A magnet for fun

A magnet for fun

August 19th, 2012 by Todd South in Glimpse 2012-a

The Alabama Fan Club and Museum in Fort Payne, Ala. allows fans of the country music band enjoy a tribute to the musicians, who hail from the city.

Photo by Tracey Trumbull/Times Free Press.

Fort Payne and DeKalb County, Ala., claim musical fame through the band Alabama and a historic fiddlers' gathering along with a massive outdoor trading market and barbecue to fill your belly.

- Compiled by staff writer Todd South, tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347

BEST THINGS TO DO

Buy, sell, eat

• One of the South's largest outdoor markets, Collinsville Trade Day is held every Saturday starting at 4:30 a.m. CDT.

• Food, antiques, tools, hunting and fishing gear fill vendor tables. Everything "from cribs to coffins" for your perusal.

• The market is halfway between Gadsden and Fort Payne, Ala., three miles from Intestate 59.

Source: Collinsville Trade Day

Famous Attraction

Sounds of the South

• At the intersection of state Highway 35 and U.S. Highway 11 the Alabama Fan Club and Museum houses merchandise for the popular country music band. The museum also holds the production office and warehouse for the band.

• Bronze statues of band members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook and Mark Herndon are on display in Fort Payne City Park.

Source: Fort Payne city website

BEST-KEPT SECRET

123 years old and counting

Now a theater, the 123-year-old Fort Payne Opera House is on the National Register of 19th-Century Theaters and the oldest still in use in Alabama.

• Actors perform plays several times a year. Tours are conducted Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT and other days by appointment. Call 256-845-6888 for more information.

Source: Fort Payne city website

History, music and holiday cheer

• Boom Days: This downtown Fort Payne celebration draws hundreds of visitors to relive the city's successful iron and hosiery industries. There's food, street performers with music, dance and craftsmen demonstrations along with sights such as the marquee of the DeKalb Theatre and storefront facades of this Alabama mountain town.

• DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention: Echoing strains of early European settlers who brought new musical sounds to the hills of Alabama, the convention includes old-time fiddling, banjos, bluegrass and other musical stylings. This year's event was held the first Saturday in August at Fort Payne Middle School. Contact the Big Wills Arts Council at 256-845-2224 for information on future performances.

• Christmas in the Park: Each year on the second Friday in December, as temperatures dip in North Alabama, folks in DeKalb County gather at a bonfire in downtown Fort Payne for a cup of free hot chocolate and peanuts or popcorn. Some sing carols, others take in the glow of lights strung through the downtown area and a light-covered tree in the city park as the Fort Payne Wildcats Marching Band plays during the parade.

Source: Fort Payne city website

LOCAL DINING

Sweet to the ear and mouth

• Sit down to live music, catfish and barbecue ribs at Ol' Tymer's BBQ & Blues.

• You can find the restaurant at 2207 Gault Ave. North.

• Ol' Tymer's holds live music all day on Fridays and is open 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and until 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Source: Fort Payne city website

Sock capital

• Population: About 14,000

• Significant employers: Ferguson Enterprises, Siemens, Heil Environmental

• Origin: Officially named Fort Payne in 1869, the city is the county seat of DeKalb County.

• Distance from Chattanooga: 48 miles

• Most famous residents: The country supergroup Alabama, Cherokee linguist Sequoyah (note that calhoun, ga., also claims him in its glimpse profile)

• Historic info: The town was one of many used in the stockading of the Chrokee during their forced removal in 1838 in a long march to Oklahoma known as the "Trail of Tears." Coal and iron ore discovered in 1885 began large-scale investment and resulted in the city's incorporation in 1889.

• Claim to fame: Eighteen years later the area's first hosiery mills began production and Fort Payne would become known as the "Sock Capital of the World."

Source: Fort Payne city website, U.S. Census