Let’s help Selma make new friends

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, March 17, 2011

As the Bridge Crossing Jubilee came to a close last week, I headed to the National Voting Rights Museum for a wrapup interview with Ollie Taal. She was tired, but still could not hide her excitement about the most recent version of the festival.

And why shouldn’t she have been excited? The weather conditions were about as tough as we could have imagined. There was no cooperation from Mother Nature whatsoever, but still people came to Selma by the thousands.

At one point during the interview, her excitement gave way to a hint of frustration when she said “we need to do even more to show people what Selma is all about.” She is exactly right.

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Selma has a number of festivals that are well-organized and tons of fun. Over the weekend while I was in Meridian, some old friends asked me where I was living now. When I told them Selma, they smiled. They had come to town in October to take part in the ghost tours and remarked how much they enjoyed their visit.

This weekend the annual Pilgrimage begins, which is another huge draw. And, in April, the Battle of Selma begins, which draws a ton of Civil War enthusiasts and history buffs. Honestly, there are too many great things going on in Selma and too little space in this column to try to list them all.

Our Chamber of Commerce is a well-oiled machine that does a great job of promoting Selma. But they can’t do it all by themselves.

If you have a Selma or Dallas County address, I challenge you to bring at least two people who have never visited to town for a festival.

I am convinced that a weekend in Selma for one of our festivals will change the perception of our city by outsiders and I am personally making it my mission to bring new people to town as often as possible. I hope everyone will do the same.

We have a lot to offer and it’s time to stop keeping it to ourselves. Take someone to Old Cahawba. Visit Sturdivant Hall with a group. Take old friends to dinner at one of our landmark restaurants. Do whatever you have to do to help change the perception of the Queen City of the Black Belt.