Regardless of what your vacation checklist consists of, we have invigorating outdoors, amazing cultural sights, mouth-watering food and Southern hospitality all wrapped into one amazing destination. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing overnight getaway or for a one of a kind adventure, Calhoun County is the natural attraction.
Known as the "friendliest campus in the south," Jacksonville State University welcomes home the Gamecocks this October for Homecoming! Complete with parades, tailgates and activities, campus is buzzing for Hoco 2017!
- Harvest Festival - 4:30-7 p.m.
Families are invited to bring their children to trick or treat the quad.
- J-Day - 2-6 p.m.
Come out to the Theron Montgomery Building Lawn for this field day of relay races, music and free food
- Homecoming Pep Rally - 8 p.m.
Join us as we crown the 2017 Homecoming King and Queen. Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.
October 28 - Gamecock Gallop 5K - 8 a.m. - - Homecoming Parade - 10:30 a.m. - - Football Game - 3 p.m. -
Gamecock Football vs. Southeast Missouri, with a halftime presentation of Alumni of Year and Homecoming Court winners.
There's so much more, so make plans Gamecock Fans!
It's October, and Fall Fests are in full swing. OxfordFest always kicks off the month, the first Saturday of each October, shutting down Historic Downtown Oxford, bringing in hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors. This annual arts and crafts festival also features like music, food, kids activities and fun for all ages. Cheaha State Park hosts their annual Chili Cook-off, aka "Chill-o-ween" and Salsa Challenge. At the Bald Rock Lodge, to go along with the tasty treats, there will be folk music, storytelling, haunted hikes, games, crafts and more. The Anniston Museum of Natural History also hosts an annual Fall Fest. This year's fest features the museums "creepy crawlers," the Sensory Safari, a haunted Bird of Prey Trail, face painting, hay rides, costume contests and more!
Fall also means it's time for the Coldwater Mountain FatTire Fest, featuring demo bikes, beer garden, poker ride, vendors, guided rides, and more!
From JSU Football to OPAC and Knox Concert performances and much more, October is packed with excitement!
For 60 years, as football season approaches, the echos of the drumline signal the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners are ready to take the field. Some locals "sneak" into practice to admire the sound of around 500 musicians, color guard and marching ballerinas, or drive around town with their windows down to take in the sounds of the Southerners.
Although the first band for JSU was formed around 1923, and the first full time band director did not start until 1948, in the fall of 1956, the Marching Southerners and Ballerinas made their official debut.
The Marching Southerners' unique sound reminds one more of a orchestra than a typical marching band. Their unique sound is packed with trumpets, bass trombones and 20-J tubas. Their look is military-like in precision and artistic in formations.
The Marching Southerners have played in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and on the U.S.S. Missouri for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Crowds rise to their feet in applause after each and every performance. Once you see them perform, in person, you'll understand why they're regarded as one of the best marching bands in the land.
Calhoun County is blessed to have the longest paved rail
to trail project in the US running through its heart, connecting the cities of Piedmont,
Jacksonville, Weaver and Anniston. Cities like Anniston and Oxford are
developing bike share plans that include bike routes and lanes. In the meantime, you can see much of our County while staying on your bike.
Our part of the trail picks up 13 miles outside Piedmont at the State Line, where it connects
to Georgia's Silver Comet trail leading into Smyrna.
The City of Piedmont maintains this entire section, which
wanders through and along the edge of the Talladega National Forest and
includes beautiful views of Terrapin Creek, intersects with the Pinhoti Hiking
Trail and surrounds you with picturesque landscapes including Dugger Mountain. As you enter Piedmont, trail users frequent
the Eubanks Welcome Center, for the facilities or the hospitality and history
one finds there. The trail runs through Piedmont's quaint downtown, which
includes the infamous Solid Rock Cafe, with it's delicious occasional Sunday
buffet, menu favorites like Chicken Salad, and the always refreshing Powerade
Continuing for about ten miles, trail users make their
way to Jacksonville, via Germania Springs Park. The trail then enters the
campus of Jacksonville State University, just a few hundred yards from many
notable restaurants like Cooter Brown's Rib Shack, Effina's, Java Jolt and much
more! Along the trail, the Jacksonville Train Depot, much like Eubanks, is another
stop that trail users frequent for facilities and may be asked to sign in for tracking trail visitors.
Making their way to the south, trail users pass the
Jacksonville Community Center, Jacksonville's Kitty Stone Elementary and
Jacksonville High, before entering Weaver. Near the community center as well as
the schools, users will notice trail spurs for locals to use in safely
accessing the trails. As they cross Weaver's Main Street, users will notice
Elwell Park, complete with parking adjacent to Weaver's Police Station, a great
trail head if trail users plan to leave their car over night.
While the trail currently goes a short distance into
Anniston, plans have been developed to continue the trail to what was once Fort
McClellan via a spur as well as completing the old rail-bed to the downtown
area, connecting users to Amtrak's Cresent Line Route in Anniston as well as
the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trails.
In addition, as one may notice on Strava and other route tracking
apps, there are also several road routes area cyclist frequent, including the Dugger
Mountain Wilderness, DeArmanville and Golden Springs, Skyline Drive at Cheaha
State Park and much more.
The Chief is a family oriented pathway that wanders 33 miles through the countryside of Calhoun and Cleburne counties and it connects the municipalities of Piedmont, Jacksonville, Weaver and Anniston. Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail
Coldwater Mountain is a series of flow trails designed and built by the International Mountain Biking Association. The current more than 35 miles of trail can be accessed via Coldwater Road or Monsanto Road. Terrapin Creek
White Oak Vineyards, producer of Southern Oak Wines, is located in beautiful Choccolocco Valley near Anniston and I-20, offering tastings each weekend. Blackberry Hill Alpacas This 60 acre farm also has a gift shop and opens for field trips and more!
You've got your typical dinner and a movie, but what are some fun unique date night alternatives? Test Your Team One of the newest attractions in Oxford is Escape Zone, a 60 minute escape room. How long will it take your team to solve the clues and breakout? It's a good way to test how well you work with others, too. Seats for a Show Between the Knox Concert Series and the Oxford Performing Arts Center, Broadway and Grammy talent takes the stage, bringing world renowned talent to our back yard. Enjoy Events This fall includes great events like Sudsfest and JSU football, which make for an entertaining time with food and fun! Don't know what you want to eat? We've got a great list of diverse culinary choices constantly being updated at www.VisitCalhounCounty.com.
weekend, the town of Hobson City celebrated its 118th Founders Day. Founded on
August 16, 1899, Hobson City is the oldest incorporated African American city
in Alabama and the third oldest in the United States.
the time prior to its founding, Hobson City was known as the Mooree Quarter of Oxford, and its African American citizens were allowed to vote in city and county elections. After an
African American justice of the peace was elected in a municipal election, the
boundaries were redrawn to leave the settlement in the county.
years later, citizens petitioned to become their own municipality. Today, the
town continues to celebrate the accomplishment of their determined founders
with a Heritage Festival, this year featuring presentations from the University
of Alabama and UNC Chapel Hill, as well as the town's annual 5K.
County has a rich civil rights history, stories of a few brave citizens defending the
rights of many. Just a few miles away, the newly declared Freedom Riders National
Monument and Civil Rights trails recount these moments in history. From the moving images of the bus burning
and violence surrounding the Freedom Riders to the stories of local citizens
standing up for equal rights for all and a city responding, Calhoun County is
honored to recognize the bravery and courage these citizens displayed to
achieve all they did.
Truly, as long as there aren't many clouds in the sky,
you can see it anywhere, but with around 90% totality, Calhoun County has some places that are hosting eclipse events!
Business like Floors to Go in Anniston are hosting
celebrations with FREE viewing glasses, food, t-shirts and hats, beginning at 12
Noon on Monday.
JSU's School of Science is hosting a viewing party on the
lawn at TMB. Solar glasses, water and shade will be provided for the public!
The Oxford Public Library is also hosting a viewing
party, complete with solar glasses, as supplies last, or a viewing of NASA's
Make sure to secure your certified solar glasses before
you decide to step outside and gaze at the sky! NASA also has "how to's" for making your own Solar Viewing Projector, if you couldn't secure the glasses.
Looking for the perfect backdrop? Look no further than
city walls turned to canvases for artists, from near and far.
Garden Scene, Oxford
Tucked in an alley off Main Street, where Choccolocco
comes to a T, this "Garden Scene" looks reminiscent of Italy or
Greece, especially with Sarah Cavender Metalworks' blue door next door.
Anniston's Mural Trail
While Anniston has begun a mural trail throughout the
historic downtown area, in the alleys behind the Classic and the Peerless,
visitors will find various hand-painted masterpieces from local artists,
including the newly designated Freedom Riders National Monument Mural off
Gurnee Avenue, commissioned by the Spirit of Anniston.
At Jacksonville High School's Football Stadium, one will
find a tribute to veterans, an American flag waving in the wind, visible from
hometown hero Ben Tomlinson's new smart house.
Riders along the Ladiga Trail know they've reached
Piedmont by the visible mural just off the trail and Main Street, and next to the
famous Solid Rock Cafe, visitors can also find an alley of artistic works, from
Einstein to the Beatles.
Once you've snapped a pic, let us "tag" along
with #VisitCalhounCo or #IGoCalCo!
arts scenes, events and venues, Calhoun County has many talented artists,
whether musicians, painters, photographers, writers or other art forms. Various
groups allow these artists to collaborate and develop works and events together
to make Calhoun County a great place to work, live and visit.
This group of artists has partnered with businesses, the
City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville State to create events and created a
community innovative and collaborative artists to build opportunities to show
works, share resources, and support projects of others.
This group was created to coordinate and assist with cultural activities and develop outlets for arts in the Jacksonville Community. These artists and those passionate about arts organize historical, craft and community events that showcase local talent.
organization is a "catalyst" for creative economy, implementing
socially engaged art and projects that respond to challenges in the community,
leverage the creativity of citizens, and aim to create opportunity.
This organization of artists and art supporters bring together those in and around Oxford to create special events, competitions, collaborations, community programs and promote artists, musicians, actors, dancers and writers in the community.
group works with the goal of promoting local artists and introducing the
artists to the community and together to create. From free music events to festivals and more, this group organizes community activities.
As the back to school time nears, check some family fun
off your bucket list.
In case of rain:
Looking for something educational and fun, look no
further than the Anniston Museums and Gardens. Explore the earth; see a safari
and mummies at the Anniston Museum of Natural History.
More of a history buff? Explore the collections of spies
and collectors at the Berman Museum of World History, with evens Greek Helmet
more than 2000 years old.
With all the rain we've had lately, water levels are up
and perfect for floating Terrapin. In so areas, you barely have to paddle. Pull
off on the shoals, take a picnic or a swim, and spend the day on the creek. No Worries Kayak will take care of you!
Go out for a spin!
Local trails are great for the whole family! From easy,
car free, treks, try Ladiga. The trail is relatively flat, with mile markers to
help you remember how far you have to go to get back to your car.
Coldwater's Baby Bear trail is great for beginners, with
wider paths, difficulty options, downhill rolling beginning and slow climb
back. If cycling isn't your thing, it's only a mile loop, if you stay right,
and all the trails are great for walking.
Put your family to the test!
Get those critical thinking skills going again and
challenge the family to Escape Zone. See if you can solve all the clues and
breakout in under an hour! It will get your brain and your heart going; plus,
it makes everyone work together.
If you're a teacher dreading going back or a parent
overwhelmed from the summer, take some time away at one of our local wineries, like White Oak.
Each sell onsite and offer tasting of both sweet and dry local wines! Uncork
the bottle and unwind!
If you're opting for a staycation, try a new restaurant,
stay in a local hotel and play in our great parks! Some allow fishing! Some
have pools and splash pads! Some have Boundless playgrounds, perfect for
One staple associated with the south, after all it's mentioned in the first ten minutes of "Gone with the Wind," is barbecue. The slow cooking of smoking with indirect heat and grill is packed with flavor. Calhoun County is home to many barbecue havens, all with their own flavors, styles and sauces.
Cooter Brown's Rib Shack 8464 Alabama Hwy 204, Jacksonville AL 35265 - 256-435-1514Alabama's 100 Dishes to eat before you die has its share of BBQ, including Cooter Brown's Ribs. Don't let the little shack deceive you. They also have Hillbilly Egg Rolls, a tribute to Carolina BBQ.
There's one place that can completely capture those "skies so blue," Cheaha State Park. Home to Alabama's Highest Point and the JSU Mountain Center, the park also hosts hiking trails, including the Pinhoti, mountain bike trails, a handicap accessible walkway to Bald Rock, an observation tower at the highest point, campgrounds, cabins and chalets for rent, a motel and restaurant, museums and so much more!
Towering 2,407 feet above sea level, Creek Indians named this spot "Chaha," or high place, with views that seem to go on forever in the heart of the surrounding Talladega National Forest. Surrounded by natural beauty, this location is perfect for a picnic, photographs and events. There are so many recreational opportunities! Come enjoy tranquility and stand in awe of the surroundings.
Cheaha State Park also offers tons of programs for the whole family. From Pottery and Basket Weaving to campfire talks and discovery hikes, Cheaha has something for everyone. *Make time to check out the Pulpit Rock Trail. Complete with Native American Trail Marker Tree Points, this short but steep walk offers the most rewarding view overlooking the lake and national forest.
Adventure is waiting! Learn more at VisitCalhounCounty.com!
Come scout and discover future baseball stars during the Dixie Youth Little League World SeriesAugust 4 through 10 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. August 4th, 36 teams will participate in skills competitions and the World Series Opening Ceremonies. Tournament play will begin August 5th. Choccolocco Park is an outdoor sports complex with state-of-the-art amenities for baseball, softball, track and field, and soccer. The park also has three walking paths that go around the historic Indian mound, a 30-acre lake, and plenty of green space in between, that connect for a total of 2.7 miles. With amenities for every person in your family, including a Boundless Playground to include children of all abilities, Choccolocco Park welcomes you to come and enjoy our facilities to their fullest extent. Located just off Leon Smith Parkway near the Oxford Exchange and Commons, the park trails feature interpretive plaques capturing the history of the 19th century Muscogee (Creek) Nation that called Choccolocco home. Come discover this diamond of Calhoun County and all of its treasures. From delicious food to outdoor and cultural adventures, we've got it all and more! Check out VisitCalhounCounty.com! Adventure Awaits!
Summertime is the perfect time to take advantage of the great paddling adventures Calhoun County has to offer. There are many exciting places to hit the water, but remember, safety first! Keep these five tips in mind for a safe and fun trip.
1. Wear a life jacket!
There have been multiple instances of drowning in Alabama this year, most could have been prevented if the individual was wearing a life jacket. Alabama law requires all children under the age of 8 to wear a life jacket while on the water. Although this law is aimed towards children, people of all ages should be wearing a life jacket at all times while in the water. This one piece of equipment, often overlooked, could mean the difference between life and death.
2. Take a course
Before beginning a water adventure, it is encouraged that first time paddlers take a safety course. There are many skilled instructors around the county that can teach paddlers basic safety and directional skills to make the trip easier to enjoy.
The Cheaha Canoe Club has classes for beginners and more skilled paddlers. This class is led by certified American Canoe Association instructors and requires an RSVP, as they only take small groups at a time.
Kids ages 9-18 can join the 4-H River Kids program. This program is designed to give kids the opportunity to acquire paddling skills, learn about ecology, and water safety.
3. Never paddle alone
It is important to never get on the water by alone. In the event of an emergency, having an extra person to call for help or administer first aid can be very helpful. Plus, it’s always nice to share the adventure and beautiful scenery with a friend!
4. Know where you’re going
Be sure to make sure the area you’re paddling is appropriate for your skill level. Beginners should stick with Class I rapids, where the water is moving but still easy to manage. Review maps and trails to ensure you don’t end up in water that you cannot navigate.
5. Plan ahead
Check the weather conditions. Be aware of water and weather temperatures. If there is low visibility or fog, stay off the water. Check water levels. If the water levels are too high, it can be very dangerous. The currents may be too heavy and debris may clog up the rivers.
Wedding season is upon us, which means many couples in Calhoun County are looking for the perfect place to say “I do.” The scenic views surrounding Calhoun County give couples a beautiful backdrop for their special day. We spoke with garden enthusiast turned wedding floral designer Kathryn Bowen of Kathryn Anne Weddings to find her picks for the best scenic wedding venues in the county. Long Leaf Botanical Gardens & Event Center
Tucked away behind the Berman Museum and the Anniston Museum of Natural History, The Long Leaf Botanical Gardens & Event Center offers a space for couples wanting a quiet and intimate wedding venue.
There are options for either an outside ceremony, surrounded by a beautiful garden, or an indoor ceremony using the elegant event center. The gardens are still in progress, so this venue will only become more beautiful as time goes on. To get information on this venue, contact Gina Morey at (256) 237-6261 x325 or email email@example.com.
The Michael Wedding Barn
Formerly The Foundation Ranch, The Michael Wedding Barn is a beautiful venue for couples who want to be surrounded by the beautiful scenery Calhoun County has to offer. This 100 acre farm on Choccolocco Rd in Anniston, AL has many different locations for a ceremony, indoors and outdoors. The newly built, elegant barn holds up to 500 guests, perfect for any unexpected weather situations. For more information on this venue, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page.
Right off HWY 431 in Wellington, AL, the SouthWind Plantation is an elegant venue with stunning views anywhere you look. The 6,000 sq. ft. event barn was built from timber milled from trees that fell during the April 27, 2011 tornadoes that struck the area. This unique barn has two floors and can be used for both ceremonies and receptions. For couples wanting an outside affair, the area by a serene creek and large arbor would be a great option. Email email@example.com for more information or call (256) 453-6323.
This beautiful property in Jacksonville, AL is perfect for a classic outdoor affair. With several different areas for both the ceremony and reception, there is an option for everyone. The Main House, The Chapel, and the Cabin serve as a wonderful backdrop for a ceremony. A reception could be held in The Garden, the General Store, or The Cabin. Fiddler’s Green can accommodate up to 250 guests outside and 65 guests inside the chapel. For those interested, couples are welcome to use several antique decorations at no extra cost. To get more information on this unique venue visit www.fiddlersgreenalabama.com/weddings-receptions/.
Cider Ridge Golf Club
Located in Oxford, AL, this is an ideal venue for those wanting an intimate wedding. The newly renovated clubhouse can seat up to 60 guests inside and up to 80 guests outside. The 2 adjoining rooms and outdoor patio overlook the 18th hole and give guests the ultimate view of the mountains. The Cider Ridge Golf Club offers on-site catering, custom menu and wine selections, and bridal and groomsmen party gold packages. For more information, visit www.ciderridgegolf.com/weddings/ or call (256) 861-7222.
Wanting to bring the outdoors inside? Kathryn uses local greenery and flowers to incorporate the lush Alabama scenery into her designs, often times using flowers out of her own garden. Whether the bride is looking for more of a rustic look using wood and ferns, or a more elegant look with local flowers, any theme can use what Alabama has to offer. To get more information on Kathryn Anne Weddings, visit her website: http://kathrynanneweddings.com/ or check out her work on Instagram and Facebook
While summertime in Calhoun County is beautiful, the weather can be unpredictable. While speaking with Kathryn, she mentioned the importance of having a “Plan B” ahead of time. If couples are planning on an outdoor wedding, it is important to also plan for an inside affair either by renting a tent for guests, or checking with the venue to see what options are available. This should be done well in advance in order to avoid stress during the special day.