PHOTOS & SOCIAL SHARES | Sippin’ Cider 2017

The Seventh Annual Sippin’ Cider Festival was a huge success on Saturday, December 9th, 2017. Here are some photos and other social shares from the event. A full recap will come next week. 


Seventh Annual Sippin’ Cider Festival – December 9, 2017 – Downtown Athens Ala.

Athens, Ala. – Eat, Sip, and Shop at the Sippin’ Cider Festival in downtown Athens.

Winter’s favorite drink will take center stage in downtown Athens, Ala. the second Saturday in December when Athens Main Street hosts the seventh annual Sippin’ Cider Festival.

The holiday affair, set for December 9, 2017, offers an evening of roasting marshmallows, shopping among local merchants, special activities for children, visits with Santa Claus, and door prize giveaways as festival goers sip on hot cider prepared by downtown merchants.

From 5 to 8 p.m., participating merchants will offer sample tastings of their favorite cider recipe. Guests will vote by ballot for their favorite, and the cider receiving the most votes wins the coveted Cider Cup and bragging rights for the year. The ballots will also serve as an entry to one of many door prizes to be given away.

During Sippin’ Cider, merchants of downtown Athens will also serve up gift ideas and special sales throughout the evening. While sipping on cider, guests can tackle their Christmas shopping and browse for unique holiday decorations while supporting local businesses.

Other activities include special activities in stores for children, festive holiday music, roasting marshmallows, and a visit by Santa Claus.


Athens Main Street is a designated Main Street Alabama community and is a 2017 Main Street America Accredited Community.



(WAAY) Athens Shoppers Partake In Small Business Saturday


Today many Tennessee Valley Shoppers spent their money at local businesses.

It’s all to support Shop Small Saturday.

According to American Express, last year $112 Million people shopped at local businesses nationwide for Shop Small Saturday.

Shopping is easier for Katie Toone when she’s in Downtown Athens.

“I know a lot of people who are working these stores just for living in this area for the past 30 something years,” said Katie Toone.

Other shoppers like Michelle Jones said she’d rather support local stores than chain stores.

“These are people that live in our community and do good for out community. If we can help support the community, all the better,” said Michelle Jones.

Outside of the local stores, High Cotton Arts Gallery is also participating.

“I’ve given away some percentage off, free classes. I know Tina is giving away some free classes as well,” said artist and manager of High Cotton Arts Gallery Sonya Gordon.

Manty of the artist who painted the pieces live in Limestone County.

Sonya Gordon said the art people purchase is original and they’re keeping the money in the city.

“We have to sell enough to support ourselves. It helps us be able to stay here and thrive as an artist,” Gordon said.

American Express also reported in 2016, small business owners nationwide made $15.4 Billion total.


Small Business Saturday – Nov. 25 in downtown Athens

ATHENS Ala. – Small Business Saturday, November 25, 2017, is a great time to explore Downtown Athens’ unique shopping opportunities.

“From clothes to camping gear, sweet treats to awesome tees or antiques to the whimsical – you’ll find it as you enjoy our friendly and historic Downtown Athens,” said Athens Main Street Executive Director Melanie Newton.

By shopping our small businesses – you help our community, our entrepreneurs, and our economy.

On Small Business Saturday take a selfie in front of a business, of your purchases, etc and tag the business and Small Business Saturday.

Skip the mall – shop small.

Note: Participating Small Businesses will be announced in the coming days!

MORE ABOUT SHOP SMALL: In 2010, small businesses are hurting from an economy in recession. To support these local places that make our communities strong, American Express launched Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — hoping to help bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. Small business owners embrace the day, and the impact is felt on every corner. Through their own promotional efforts and customer outreach, small business owners generate an estimated $15.4 billion dollars on Small Business Saturday in 2016. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/about?linknav=us-open-shopsmall-home-nationallanding-sbshistory


Shop, Ice Skate, and Tell Santa your Christmas wishes in Downtown Athens at Christmas Open House

The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Athens Main Street is proud to announce the 31st Annual Christmas Open House event, presented by Martin & Cobey Construction Co., which will take place on November 17,18,19 in downtown Athens. This year’s theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

Weekend Activities Include:

Ice Skating on the Square

Blizzard Bash on the Square

Santa’s Wrapping Station – Complimentary Gift wrapping for purchases from Christmas Open House participants at the Athens State University Center For Lifelong Learning, Nov. 17-19th.

Visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, & Friends – Photos with Santa will be available at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning on Sat. Nov. 18 & Sun. Nov. 19 from 2 PM – 4 PM.

Carolers & Entertainment – Entertainment on the Courthouse Steps (Marion Street)
Tom McClung – Fri. Nov. 17 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Jimmy Henderson Trio. – Sat. Nov 18 2 PM – 4 PM

Courthouse Christmas Light Show – Saturday, Nov. 18 at 8 PM

This year’s participating merchants are: Bennett’s Clothing, CEI Bookstore, Crawford’s, Epiphany, Garnet’s, Gray & Holt, Haley Marie’s Boutique & Monogram, Hendricks-Patton, High Cotton Arts, Hobbs’ Jewelers, Hyatt & Sims, Innovative Health Solutions, Limestone Drugs, MEWS Interiors, Pimentos, Salon Blu, SheaLeigh’s, Snapdragon Kids, Southerland Boutique, Square Clock Coffee, The Right Dress Boutique, The SK Salon, The Willow Cottage, Toodlebugs, Trinity’s, UG White, and the Women’s Resource Center.

The Merry Market will have the following vendors Athens Roasting Company, Athens Scents, Graphic Jacks, and the Same Cloth Project. The Merry Market will be located at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning.

The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Williamson stated, “We are excited to once again partner with Athens Main Street and our many sponsors and community organizations to host this community event.”

She continues by saying “This is one of my favorite weekends in our community. We love bringing people into Athens and Limestone County to shop with our merchants and experience our holiday hospitality.”

Williamson is also thrilled to be bringing back the Tri-Green Equipment Ice Skating on the Square Rink. She states that this is the “largest rink that has ever been in Limestone County.”

She encourages everyone to “Shop, Skate, and Rock with us!”

Athens Main Street Executive Director Melanie Newton states “Athens Main Street is excited to partner with the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and our merchants for this great quality of life event in Limestone County.” She continues by saying that “Christmas Open House is a wonderful tradition in downtown Athens for over 30 years.”

Newton encourages everyone to “come out to shop, dine, enjoy the festivities, and rock throughout the weekend with us.

A special thanks to our community supporters and sponsors: First Federal Mortgage, Anderson All-State Agency, Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning, Allen Brown Heating & Cooling, American Leakless Company, ArrowHead Heating and Cooling, Champion Chevrolet, Clearview Cancer Institute, Hamlin Homes, Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Decatur, Redstone Federal Credit Union, and The News Courier.

NOTE: All activities will take place on the East Side of the Courthouse. The central hub for this event will be at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning.

NOTE: While I was doing my research, this is the first skating rink that opens in the Tennessee Valley for the holiday season. Just another reason to make plans to visit Athens, Alabama for Christmas Open House!

FACEBOOK EVENT : https://www.facebook.com/events/288220728337616/



Downtown speaker system up and running


If you hear the sound of “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” emanating from light poles around the Square in Athens this holiday season, you aren’t losing your mind.

The Christmas music will be broadcast from a new speaker system, installed Oct. 4 by Limestone County’s engineering and maintenance departments. The $20,000 system represents a partnership between the Limestone County Commission and the city of Athens, which kicked in $5,000 each. State Sen. Tim Melson provided $10,000 in TVA-in-lieu-of-tax funds.

Melson said Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough asked for a contribution. The senator said he was surprised Athens didn’t already have a downtown speaker system.

He explained the system will help enhance the Christmas season downtown but could be used for any outdoor event.

“To me, the Square really is Athens; it’s the focal point,” he said.

“This will be good for playing Christmas carols or patriotic music on the Fourth of July or making announcements at the Grease Festival.

(The project) just seemed to make good sense.”

The music will play year-round, courtesy of a feed from Pandora. Michelle Williamson, community relations director for Limestone County, said the music is muted now because of the annual Storytelling Festival on the Square.

Not only can the speaker system play music, but it also has a wireless microphone capability. The system had a trial run during the recent Judge Horton statue dedication.

Steelcase Foundation gives $30,000 to Scout Music House project

ATHENS ALA. – During its nearly 80-year existence, the Scout House on Washington Street served the community’s youth until its doors closed in 2012.

The facility, built in the WPA-era, soon will open its doors to the youth and community again as the Scout Music House. The City of Athens owns the historic structure and leases it to Athens Arts League. The city challenged Athens Arts League to raise funds for renovation and to repurpose it into a music venue that included music-centered educational opportunities for children.

Since the city issued that challenge, Athens Arts League has raised $94,500 in grant funds, the most recent being $30,000 from Steelcase Foundation for the student music studio. Athens Arts League will offer hands-on opportunities for students in scheduling, promoting and recording concerts as well as opportunities to perform and collaborate on song writing and editing.

In addition, Athens Arts League will honor Limestone County’s musical heritage through exhibits, and will host workshops, house concerts and other cultural events for the community.

“The Steelcase Foundation trustees were very appreciative of the community involvement and support in this project, as well as the work of the Athens Arts League to recognize the area’s musical and artistic contributions,” Steelcase Foundation President Julie Ridenour wrote in a letter to Athens Arts League.

Scout Music House Committee Chair Holly Hollman said she is impressed with those in the community who have devoted their talents and time to the project, which she expressed to Steelcase Foundation.

“There is no question you need funding to tackle a project such as this,” Hollman said. “But you also need someone to perform the work, and many in our community have volunteered to do the work as a donation because they believe in preserving this historic site and supporting artistic opportunities for our community.”

Hollman said Boy Scout John Paul recently oversaw construction of the handicap-accessible ramp on the west side of Scout Music House as part of his Eagle Scout project. Boy Scout Christopher Nave oversaw removal of a window and installation of a door for the handicap-accessible entrance in conjunction with the ramp project. That part of the work was Nave’s Eagle Scout project.

Girl Scout Troop 1922 has written thank you letters to donors, pulled weeds from the new landscaping and assisted with a clean-up day. Scout Music House Committee member Jim McDole is teaching the troop guitar lessons at High Cotton Arts, a visual arts incubator operated by Athens Arts League, to assist the Scouts in earning their music badges. Once Scout Music House is open, music opportunities such as those will be there to provide more space and privacy.

“In addition to the Scouts, local businesses have donated materials and work crews,” Hollman said. “The community has truly embraced this project, and we appreciate Steelcase Foundation for investing in our community’s vision.”

Click here to learn more about the Scout House project.