Go Wild at Auburn: June 2018 Newsletter

Send Your Best Fish Photos for Our Contest

Our Best Black Best Fish Photo Contest is underway now until Aug. 31! Enter your photo of any fish caught in the Black Belt by emailing it to photocontest@albbaa.org and you may win $100 worth of fishing gear from the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association.

“The Black Belt has so many great fishing spots, both public and private, and we love seeing the smiling faces of the folks who enter our contest,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “This contest is not about the biggest fish, it’s about recognizing the great times that can be enjoyed in our outdoors. Fishing together as a family creates fond memories that will last a lifetime and we want to share them on our Facebook page.”

Photos will be shared on Facebook.com/AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures and the winner will be selected based on the number of “likes” each photo gets.

“We encourage people from outside the Black Belt region to come visit for an adventure in discovering your favorite ‘honey hole,’” Swanner said. “Our website – AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org – offers information for both public fishing spots as well as outfitters and lodges in the area that can provide a great fishing experience.”

The contest will run through August 31 with the winner to be announced the first week of September 2018. The 2016 and 2017 Best Black Belt Fish Photo Contest winners are not eligible this year. Remember, photos must be emailed to photocontest@albbaa.org to be eligible and the fish must be caught in the Black Belt this year. Like our Facebook page, too!

ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. These contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

Back Roads Rendezvous

Every weekend offers plenty of fun adventures along the back roads of Alabama’s Black Belt region, so we’re introducing a new series – aptly named Back Roads Rendezvous – to highlight special events and places of interest we think you’ll enjoy. We’ll map out a weekend trip that includes unique things to see and do, local eateries, brew pubs and lots of things in between.  All you have to do is grab your friends or family, pack your bags and get your adventure rollin’!

This month’s feature centers on the weekend of July 27. Stake your pew at Union Springs Red Door Theatre (a converted, historic church) and enjoy local talent as they professionally stage a rare Saturday matinee (due to a sold out regular schedule) performance of “Steel Magnolias.”  Plan ahead so you don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself before the play to the delectable offerings at French Press Home Bakery.

Then, pull up a chair at the new outdoors festival, Auburn Wing Fest, to enjoy music, drink specials, a wings-eating contest, other games, giveaways and what else? WINGS!

Get ready for an adrenaline rush as you charter the whitewater rapids and zip line across two states at Chattahoochee Whitewater Park in Phenix City, voted by USA Today as one of the Top 12 Man-made Adventures in the World.


Day One, Saturday, July 28: Start your day in time to arrive in Union Springs for lunch at the French Press Home Bakery. This will be the sweet beginning to an adventuresome weekend and they are preparing lunch specials and an awesome variety of homemade desserts to accommodate those attending the play at Red Door Theatre.

We recommend you call ahead for reservations, (334) 738-2017. The bakery is located at 108 Conecuh Ave. East in Union Springs.

Be sure to take a selfie in front of the bird dog statue and mural of a quail hunting scene located halfway between the bakery and the Red Door Theatre.

By 2 o’clock, arrive at the Red Door Theatre for the last available performance of “Steel Magnolias.” Call 334-738-8687 or email info@reddoortheatre.org for tickets. The theater is at 101 N. Prairie Street.

When the play is done, motor an hour away to to Auburn for the inaugural Auburn Wing Fest. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for youngsters age 10-15 and free for those under 10. A wing-eating contest starts at 4 p.m. and the Wing Fest champion – the restaurant with the best wings as voted by those who get samples at the event – will be announced at 6:30. The after party begins at 7.

The Auburn Wing Fest will be at Greystone Mansion at 434 East Magnolia Ave. Email TheGreystoneMansion@gmail.com for more information. If you want to overnight in Auburn, visit aotourism.com/accommodations.

If you’re new to Auburn, be sure to stroll by Toomer’s Corner, where the paper-rolling celebration by AU fans celebrating big victories was recognized as the “Best Sports Tradition” by USA Today in 2018. Then, cool down with an old-fashioned ice cream soda from historic Toomer’s Drug Store or pop into Auburn Popcorn Company a few doors down for a bag of fresh popcorn in your choice of flavors.

Day Two, Sunday, July 29: Travel to Phenix City for a fun day of whitewater rafting, zip-lining, fly fishing and more! Whitewater trips begin at 9 a.m. and repeat every hour. Reservations are recommended. Zip-lining across the Chattahoochee River and across two states begins at 9:30 a.m. and repeats every two hours on the half-hour.

Take your lunch break at one of the wonderful restaurants available, like Ezell’s Catfish.

We hope you have a great Black Belt Rendezvous! Share your photos and comments, too – @ALBBAassn and tag us on Instagram @alabamablackbeltadventures.

Go Wild at Auburn

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is honored to be working with Auburn University on its new Wildlife Enterprise Management degree program, on track to be offered to students in 2019. Students in this one-of-a-kind program will be those whose career goals include working in a business built on outdoors experiences, at places like hunting lodges and preserves, fishing resorts and many others.

ALBBAA President Thomas Harris and Director Pam Swanner sent a letter of support to Auburn President Steven Leath even before the university’s Board of Directors approved the new program. “Auburn University is in a unique position to attract new students with the Wildlife Enterprise Management degree program that’s now available and by utilizing the advantage you have of being located in the Black Belt’s wildlife eco-system,” they wrote.

Both Harris and Swanner met with officials at Auburn to discuss the nonprofit’s goals and how the new program would benefit the Black Belt region.

Already, the ALBBAA works with the University of Montevallo’s President’s Outdoor Scholars Program by providing outings and seminars for students at the Shelby County school in the program that provides scholarships to those interested in outdoors careers.

“The new degree program is a perfect fit for Auburn and for the Black Belt,” Swanner said. “The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences has always done a great job in preparing its students for careers that preserve our environment and this new degree is a natural outgrowth of that mission. We look forward to working with Auburn students to make their dreams come true.”

Unique Fun Awaits at Dream Field Farms

Looking for a tranquil, natural landscape as the back drop for your special occasion or next outdoors experience? Try Dream Field Farms in the Fitzpatrick community in Bullock County, 14 miles west of Union Springs. Dream Field Farms offers cabins, an event venue, a wedding venue, fall fun at the Pumpkin Patch and more!

Located on 200 acres on U.S. Highway 82 between U.S. 231 and Union Springs, Dream Field Farms is famous for its Pumpkin Patch with hayrides, a corn maze, preschool play area, Farmer Tom’s famous racing pigs and its petting zoo.

The cabins at Dream Field Farms can be rented for events such as weddings, reunions, corporate gatherings, or leisure travelers. A new pool was completed just last month and the cabins are in a beautiful setting on a 16-acre fishing lake. Cabins are equipped with three queen-size bedrooms and access to the full kitchen, bunk rooms and a front porch area. You can check out the Farms’ cabins on AirBnB.com.

Visit our website for more information.

Join Friends at the Social Butterfly Marketplace

The Social Butterfly Marketplace in Demopolis is a must-see destination for antiques, arts and crafts, and a gathering spot for visiting with friends and family while enjoying a good cup of java. The market is at 103 West Washington Street and is open Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Since opening in March, the Social Butterfly Marketplace has become known as a great spot for Black Belt artists and craftspeople to showcase and sell their latest creations.  You’ll also find one-of-a-kind treasures, “mantiques,” and a Kids Zone. For more information, visit socialbutterflymarketplace.com or call 334-216-5649. You can also find them on Facebook.

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<p>Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox. Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox.

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