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FOOD FIGHT! National Culinary Competition Comes to MGM

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 | Posted in: Events Around Town, A Taste of Montgomery, The Latest News,

On February 27, 2017, a national culinary competition, Culinary Fight Club, will host its first of three competitions at Central Restaurant in Montgomery, AL. This event brings the passion of a high-energy kitchen, the thrill of a timed competition, and a fundraiser for a non-profit organization dedicated to provide service and support to hungry men, women and children across the country called Fight2Feed to the River Region. “Culinary Fight Club is currently in 16 other states and only chooses one city per state and I am thrilled we were able to bring this competition to Montgomery” states Ashley Jernigan, Owner of JDB Hospitality, LLC.  Jernigan facilitated bringing the competition to Montgomery with Central Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Brandon Burleson, who competed at a Culinary Fight Club competition in Atlanta last year.

At each event, chefs will race for their pantry and have 45 seconds to choose from 15 provided ingredients. From there, contestants have 60 minutes to create the most gourmet dish that represents their take on a monthly theme and provide samples for the audience and judges to vote on a winning dish. This month’s theme is Savory Chocolate. All chefs will be asked to create a non-pastry dish utilizing chocolate.

The upcoming competition will have four chefs competing and the winner will qualify to compete for $100,000 at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, AL later this year. “This competition coming to Montgomery allows some great local chefs a chance to compete at the World Food Championships and really represent Montgomery’s culinary scene,” Chef Brandon says. Chef Brandon placed second in the world at the World Food Championship last year in the sandwich category which automatically qualified him to compete at WFC again this year.

Food Network Star Jernard Wells has agreed to host the competition and Chef Brandon, along with three others, will be judges. In addition to the competitor samples, local noncompeting chefs and breweries will also provide samples.

For more information on chefs, judges and to purchase tickets, go to or visit the Facebook page: Culinary Fight Club – Alabama.


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ABC News Reporter Takes on Firefighter Combat Challenge

Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2016 | Posted in: The Latest News, Shop ‘Til You Drop,

Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge in Montgomery Extinguishes ABC News Reporter

In the final week of October, Montgomery welcomed over 600 incredible visitors from all over the world for the 25th Anniversary World Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, including Michael Koenigs of ABC News. Michael’s show, “Election Cycle” features the journalist traveling from town to town all over the U.S. to talk to every day Americans about the election, and to show a slice of life in each city.  After pulling 9 Gs in an F-16 Red Tail at Dannelly Field with Montgomery’s 187th Air Wing, that morning, he made an impressive run on the combat challenge course. Check out the action, including interviews with Montgomery’s Mayor Todd Strange, and several of the competing firemen in this segment.


Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge' Exhausts ABC News Reporter

Excerpted from

The mayor of Montgomery tried to warn me.

"This is called the 'toughest two minutes in sports,'" Mayor Todd Strange said just before I suited up to compete in the 25th Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge.

As a civilian competitor, my muscles started to burn almost immediately as I attempted the five-stage course wearing nearly 50 pounds of firefighting gear.

For the second year in a row, Montgomery, Alabama, hosted the international competition which attracts more the 500 firefighters from 15 different countries and 20 U.S. states.

Many of the participants train with their teams for months before tackling the course.

Wearing nearly 50 pounds of gear, firefighters race up a five-story tower, hoist a 40-pound bag, chop at a weight, spray a fire hose, and then drag a 175-pound “victim” dummy across the finish line.

The challenge seeks to foster firefighter fitness and demonstrate the profession’s rigors to the public. It succeeds.

I could barely breathe after the first minute. The weight of the equipment, the bulky fire suit, and strenuous obstacles gave me new admiration for the nearly 1.1 million firefighters in the US.

Even more surprising was the international spirit of community at the event. Teams travel from countries as far away as Kuwait to participate. Cheers from the bleachers can be heard in German, French, Spanish and numerous other languages.

The four-person fire team from Carlsbad, New Mexico, dethroned the two-time reigning champs, Montgomery Blue, and set a new world record for the relay event. They ran the course in 1:04.

As for my personal time, let’s just say I think the event ought to be called the “toughest 3+ minutes in sports."

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What’s So Great about the Return of Downtowns?

Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | Posted in: The Latest News,

"It seems to be paying off. Downtown Montgomery is back."

Bloomberg View columnist Justin Fox recently shared his perspective on the return of downtowns by reflecting on his own experiences having lived and worked in Montgomery, Alabama a number of years ago, and now returning to see how much the city has blossomed.

What's So Great about the Return of Downtowns?
NOV 1, 2016 12:22 PM EDT
By Justin Fox

I’m writing this on a warm Monday evening in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. It’s Halloween, and the city’s trick-or-treat action is elsewhere. Still, there’s a good number of people out and about -- with maybe 1 in 10 in costume -- eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, strolling along the Alabama River waterfront, listening to some dude play guitar in the outdoor bar at the Renaissance Hotel, listening to some other dude play guitar in the manicured alleyway known as “The Alley,” and so on. As for me, I’m sitting in my seventh-floor corner room at the Hampton Inn, built as the Greystone Hotel in 1927, after eating an excellent dinner of chicken gizzards, cornbread, sausage and pickled vegetables a few minutes walk away at Central, which appears to be the city’s nicest restaurant.

Twenty-five years ago, you couldn’t do any of those things in downtown Montgomery. I know because I lived here then. The Elite (pronounced “ee-light”) Cafe, the downtown institution where F. Scott Fitzgerald used to eat, closed a few weeks after I moved in, and with that disappeared pretty much the last reason (other than interactions with local government agencies) to go downtown. My office was only a few blocks away, on the slope of Goat Hill, atop which the Alabama Capitol stands, and my apartment was only 10 or 15 blocks from that.But my life happened on Goat Hill, in the neighborhood around my apartment -- Cloverdale -- and amid the burgeoning sprawl of the city’s east and south.

There had been efforts through the decades to bring activity back downtown, but things seem to have only really gotten going with the construction of the riverfront park and an adjacent minor league baseball stadium in 2004. The Renaissance and attached Montgomery Convention Center opened in 2008, as did the restored Hampton Inn. The Alley came in 2009. The city borrowed lots of money to make all this happen and, in a development somewhat unique to Alabama, the state’s pension funds chipped in, too. It seems to be paying off. Downtown Montgomery is back.

This isn’t just a Montgomery, Alabama, thing, of course. Downtowns have been on the comeback trail nationally since about 2000. In bigger, faster growing cities this renaissance has come with lots of costs and conflict as affluent newcomers displace poor residents who end up in suburbs with worse access to transit and services. In Montgomery, hardly anybody lived downtown before, and the revitalization doesn’t seem to be spreading to nearby residential neighborhoods.

It’s a pretty uncomplicated urban comeback story: Grand but decaying old buildings were empty, and now they’re full -- at least on the ground floor where the bars and restaurants and galleries are. Montgomerians who were once stuck with eating in strip malls can now feast in tall-ceilinged restaurants on Commerce or Tallapoosa or Coosa Street. Most of them still drive to dinner -- among downtown’s most prominent new landmarks is the giant convention center parking garage. But there is a nice-looking new apartment buildingacross the street from it, and lots of hotel guests are leaving their cars put while they walk to meals or meetings.

Experiencing all this has made me happy. Montgomery without a vibrant downtown was an OK city to live in. Montgomery with a vibrant downtown seems better. That got me thinking, though: Why does it seem better? Many people of my generation and younger who grew up in the suburbs and have moved back to the city share a conviction that cities are superior, but sometimes we (or at least I) can be a little hazy on the details.

Consider Montgomery: Its commercial sprawl of past decades occurred mostly within city limits, so the return of downtown isn’t really bringing back tax revenue that had been lost to suburbs. The new developments downtown have made the city a bit more attractive to event planners and visitors, but they’re not going to suddenly make it a major magnet for tourism -- or for the educated young workers that cities are supposed to want to attract (lots of other cities have fixed up their downtowns, too, after all). The city’s population isn’t growing, and its poverty rate remains high. Downtown isn’t exactly a hotbed of diversity or shining symbol of racial progress: The customers at the restaurants and bars are mostly white, the people in service jobs mostly black.

So what exactly is so good about downtown’s comeback in Montgomery?

A bustling downtown -- especially one with lots of cool old buildings -- is aesthetically more pleasing than a bustling mall. A judgment call, sure, but who’s going to disagree with it?

A downtown street grid is more efficient at handling traffic flows before and after a big event than just about any imaginable suburban street setup -- as Atlanta Braves fans are going to learnover the next few years -- so it’s a shame not to make full use of it.

Even though people drive to downtown, maybe they’re doing a little more walking than they would otherwise once they get here.

Downtown reflects on a city’s status and reputation in a way that other parts don’t.

Having a vibrant center can help bring a city together.

So that’s about it. Is it enough to justify the effort and expense that Montgomery and cities like it have put into bringing back their downtowns? Yeah, probably.

Reposted from (

Justin Fox (@foxjust) is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.” 

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Three Words That Say It All:

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 | Posted in: The Latest News,

This. Place. Matters.

Everyone has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter.

This Place Matters is a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery is joining with the National Trust's campaign to raise awareness for our mission of preserving, interpreting and presenting Central Alabama’s architecture, history, and culture.

You can help us spread the word about Montgomery's rich history!

Just download and print this sign, take a picture or video at a place that matters to you, and share using #MgmMatters and #ThisPlaceMatters!

Looking for some great historic places? Start with this list!

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southern league all-star game

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town, Worth Checking Out, The Latest News,

The 2015 Southern League All-Star Game presented by Wind Creek Hospitality returns to Montgomery on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The Southern League All-Star Home Run Derby presented by Alfa Insurance kicks off the night's events, with the league's top hitters and prospects competing for the Home Run Derby Title. Gates open at 6:00pm with the Home Run Derby and the Southern League All-Star Game will begin shortly after. Following the game, fans will enjoy a MAX Fireworks Spectacular.

Tickets are $22 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission and include admission to the Home Run Derby. Click here to purchase single game tickets. For more information, call 334.323.2255.

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capital cool cruisers

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town, A Taste of Montgomery, Worth Checking Out, The Latest News,

Navigate your way through downtown to any of the historical attractions, various restaurants and cool spots on a Regions Bike. You can rent a bike from the Montgomery Area Visitor Center and be well on your way to exploring what makes Montgomery unique. No helmet, no problem! All the bike essentials are provided in the rental. Bikes are available Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-5:00pm. Please call 334-262-0013 to reserve your Capital COOL Cruiser today!

2 hours $14.00
4 hours $20.00
8 hours $30.00

Riders will be required to watch a short 2.33 minute bike safety video before they can sign the rental waiver.


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honoring the march

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town, A Taste of Montgomery, The Latest News,

Honoring the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March
City of Montgomery, County, ASU encourage public to participate in commemorative march from The City of St. Jude to the Alabama State Capitol on March 25

MONTGOMERY – The City of Montgomery, Montgomery County and Alabama State University encourage the public to participate in a commemorative march of the final leg of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights Trail scheduled for March 25. This event is free and open to the public.

“We hope to welcome thousands of participants to Montgomery March 25 as we commemorate this pivotal moment in the history of our community and our nation with a re-creation of the final portion of the Voting Rights March,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said. “The march coincides with spring break for many students, making it a perfect opportunity for young people to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

More than 200 members of the National Park Service Walking Classroom program as well as some 185 area junior high and high school students and staff who are part of the Dream Marches on Youth Tour will participate in this march. For more information on both programs visit

"50 years ago, I was one of those kids who walked out of class to join the march,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean said. “It was a pivotal moment in my life, and we hope by offering these programs our youth will understand just how critical their family, friends or neighbors were to securing voting rights for all Americans.”

Marchers of all ages will depart The City of St. Jude at 10 a.m. Wednesday as they walk the historic 3.1-mile route to the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, where the event will culminate in a recitation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s How Long, Not Long speech by his daughter, the Rev. Dr. Bernice King. She will be joined by Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of Gov. George Wallace. The program will also include a performance by Alabama State University graduate Bonita Hamilton-Caesar, who is a cast member of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway.


Entry Points to the March

City officials encourage anyone interested to participate in the march by meeting at The City of St. Jude before 10 a.m. March 25, or joining behind march leaders via five other distinct entry points. Public entry points to join the march are:
• West Jeff Davis Avenue at Oak Street;
• Day Street at South Holt Street;
• Mildred Street at Mobile Street;
• Montgomery Street at Goldthwaite Street;
• Any portion of Dexter Avenue.

Water Stations
In addition to providing a mobile water station on Dexter Avenue, the City will provide water stations for marchers at the following locations:
• The City of St. Jude;
• Early Street at Oak Street;
• West Jeff Davis Avenue at Ewell Street;
• 620 South Holt Street;
• Montgomery Street at Goldthwaite Street.

City officials encourage participants planning to begin the march at The City of St. Jude to park at the Hayneville Road Community Center, located at 3315 Hayneville Road. Free shuttle service to The City of St. Jude will be available from 7 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Participants planning to join the march on Dexter Avenue should park at Paterson Field or the Biscuits parking lots on Columbus Street. Free shuttle service to Dexter Avenue will be provided from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Limited parking will be available at the City Municipal Deck at City Hall and the Intermodal Deck, free of charge.

The City will not charge for any metered parking found from Monroe Street to Washington Avenue between Bainbridge and Perry Streets. Following the event, free shuttle service will be provided for every parking area. Participants can board the shuttle at the pickup point located at the corner of Monroe and McDonough Streets.

Parking designated for the disabled or those in need of assistance will be available at Biscuits Parking Lot #1 on Columbus Street. Officials will provide a free shuttle to the event. Free shuttle service will also be provided after the event. Participants parked in lots designated for the disabled or those in need of assistance must load the shuttle at the pickup point at the corner of Bainbridge Street and Washington Avenue.

For maps and more information, visit Dream Marches On or contact Griffith Waller.

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dream marches on trolley tours

Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town, Worth Checking Out, The Latest News,

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau will host special Dream Marches On Guided Trolley Tours during the month of March. The tours will highlight all downtown attractions with an emphasis on civil rights history and feature a trip to the City of St. Jude along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. All tours are approximately one hour and will begin & end at the Montgomery Area Visitor Center.

Tour Dates:
Friday, 3/6 - 10am & 1pm
Saturday, 3/7 - 10am & 1pm & 3pm
Friday, 3/13 - 1pm & 3pm
Saturday, 3/21 - 10am & 1pm & 3pm
Tuesday, 3/24 - 1pm & 3pm
Thursday, 3/26 - 10am & 1pm
Friday, 3/27 - 10am & 1pm
Saturday, 3/28 - 10am & 1pm

Tickets are $20 per person; children under 5 are FREE. Tickets can be purchased at the Montgomery Area Visitor Center located at 300 Water Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104. To make reservations, call 334-262-0013.

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2015 visitor guide art contest

Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | Posted in: Worth Checking Out, The Latest News,

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau (MCVB) is excited to announce it will hold an art contest for the 2015 Montgomery Area Visitor Guide Covers.

Since 2015 will be a year of commemoration for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March and the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the MCVB, decided to get the local art community involved and hold a competition for the 4 guide covers: January, April, July, September.

The contest is open to all professional, amateur, college and high school students.

For information on the contest and to download the official entry form, please click here.

If you have any questions regarding the contest, rules or deadlines, please contact Jina Clark, Marketing Director, 334-261-1106.

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mgm voted best historic city

Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 | Posted in: The Latest News,

Montgomery, Alabama took the number one spot among winners of the Best Historic City category in the 10Best Readers' Choice travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY. The city will be promoted on USA Today, in the Friday, May 2, 2014 edition of the print version, and’s travel homefront where it will remain in rotation for some time.

Montgomery received more votes than cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans among others. The full list of winners can be found at

“This is great news for our city, a place with immense history and the setting for some of the most seminal moments in our nation’s history – from the Civil War to Civil Rights to civil aviation,” Mayor Todd Strange said in a release earlier today. “As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March and 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott next year, visitors will not only experience our history, but they will discover there’s a whole lot more to Montgomery, like our revitalized riverfront, the vibrant downtown entertainment district and world-class cultural institutions. Thank you to our residents, community leaders, USA Today readers and everyone else who voted for Montgomery as the Best Historic City in the nation.”

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest launches one new category each Monday at noon, revealing its 20 nominees.  After 4 weeks of voting, the contest closes on the 28th day at noon.  On Day 30, winners are revealed.  Rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day.      

Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from; relevant expert contributors and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each travel award category is displayed on its associated contest page.  All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award contest is accessible on the website.

For more information about Montgomery’s Historic attractions go to

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