Friday, September 28, 2018

October Occurances

Halloween is not the only major event in October for the Calhoun County area, and we are not talking about a couple trunk or treats.
Saturday, October 6th the Big Brothers Big Sister Run for Kids’ Sake 5k will occupy the YMCA in Coosa Valley. There is a $25 dollar entry fee, registration begins at 7 am.
Saturday, October 13th, the 3rd Annual Fall Fest hosted by the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum.  The festival will have a petting zoo, an appearance by the Anniston and White Plains Fire Departments, a bouncy house, and face paintings. Visitors will have the chance to see the Natural History Museum at night, all the lights will be turned off for this special event. Flashlights will be available upon request. All benefits go toward the Museum’s Educational Program. The event will open at 4 pm and tickets go on sale the first day in October.
Thursday, October 18th there will be a production of Wizard of Oz at the Oxford Performing Arts Center. The performance lasts from 7 pm – 10 pm. Tickets are available at  This is the only show time available so get your tickets before they are gone!
Beginning on Friday, October 19th and lasting until Sunday, October 21st, the Cold Water Mountain Fat Tire Festival is taking place. Gates will open at 12 pm on Friday. Be prepared for local food, quality entertainment, and a weekend of mountain biking! Join us for an event filled weekend and really see what Coldwater Mountain has to offer.
Saturday, October 20th at Cheaha State Park the Chill-O-Ween Fest will take place. This event will host a Mountain Chili Competition. There will be folk music by GW Henderson, ghost hikes, autumn fairy houses, storytelling, and so much more. General Admission is $5 dollars at the gate, the chili competition begins at 11:30 am and other activities will begin at 11 am.
Saturday, October 20th the Anniston Museum of Natural History will host Saturday Alive: featuring Creepy Critters.  Join the museum at 11 am to learn about these critters and the importance their role is in our environment.

Saturday, October 27th the Berman Museum is hosting the Berman’s Boo Bash. Kids can’t have all the fun, this night of craft beer tasting, local food sampling, and a new twist of Halloween activities. DJ Lance Johnson will be in attendance to help you dance the night away.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Alpaca Day

Saturday, September 22nd is National Alpaca Day, a day across the country where alpaca farms open to the public to celebrate this holiday. These events usually have shopping vendors, food vendors, and other surprises in store.
Debbie and Hank Merrill own Blackberry Hill Alpacas, a local alpaca farm on Saks Road in Anniston. They are hosting their 6th annual Blackberry Hill Alpacas open house on September 22nd. This former military couple has owned alpacas for 12 years, while their store has been open for 6 years.
In an interview Debbie told us that National Alpaca Day is a big event for their farm, but December through the end of March is the busiest time of year. People often come to the store to buy Christmas presents made of alpaca fiber. Alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic and very thick.
While the products sold at the store are made in Peru, alpacas’ native country, the ladies who craft these products center their entire lives on the business. Located in the high mountain country,  the Peruvian families work together to provide and maintain quality merchandise.
Debbie is always sure to tell first time visitors that alpacas will not spit on you. They spit on each other over food and territory, but they have never spit on a guest. Debbie’s fondness towards alpacas comes from the animals being nice, gentle, calm, but not overly friendly.
The Blackberry Hill Alpacas Open House begins this Saturday at 9 am at 6330 Saks Road, Anniston.
A camel will be at this event along with owls from the Anniston Museum of Natural History. Bring the entire family for a hands-on, memorable experience!

Friday, September 14, 2018

First Signs of Fall

The official calendar stats that fall starts September 22nd, but leading up to that point, the weather begins to get a little cooler (or not), while the days become shorter. People decorate their
houses in the various shades of red and orange, welcoming the change of seasons, but in Jacksonville, Alabama, the town surrounding Jacksonville State University has a different kind of
As a student attending the Friendliest Campus in the South, you can spot the beginning of fall in late August as new and returning Gamecocks start up the semester. The Marching Southerners start to resound around campus, preparing for those marvelous half-time performances. The Ballerinas perfect their kicks, and the Colorguard hold onto their flags a little tighter as they gust in the crisp autumn wind.
Sororities anticipate rush week and the celebrated Bid Day. Fraternities reach out to potential pledges. The Greek Life eagerly waits to welcome individuals into their credited organizations. The various religious activities such RUF, Engage, and the Wesley Foundation begin their weekly services.
Any Jacksonville local will notice the increase in traffic starting the Thursday before kick-off. The Farmer’s Market dwindles down as things go out of season. Repeated season-ticket holders drive into town with their RV’s to park them for the duration of football season. The stores on the Square are packed as everyone tries to find that last minute, perfect game day outfit.
Businesses all around Jacksonville start putting out their “Go Gamecocks” signs in the windows or on their changeable letter signs to show their support of the University. Restaurants prepare for the crowds looking for places to eat (and celebrate) between all the games that occur on the first Football Saturday.
Marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars magically find places beside each other in the grocery store. Halloween decorations take over the seasonal aisles at Wal-Mart, and those fall scented candles go on sale.
As the fall season breaches the city of Jacksonville anyone will find that before Jacksonville Mountain is covered in an array of colors the people are well prepared for the harvest season.

Guest Blogger: Baily Scott  
"My name is Baily Scott, I am a local to the Calhoun County area. I am currently a Senior at Jacksonville State University majoring in Communications with a focus in Public Relations and a minor in English. I enjoy hiking and exploring the outdoors in my spare time. I first became
involved with the Chamber my senior year in high school. Emily Duncan was my mentor, and I credit this experience with narrowing down what path of communications to take. A year and half into my college career I began interning for Main Street Anniston. It was through this opportunity that I once again found myself involved in Calhoun County. As a chance to work with the Chamber of Commerce surfaced just 3 short years after my initial encounter, I sought to continue my involvement. I look forward to working at the Chamber throughout this Fall semester."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

31st OxfordFest

The 31st Oxfordfest will take place Saturday, October 6th, booths open at 8:00 a.m. Teresa Crosson, Secretary on the committee of Oxfordfest, has been with the event for 18 years. Oxfordfest is a non-profit, volunteer based event, the committee that runs it is made up of 7 volunteers. Volunteers are welcomed each year, and this event often assists local college students in logging their needed volunteer hours.

Oxfordfest is an event free to the community that helps bring recognition to the historic downtown Oxford area, with proceeds going to those in need in the Oxford community. There will be a donation booth set up, where monetary donations are equivalent to an entry into the drawing for the grand prize of $1,000 dollars along with various other door prizes.

In an interview, Crosson gave first time attendees some advice:
  • Arrive early because Oxfordfest draws in 30,000 - 40,000 people each year.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. Parking for Oxfordfest has changed this year as well, shuttles from the Quintard Mall will NOT be available, and parking will be as you find it. The footprint of this community event has been remastered to ease foot traffic and to make the overall shopping experience more enjoyable. 
  • Bring money. This year will feature over 300 product vendors, including some of the favorites from the years past and new businesses. 
  • Come hungry. 30 different food vendors with diverse menu options ranging from the classic funnel cake and tacos to BBQ will be participating.
  • Sit back and enjoy. 8 bands are scheduled to perform throughout the day, with headliner Hutch Edwards Project rounding out the afternoon at 3 p.m. 
  • Gather the family and save the date for the 31st Oxfordfest, Saturday, October 6th.