Sidewalk Stroll attracts locals, out-of-towners

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 25, 2003

With an occasional break to wave at the honking horns of passers-by, Mayor James Perkins Jr. led a small group of locals and tourists alike around the downtown area of Selma Saturday morning.

As the mayor praised the beauty and uniqueness of his town, he wasn’t trying to drum up a few election votes or promote business growth. His only mission was to encourage tourism, with an added touch of hometown pride.

The first-ever Selma’s Sidewalk Stroll began at the Selma/Dallas County Public Library. The handful of people who arrived for the free tour came from as far away as Muscle Shoals to as close as only a few blocks away.

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With a little help from a cheat sheet, Perkins gave a brief history of several buildings and homes along Broad Street and the historic district.

One stop even included a place he knows well: City Hall.

It was there that tour participants not only learned a little about the building but also got to hear Perkins’ personal take on what makes the structure special.

This little tidbit not only struck a cord with the tourists, but also with the handful of locals, who admitted to never having noticed the phenomena.

During the tour, however, the mayor also pointed out several different items he had never noticed before, like the gargoyles on top of the First Baptist Church.

The Sidewalk Strolls are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and will be held every Saturday until July 4th weekend. Each week, the tour will follow the same route, but led by various other community leaders. Visitors can also receive free passes to the local museums in town.

Tour organizer Lauri Cothran said she had no idea what to expect of the first tour and was very pleased with the way it turned out.

The Saturday walking tours will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the public library.

Cothran said there will only be cancellations if bad weather occurs.