Jubilee means better economy in SelmaPublished 11:28pm Thursday, February 10, 2011
With the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee just a few weeks away, local businesses, hotels and restaurants are gearing up for one of the biggest events of the year.
An estimated 25,000 people attend Jubilee annually and local organizers expect even more for this year’s event.
Candace Johnson, tourism director for the city of Selma, said the Jubilee is a way for tourists to experience the rich history of Selma for themselves.
“This event is our biggest draw annually,” Johnson said. “There’s an increase in lodging, traffic and tourism. For five days visitors can explore the city’s hidden gems and experience the atmosphere of the entire movement.”
According to lodging numbers published by the Alabama Tourism Department, Dallas County has seen an increase in lodging tax revenue over last year and March is one of the county’s biggest months of the year.
Already, area hotels like the Ramada Inn, Hampton Inn and the St. James Hotel are at full capacity and have been since late last year.
“This time is really good for us financially,” said Rufus Ford, general manager of Hampton Inn. “We’ve been booked since last year’s Jubilee. We have an increase in people staying in hotels and I think business in Selma is getting a lot better.”
Lula Wood, assistant manager at Ramada Inn agrees and said all 160 rooms are filled.
“As soon as the dates for the Jubilee are publicized, people start reserving rooms ahead of time, like six months in advance,” Wood said. “As soon as the Jubilee is over, we prepare for next year’s event.”
Michelle Pullom, St. James assistant general manager, said the hotel and its restaurant and bar’s normal operating hours is subject to change during Jubilee weekend.
“We will open on Friday and Saturday,” Pullom said. “And, the Troup House Restaurant will open later hours. We just want to accommodate our guests who want to stay out late and participate in activities.”
Richard’s Café and Major Grumbles Alley are two restaurants making accommodations for the pubic during Jubilee.
Gwendolyn Sanders, chef for Richard’s, said business increases during that weekend.
“We made about $2,500 a day last year, and we hope to be just as busy this year.” Sanders said.
For more information and schedule of events contact the organization representatives with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee at 526-2626.