Archived Story

SunFest is going to be huge

Published 7:58pm Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ann Rye and the folks at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce are smokin’ busy these days. That is to say they’re burning up the roads and the phones. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were leaving smoke trails like the Road Runner that Wile E. Coyote used to chase around on Saturday mornings.

The first-ever SunFest celebration — Ann’s brainchild modeled after a similar event held each year in her hometown — will begin in one month and last for eight days, from Saturday-to-Saturday, July 20-27.

It’s a big, big project and I think it’s exactly the kind of progressive, hometown event that can build community spirit, bring new money to area businesses and promote the place we call home. A perfect chamber of commerce project.

You’ll be hearing much more about SunFest in this newspaper and in a special edition that we will distribute through the July edition of Lake magazine and all five of TPI’s newspapers in Tallapoosa and Elmore counties.

Earlier this week, I saw the complete list of events and thought, “Wow! That’s a huge list … and a lot of work.”

Then Thursday I got a note from Ann adding two more events to the calendar.

Our new chamber president thinks big. And I think Alexander City and the Lake Martin community will be a better place for it.

Here’s just a few of my favorite SunFest events — not the necessarily the biggest — just the coolest, the ones I’m really looking forward to:

ν Glow in the Dark 5K run. Sign me up! The only fittin’ time to run an Alabama race in July is at night, when it’s dark and cool, and Ann said there will be glow-in-the-dark balloons involved.

ν Dog-Gawn Good Parade. I’ve got two dogs that have been professionally trained at great expense to walk on a leash. I think there’s a good chance they’ll be pulling me down the street when it’s filled with other dogs on leashes. I can’t wait to find out if there’s a money-back guarantee on heeling training.

ν Lawn Mower Race and Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. That’s one race I’d definitely lose. I’d have to push my lawnmower because I’m sure it won’t start. But I can up some ground spittin’ seeds.

ν Sunset hike at Smith Mountain. One of my favorite activities any week. Be prepared to sweat on the way up and cool off with a mountaintop breeze.

ν  Jo Dee Messina’s concert. I really like her music. At one time think I knew all words in one of her albums. I missed a chance to see her once before and I won’t miss this one.

ν Russell Lands fireworks show at the end of the concert. What a great finale for the week. The good folks of Alexander City will get two big bangs this year — in the same month. I look forward to the July 4th show all year. This one on July 28 won’t be quite as big, it will be spectacular all the same, and a completely different experience watching from the Sportplex.

That’s my short list. The point is there are so many wildly diverse events scheduled for next month’s SunFest that everybody ought to have a bunch of items on their own short list. I’ll be going to many more, like a block party or two, or an outdoor movie … my short list is already getting long.

Organizing a week packed with public events has got to be a huge task for the chamber folks. If you’ve got some free time and want to help our community, I’m sure Ann would welcome some volunteer labor. Give her a call a 256-234-3461.

And make sure you are in town during the week of July 20-27.

Before its over, I bet your SunFest short list will be long, too.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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