30th Annual Jubilee Festival of Arts Makes Alabama Tourism's Top 10 Events of 2018

The 30th Annual Jubilee Festival of Arts was named in the Alabama Tourism Department's Top 10 Events for 2018. The 10 events in chronological order are the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, performances of Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 50th annual 911 Festival, Birmingham’s Sloss Fest, the Jubilee Festival of Arts, the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the National Shrimp Festival, the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, the GATALOP 35 Renaissance Festival and the 75th anniversary of Dothan’s Annual National Peanut Festival.
The state tourism department selects the top 10 events based upon significant anniversaries and the uniqueness of the event. The events listing is featured in the 2018 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events that is available at the eight state welcome centers, local tourism bureaus and online at www.alabama.travel.  The 204-page magazine-size publication contains colorful photos and covers the state by geographic regions with an introduction section, a city-by-city listing of attractions and accommodations and profiles of the state’s major cities.  The calendar section lists more than 700 annual and special events from across the state. 
There are also features on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the best places to eat, drink or watch the sunset, unique must-visit sites, outdoor adventures and a listing of free smart phone apps from different tourism organizations across the state. 
Below are more details about the top 10 events for 2018:
The Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee
From March 1-5, this annual event celebrates one of the most important events in American’s Civil Rights Movement – the Selma to Montgomery march.  www.selmajubilee.com
Play productions of Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird”
From April 13-May 19 actors from the author’s hometown of Monroeville perform her classic "To Kill a Mockingbird” in the town that helped inspire it.  www.tokillamockingbird.com
The 911 Festival 
On June 1 and 2 Haleyville celebrates its 50th annual 911 Festival, memorializing the first 911 call ever made. www.911festival.org
Sloss Fest
This Birmingham music festival, scheduled for July 14-15, was named by Southern Living as one of the best music festivals in the South. wwwslossfest.com
The 30th annual Jubilee Festival of Arts
The festival, equal parts arts, crafts, food and put Southern charm, is on Sept. 29 and 30 in Daphne. www.eschamber.com
The Alabama Coastal Birdfest
From Oct. 3-6 in Spanish Fort, bird watchers fly in from all over the country to view more than 100 species of migrating birds that are doing the same. www.AlabamaCoastalBirdFest.com
The Annual National Shrimp Festival
This four-day food and music festival that takes place in Gulf Shores from Oct 11-14 attracts more than 250,000 visitors. www.myshrimpfest.com
The Kentuck Festival of the Arts
Crowds flow into Northport on Oct. 20 and 21 for some of the best folk art in the country, along with some of the South’s best storytellers and live music. www.kentuck.org/the-festival
The 35th Annual Renaissance Festival, GATALOP 35
The Oct. 26, 27 festival in Dauphin Island is one of the state’s biggest and best Renaissance fairs. www.dauphinisland.org
Dothan’s 75th Annual National Peanut Festival
The festival, whose first speaker was George Washington Carver, celebrates its 75th anniversary from Nov 2-11.  It attracts about 200,000 visitors with its amusement park rides, animal attractions and concerts. www.nationalpeanutfest.com
The 2018 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events is available at the eight state welcome centers, local tourism bureaus and online at http://www.alabama.travel./

We are Now Taking Nominations for the 2018 Annual Awards

The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce is taking nominations for the 2018 Annual Awards. We need your help to recognize our members who are truly making an impact on the community. We are taking nominations for three awards: Small Business of the Year, Community Leader Award and the Environmental Award. Nominations may be made for any deserving business. Self-nominations are encouraged. Select the nomination form below to enter your nomination by close of business February 7, 2018 .

The award winners will be announced at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Celebration, March 1, 2018 at the Fairhope Airport.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Chamber office at 251-928-6387.

A New Year: Where We've Been & Where We're Going

Some folks ignore the new year; it's just time marching on. However, most folks I know see the New Year as a time to take stock of what was and what they hope to be for the coming year.

As I reflect back on what was, I am proud of the strides we made as a Chamber:

  • Broadening our workforce initiative by connecting businesses and education resources.
  • Changing our fiscal year to the calendar year so we can better serve our members.
  • Enhancing the Jubilee Festival by introducing culinary arts and the Southern Makers demonstration stage.
  • Introducing the Eastern Shore Elf to spotlight Eastern Shore retailers.
  • Conducting a Leaders Exchange trip to New Orleans to gather knowledge, ideas and connect business leaders in our community.
  • Launched our Governmental Affairs Newsletter and Eastern Shore Spotlight.

What's in store for 2018?

  • Launch the Eastern Shore Tourism Ambassador Program.
  • Facilitate the 2018 Baldwin County Job Fair.
  • Continue to further enhance the Jubilee Festival by partnering with the World Food Championships and the performing arts.
  • Continue to promote our business community and nonprofits while connecting them to resources and information.
  • Broaden leadership opportunities for members including Young Professionals and Chamber Ambassadors.

Many thanks to all those who work with and support our efforts to make the Eastern Shore the best place to live, work and do business. I look forward to the opportunity to serve each of you in the coming year.


Leadership Trip to New Orleans Inspires Innovation

NEW ORLEANS, La. - A group of 30 local business leaders joined the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce on a Leaders Exchange to New Orleans, Louisiana, October 22-24 to share ideas and identify ways our local partnerships can work together to help the Eastern Shore prosper. The group was made up of Chamber board members, Leaders Council members, elected officials and committee chairmen.

The delegation first heard from Wiley Blankenship from the Coastal Alabama Partnership who talked about how organizations like the Eastern Shore Chamber are joining forces with other groups across Mobile and Baldwin Counties to push initiatives that will benefit Coastal Alabama. The group then heard from a similar organization in Louisiana, Greater New Orleans Inc. They’re also leveraging their partners to bolster economic development in the region. Other speakers included the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the New Orleans Small Business Alliance.

"Learning more about my fellow business leaders and exploring successful case studies and innovative ideas in New Orleans has been invaluable,” said Mary Mullins Redditt of MPACT Public Affairs Consulting.

The second day of the Leaders Exchange gave the group an opportunity to learn about Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and tour their BizTown, a mock city that gives 5th grade students a hands-on opportunity to learn life skills. Students start the day by taking out a business loan to run restaurants, banks, stores and non-profits. They create a business model and spend the day working to earn enough money to pay off their loan. Students learn how to write checks and pay bills. The Eastern Shore Chamber group got a chance to interact with these students as they vied for their business. This BizTown encouraged the Eastern Shore delegation to think outside the box when it comes to how we foster the Eastern Shore’s upcoming workforce.

"The similar challenges between the two regions are real. The investment in our youth is the ultimate goal, providing alternate routes for success is a common theme,” said Nathan Dunn with Fulcrum Construction.

While the delegation used the better part of each day to learn what initiatives were working and what wasn’t in New Orleans, they also had numerous opportunities to network with each other, building stronger working relationships and partnerships. Each participant was encouraged to spend time during each meal getting to know someone new, as they enjoyed delicious food at Criollo, Ralph’s on the Park, Galatoire’s & a cocktail party at Board Member Jennie Campbell's home.

"This was my first leadership trip and it truly was amazing. We have amazing leaders in our area and this really allowed us to get together to learn, grow and enjoy fellowship,” said Diane Anderson from Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore.

The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Jennie Campbell for her help connecting the delegation with organizations and speakers in New Orleans. Chamber staff and member leaders will now take what they’ve learned back to the Eastern Shore to collaborate on ideas to move the community forward.


The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Parts Ways with the Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival Foundation

The 2018 Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival will be produced by the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival Foundation, and the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will not be involved.

The Chamber worked in collaboration with the newly founded Arts and Crafts Festival Foundation to produce the 2017 festival, and after a successful show the two organizations have decided to part ways.

Since 1953, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce has produced the annual festival with the goal of attracting visitors to come and experience the Eastern Shore. The festival has grown tremendously since those early days and will continue to attract artists and patrons from around the country.

Over the years, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce has used funds generated from the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival to support Chamber initiatives including:

- Supporting the Chamber Foundation’s two workforce development programs Youth Leadership and the Student Training and Exploration Program

- Advancing tourism as an economic driver

- Providing promotional support, networking opportunities and educational workshops for local businesses

- Maintaining a business-friendly environment by providing face to face opportunities to connect with local leaders

"Despite the new fiscal challenge ahead, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will not waiver on our mission to make the Eastern Shore the best place to live, work and cultivate business,” said Chamber President Casey Williams, "We will continue to work each day to find new ways to support our member businesses and meet their needs.”

The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival plays an important role for the City of Fairhope, the Eastern Shore and Coastal Alabama. "We are confident that the festival will continue to be successful,” said Williams, "The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will always support the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, just as the Chamber supports all our local events that benefit the community.”


Eastern Shore Chamber Teams Up with North Baldwin Chamber for Workforce Reception

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (August 24, 2017) - The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce to host a joint Workforce Reception at the North Baldwin Center for Technology which serves Spanish Fort and Daphne High Schools.

The Workforce Reception was a great opportunity to showcase the programs being offered to our local high school students. It also gave our business leaders a chance to tour the facility and get a first hand look at the programs at North Baldwin Center for Technology.

Eastern Shore Chamber Presidents Casey Williams and North Baldwin Chamber Executive Director Ashley Jones Davis addressed the crowd of more than 100 guests, along with Baldwin County Public School Superintendent Eddie Tyler, SFC Todd Jarrell with the Alabama National Guard, and Patty Hughston and Dr. Gary Branch with Coastal Alabama Community College. Each spoke about the importance of technical education and how they're each working to bridge the gap between the business community and our educational institutions.  

We hope that our community and business leaders walked away with a better understanding of the programs offered and how they have an impact on their businesses. We hope to also keep communication open between the business community and school system to ensure that workforce needs are being met.

Thank you to the North Baldwin Center for Technology for being such a welcome host and to the Alabama National Guard for partnering with the local chambers to make the event possible.

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