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Tour East Alabama works together to promote tourism

On June 23, Tour East Alabama conducted a meeting at Cheaha State Park, home of the highest point in Alabama, with Cheaha Mountain at 2,407 feet above sea level.

The meeting took place inside of Bald Rock Lodge, which is one of the oldest buildings in the state park system and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, according to Tammy Power, superintendent of Cheaha State Park.

Twelve attendees representing Calhoun, Chambers, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties gathered with a common goal of promoting tourism in East Alabama.

“Tour East Alabama is a group of surrounding counties that work together to promote each other’s events and activities and draw people into our entire region when they come to visit instead of individually working on our own,” said Kim Dunn, director of marketing at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce in Tallapoosa County, explained.

Cotina Terry is the current president of the organization, holding the position since January. She previously served as vice president and has been a member of the group since its inception more than five years ago.

One of many items on the agenda was promoting the upcoming Fall Foliage Project as well as using Facebook to promote tourism in the region.

Terry said, “We all need to identify some areas within our different counties that would provide a nice drive, a nice look.”

Another fall event discussed was the Haunted Chicken House in Cleburne County, which attracts tourists to the area and is run by the Hollis Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.

After enjoying lunch together, the group discussed upcoming events such as Lake Fest, Sun Fest and the Cleburne County Fair.

Dorothy Tidwell, director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, passed around logo fans used during the recent Roanoke Summer on Main street festival. She wanted to show the inclusion of the TEA logo and how the organization’s logo can easily be used during other events in the region.

Terry passed around promotional material for Lake Fest, a celebration in Dadeville that will include attractions such as wood turning, glassblowing, a bouncy house, food, and painting demonstrations.

By sharing information about events such as Lake Fest, TEA members are updated about happenings around the region and can help each other promote them.

The group also discussed organizing efforts for the Alabama Bicentennial to be involved in celebrations of the state’s 200 years of history.

With various counties working together to form a regional hub of tourism, East Alabama’s future looks bright.