ankumah says.

The project also will include workshops for teachers and outreach programs for the community. It will leverage the resources of the Tuskegee University Library System, which includes the university archives and museums, as well as its recently established Arthur Murray collection, “Beyond Category,” which celebrates the work of the 1939 Tuskegee University graduate.

The Tuskegee grant is the largest of three grants awarded to Alabama universities. It is one of 253 humanities grants totaling $14.8 million awarded by NEH in December 2018.

Fuel-Delivery Service Launches in Birmingham

FuelFox CEO Ben Morris believes there’s a faster way to gas up.

The nation’s first gas station opened in November 1913 at Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, according to automotive history. Presumably, the restrooms were too dirty to use by early December.

Now an onsite fuel-delivery service based in Birmingham hopes to erase the inconveniences and unpleasantry of gas station chores from your life. FuelFox Founder and CEO Ben Morris recently launched the new app for iOS and Android mobile devices to both fleet services and individual memberships.

Through the app, users can become registered members of FuelFox to schedule future tank fill-ups at dedicated locations — known as “Fox Spots” — throughout the Birmingham area. The company’s weekly fueling schedules can be found on the app and website.

FuelFox services “Fox Spots” on a schedule on the same day and same time each week.  Members receive reminder notifications the night before and the day of notifying them that FuelFox will be at their preferred “Fox Spot” that day. Members do not need to be present during service calls. Windshields are cleaned, tire treads and pressure checked, and members are notified of any potential issues with their vehicle.

FuelFox members pay a $20 monthly subscription fee, plus the AAA average gas price for the county. The individual membership allows for four fill-ups per month. Family membership fees are $40 per month for up to five individuals on a plan.

Sweet Tea Domination: Milo’s Expands

Milo’s has branched out in recent years by offering new flavors, including ever-popular peach.

The company founded by Milo and Bea Carlton in Birmingham has expanded again, as Milo’s Tea Company moved 50 positions from accounting, finance, sales, marketing and administration to a second office in Homewood’s Lakeshore Park Plaza.

Now a certified women-owned business, Milo’s will be a perfect fit in Homewood, according to CEO Patricia Wallwork, who praised the town’s amenities. The company’s Bessemer plant will remain the primary location for brewing, filling and shipping Milo products.

“In 2018, we doubled our production workforce to meet increased demand. As we look to the future, we are excited to continue this significant growth and our new Homewood location provides much needed office space in an area attractive to current and future employees,” Wallwork says.

Milo Carlton first brewed tea in his restaurant in 1946. Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea is now the number one selling refrigerated tea in the U.S. Milo’s products fill shelves in more than 13,000 retail locations across 45 states.

400 Ways to Celebrate the Bicentennial

MoonPie over Mobile New Year’s Eve Celebration. Photo courtesy of mobile.org

Mobile’s MoonPie has dropped, New Year’s Eve tradition that it is, but there are still hundreds of other events planned in 225 cities and towns to mark Alabama’s bicentennial year.

Some of the events are quiet and humble; others will blare through the streets. One happens Feb. 23 on the state’s highest land, when bands and choirs will mark the release of a U.S. Postal Service Bicentennial stamp on Mount Cheaha. Shortly after that, the party moves to Constitution Village, where legislators crafted Alabama’s first constitution.

“From small towns to big cities, the bicentennial is going to have an enormous impact during 2019,” says Jay Lamar, executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.

On March 30, Tuscaloosa will hold The Bicentennial Bash, a celebration in the heart of downtown, featuring Alabama entertainers, food trucks, fireworks and a kids’ zone.

President James Monroe, who signed a congressional resolution in December 1819 admitting Alabama as the 22nd state, made a surprise visit to Alabama months earlier. There will be a re-enactment of Monroe’s visit to Huntsville on June 1 at Constitution Village.

From July 15-20, Huntsville and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s role in landing a man on the moon with a variety of events, including a July 16 attempt to break the Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously at 8:32 a.m. — the exact time of the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. In addition there will be a July 16 celebration dinner featuring Apollo astronauts and a July 20 concert.

From Sept. 11-15, there will be a Ride Alabama 200 “Civil Rights Ride.”  In all there will be three designated cycling routes that will take riders to historic sites throughout the state, including this four-day Civil Rights Trail ride spanning 200 miles and more than 50 historic sites.

Dec. 13-15 will mark the culmination of the bicentennial in Montgomery with parades, fireworks, music and the dedication of Bicentennial Park.

A complete schedule of events is available at ALABAMA200.org.

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