Keeping up with Tensaw: Calhoun County’s tourism draws deserve more statewide attention
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jan 04, 2013 | 2259 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo: Special to The Star
Photo: Special to The Star
Tourists’ attractions, like runway models or GQ-styled men, are subject to consumers’ personal taste. Everybody doesn’t like everything. We get that.

Nevertheless, our curiosity was piqued this week when the Alabama Tourism Department released its list of the top 10 events for 2013. Nothing was a slam dunk, but it wasn’t outside the realm of possibilities that one of Calhoun County’s bigger events would make this statewide compilation.

Count us as disappointed.

Shut out like a bad football team.

As you’d expect, Alabama’s largest metro areas dominated the list. Birmingham/Hoover earned three spots and Mobile was given two. Huntsville took one. Of the rest, they went to places like Tensaw (Fort Mims Massacre’s 200th anniversary), Wetumpka (Christmas on the Coosa) and the Shoals (W.C. Handy Music Festival). The 10th listing was the nebulous “Alabama Restaurant Week,” a statewide event that doesn’t honor a specific location.

If that wasn’t enough, the department’s list of top events for this month gave Calhoun County no love, either. If you’re not in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Guntersville or Brundidge, you’re not on the list.

It’s enough to give one of Alabama’s not-so-metro counties a bit of a tourism complex.

On its website (, the department explains how its staff determines which events are honored. “The tourism department comes up with the list each year and selects the top 10 based upon significant anniversaries, unique events and those with large attendance. Nearly 1,900 events are scheduled around the state for 2013.”

Ah, large attendance. At least we know what we’re up against.

In fairness to the Alabama Tourism Department, its website does list Calhoun County events in its statewide calendar. We’re not totally forgotten. Search “Anniston” and you’ll get 25 listings for events such as the Black Heritage Festival at the Anniston Museum of Natural History (the website calls it just the “Anniston Museum”) and the Longleaf Botanical Gardens, the Woodstock 5K road race and the Noble Street Festival. An “Oxford” search turns up three listings, though one of them is in Birmingham. (Oops.) Search “Jacksonville” and 18 events pop up.

Yet, none of those events made the department’s top events of the year or top events of the month — not even the China National Symphony Orchestra’s appearance at the heralded Knox Concert Series on Jan. 19. We’ll enjoy it, nonetheless.
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