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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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Camellia Bowl Fan Discounts!

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Posted in: Events Around Town, Worth Checking Out,

Camellia Bowl fans can enjoy the following discounts at local attractions and restaurants when they provide their ticket stub for the 2016 Camellia Bowl!

Blake's Seqway Tours
301 Water Street in the Montgomery Visitor Center

10% discount  

Central Restaurant
129 Coosa Street

10% discount 

Enterprise Holdings Company
10% discount on daily retail rate at Enterprise and National Rentals. Good at Montgomery Regional Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL). Use account number L55E895. Standard qualifications apply. Call branch for details.

The Harriott II Riverboat
“Cruising with Santa” Holiday Dinner Cruise Friday, December 16 ONLY.
Boards at 630pm, Cruises 7pm-9pm.
Includes: dinner, 2 hour cruise, live entertainment, cash bar & a visit with Santa.
$48 per adult, Discounted price is $43.00 per adult.

$5 off promo online only at

Jasmine Hill Gardens
3001 Jasmine Hill Rd
Wetumpka, AL 36093

(334) 263-5713
10% discount on admission

Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus Street

10% discount on self-guided tours and in the Museum Gift Shop.

SaZa Serious Italian Food 
138 Commerce St.

(334) 495-7292
Free Cannoli with the purchase of any entree!
SaZa Happy Hours (At the bar only)
Mon - Friday 5-6 p.m.
Half price Draft beer & cocktails. 
Sunday noon - 4 p.m.
Half price Draft beer, cocktails & Appetizers. 

The Stop at Union Station
300 Water Street at the Montgomery Visitor Center

20% discount on selected items

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ABC News Reporter Gives Election View from an F-16 Red Tail

Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | Posted in: Worth Checking Out,

Flying Through the 2016 Election Cycle in an F-16 Fighter Jet

ABC News' Michael Koenigs, a.k.a. "Mike on a Bike" ended his epic journey across the country during the the Election Cycle with a thrilling ride in an F-16 "Red Tail" at the 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard in Montgomery. You might remember that he also took on the World Firefighter Combat Challenge Course during this visit, too.  From high above the River Region with Captain Jeff "Splitt" Witt at the controls, he shares a reassuring perspective and a reminder of those who put it all on the line to preserve our right to vote. See the segment for yourself here.


Flying Through the 2016 Election Cycle in an F-16 Fighter Jet

Excerpted from 

As the 2016 Election Cycle comes to an end, I decided to escape the rancorous political atmosphere in an F-16 fighter jet.

My former college roommate, Capt. Jeffrey Witt, had become a member of the Alabama National Air Guard shortly after he graduated from Harvard in 2009. He was awarded the Air Combat Command Outstanding Aircrew Award while deployed in Afghanistan in 2014 and continues to serve as a reserve pilot in the 187th Fighter Wing.

His unit welcomed me to its Montgomery base to check out the capabilities of the F-16 during a flight over the fields of Alabama.

The F-16 we boarded was built in 1987 and may be replaced in the coming years by the $138-million-dollar F-35. But some contended that the F-16 remains one of the best dogfight planes in the fleet. It can go up to speeds of "Mach 2,” or 1,534 mph.

“It’s a lot faster than your bicycle,” said Witt.

Upon takeoff, Witt yanked the jet to a 90-degree angle, causing much of the blood to drain from my head. Although I wore a G-suit strapped to my legs and lower torso compressed with air in order to maintain blood in the upper body, I drifted toward unconsciousness several times during the flight.

After reaching a safe-fly zone, we did a variety of G-force inducing maneuvers ranging from 360-degree loops and rapid turns that applied nearly 9Gs of force on our bodies.

I threw up several times as Captain Witt demonstrated the extraordinary power and maneuverability of his plane.

After the most physically intense 30 minutes of my life, I was happy to land safely back at Dannelly Field, reunited with my trusty bicycle for the final leg of the Election Cycle.

For more Election Cycle updates, follow @MikeOnABikeABC on Twitter.

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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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How to Pokémon Go MGM!

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2016 | Posted in: Worth Checking Out,

July 6th was the release date for Pokémon Go, and in just a week’s time the app became a craze, surpassing Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook in the iTunes store. Montgomery is full of Pokéstops, gyms, and trainers of all kinds with one thing in common: catching pocket monsters! Montgomery's large collection of historical markers and amazing attractions serve as a gateway for Pokémon Go enthusiasts.  Below are a few tips on how to Pokémon Go MGM.


Gather all of your hunting necessities from Pokéstops in numerous areas of MGM!

First things first, in order to catch Pokémon you’ll need supplies such as Poké Balls, Razz Berries, and Lure Modules. These items can be found at Pokéstops which are located at just about any church or historical marker throughout Montgomery. Downtown MGM is home to at least 40 Pokéstops, making it an extremely popular area for Pokémon hunting. So light an incense while traveling from Pokéstop to Pokéstop to increase your chances of catching these digital creatures.


Become acquainted with the very things that makes MGM spectacular.

Explore MGM through this augmented reality, pocket monster hunting app. With Pokéstops being located near historical markers, take the time to discover some areas of MGM you have yet to see. Whether it be Riverfront Park to catch water Pokémon, Blount Cultural Park to catch grass and bug Pokémon, or the nightlife in the Old Cloverdale area to catch ghost Pokémon, MGM has many great attractions to visit while on your hunt.


Discover MGM by foot to get those eggs hatching.

Hatching eggs is another way to add Pokémon to your collection. These eggs can come from Pokéstops and once placed in an incubator, hatch as the trainer travels a designated distance. So get out and get walking! Travel to The Montgomery Zoo and visit the real-life creatures or checkout the Montgomery Visitor Center for walking tours offered throughout the area such as the Civil Heritage Trail.


Claim gyms with your most powerful Pokémon so others know that this is your MGM.

For those that are serious Pokémon fans and want to do more than catch all 250 creatures, gym battles are an added feature. Once a trainer reaches level 5, they will be prompted to choose a team: Team Yellow-Instinct, Team Blue-Mystic, and Team Red-Valor. Each team is researching a different quality possessed by Pokémon and believe that it is key to winning a battle. The goal of each team is to take over as many gyms as possible. These gym battles allow trainers to engage with other trainers and their Pokémon. Gyms are usually known landmarks such as Hampstead’s Town Center Fountain, The Shoppes at EastChase’s Cowboys sculpture, or the Hank Williams Statue. So be sure to go and declare your turf!

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau is teaming up with Product of Montgomery to sponsor a MGM Poké Scavenger Hunt! Click the link to register, download the info sheet and start searching and posting screenshots when you catch 'em all! The first, second and third place winners will receive a $50, $30 and $20 gift card (respectively) Google or Apple gift card (their choice). The Scavenger Hunt runs till July 25 so get hunting!

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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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25 Years and the Southern Accent Hasn’t Changed…

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016 | Posted in: Events Around Town, Worth Checking Out,

For 25 years the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has been bringing new plays with a distinctly southern accent to the stage through the Southern Writers' Project.

Each year during a three-day festival they debut brand new work that has never been performed for audiences before. Quite often, those plays go on to great fame and future production. Examples are the sell-out football show "Bear Country" about Paul "Bear" Bryant, and "Gee's Bend" about the famed quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama who fought for voting rights.

Check out the new plays lined up for this year's festival:

Friday, May 6 at 4 p.m.
Lovesick by Peter Hicks
When an advertising executive begs off of a fundraiser mixer with his wife to stay at home to “work” with his curvaceous assistant, he has no idea that his scorned wife has some murderous plans of her own!

Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m.
Delta Secret by Prince Duren
An ex-boxer working on a farm in 1920s Mississippi outbids his boss when he and his brother-in-law purchase a building downtown to convert into a night club.  The resulting tensions cause family secrets to be revealed.

Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m.
In the Midnight Hour by Kenneth Green
A new musical in development celebrating the life and music of Prattville native Wilson Pickett!   One of the most popular singers of the ’60s, Pickett scored a series of R&B and pop hits on Atlantic Records between 1963 and 1972 that included “In the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Funky Broadway.”

Sunday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m.
Starstruck by Lucile Lichtblau
In the midst of the Great Depression and impending war, a struggling Jewish family is dazzled by dreams of Hollywood.

One of the coolest things about SWP Fest is that there's a chance to respond to the playwright in a talkback after each reading where audience members share their reactionsn to the play. The weekend can be enjoyed show by show for $15 each  ($10 for students) or as a package including meals and artist interaction events. Packages need to be booked by May 5th here or by calling 1.800.841.4273.

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What’s COOL in October

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town,

October's turning crisp and this month’s COOL events are sure to be a hit!

October 1-31 – Haunted Hearse Tours: Come along with us on a ride through Montgomery's dark history in a REAL hearse and listen to our ghostly tales of events that happened along the quiet streets of the Capital City. The cost is $15 per person and hourly tours begin at 7PM.

October 3 and 17 – Oakwood Cemetery Tour: You’ll get goosebumps hearing about vigilante hangings, misplaced soldiers, and a strange New Orleans rendezvous. Admission is FREE for Landmark members and $10 for the general public. For more info or to register, please call 334-240-4500 or 888-240-1850.

October 9 – Tavern Fest at Old Alabama Town: Celebrate history in a quaint historic village at this popular annual event. There will be live music, food, dancing, craft beer tasting, and even a silent auction! Tickets are $15 per person pre-sale and $20 at the gate. For more information, call 334-240-4617 or visit

October 15-17 – Junior League Holiday Market: Get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping! Make your gift giving one-of-a-kind this holiday season. Merchants offer unique gift ideas and holiday trends in a fun, family friendly atmosphere with special events, live entertainment and merchants from across the United States. Click here to purchase tickets. For more information, call 334-288-8816 or email

October 15-31 – ZooBoo: This is sure to be a Halloween favorite for the whole family. Enjoy games, bouncy castles, concessions and much more at Zoo Boo. $15 per ticket and includes entry, one ride on either the Haunted Hay Ride (scary ride) or the Pumpkin Pull Hay Ride (non-scary) and one sheet of game tickets (10 tickets per sheet). For more information, call (334) 240-4900.

October 16 – Art in Concert at MMFA featuring Futurebirds: Join the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art’s Junior Executive Board for a concert on the lawn at the Museum beginning at 8:00 pm. Futurebirds is a touring psychedelic country band ready to rock the night away. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

October 17 – Riverwalk Wine Festival: Make plans now to join us for this spectacular afternoon of wine on the water with live music and food vendors. Event will include wine tasting from 10 different distributors representing over 100 wineries. Your admission includes an etched commemorative wine glass and discount wine purchases from participating wine shoppes. For more information, call (334) 625-2300.

October 19 – Guangzhou Dance Troupe at ASF: Join the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for a ONE-NIGHT ONLY performance you won’t want to miss! Experience the passion and wonder of this magical celebration of modern Chinese dance brought to life by some of China’s most talented dancers. Tickets - Adults: $20-$35; Students $10-$20. 

October 19-24 – 2015 SCOTT World Firefighter Combat Challenge: Cheer on Montgomery’s own home team as they defend the world championship through a series of physical demands found in firefighting. Savor a cook-off competition and let the children express their inner hero on fire truck rides. For more information about this FREE event, visit

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yokohama tire lpga classic

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | Posted in: Events Around Town, Worth Checking Out,

Montgomery and the River Region will once again take center stage as it hosts the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, August 24-30 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville. While it is difficult to quantify the exact impact to local businesses, the real impact from the tournament goes far beyond dollars and cents. The weeklong event welcomes international corporate executives, media from around the globe, and visitors who may be exposed to our community for the very first time. From an economic development and image perspective, the event has a significant coup for Montgomery and the entire region.

For a complete list of events and ticket information visit: Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

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