2009-12-25 / Events

Birmingham to roll out red carpet for South Carolina fans

Gamecock fans should have more to do than watch football at PapaJohns.com Bowl January 2.
Contributed by Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Birmingham Skyline Birmingham skyline photo by Dennis Latham The Birmingham Skyline Birmingham skyline photo by Dennis Latham BIRMINGHAM – Gamecock fans headed to Birmingham for the Papa- Johns.com Bowl can look forward to more than just great action on the field. The city has plenty to see and do before and after the game.

About the City…

With the foothills of the Appalachians as a dramatic backdrop, the city is laid out in a series of rolling hills with woodland–covered neighborhoods just minutes from downtown.

And speaking of dining, “fine” follows many paths. Should you have Birmingham pigeonholed as serving only barbeque and fried pies, just remember the city is home to “the Oscars of dining” with James Beard Foundation winners and nominees. Of course football visitors to the city shouldn’t overlook fine Southern cooking as well. No one wants to leave without a meal of fresh catfish, fried okra, fresh corn, tomatoes ripened on the vine, cornbread, all topped off by peach cobbler and ice cream.

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum The quantity and quality of shopping opportunities is often a discovery for Birmingham guests as well. The area’s antique shops are becoming places of legend in upscale lifestyle magazines around the country. The city’s downtown has its own shopping character with excellent selections of retro kitsch and record shops.

Art holds a strong presence in the Birmingham community. Clusters of galleries near the downtown area are giving art enthusiasts and collectors wide options.

Visit www.birmingham. travel to download a guide to arts and antiques shopping in Birmingham.

What to See and Do…

During your visit to support the Gamecocks, be sure to catch the final days of the blockbuster exhibition “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” at the Museum of Art.

Birmingham’s Vulcan statue overlooks the city. Vulcan photo by Jeffrey Greenberg Birmingham’s Vulcan statue overlooks the city. Vulcan photo by Jeffrey Greenberg Other “must do” activities for Bowl visitors include a visit to Vulcan Park and Museum to see the world’s largest cast iron statue and the spectacular view of the city from the statue’s observation deck. From December 31 through January 4, PapaJohns.com Bowl visitors can show tickets or ticket stubs at Vulcan and get reduced daytime admission. Vulcan also has made special arrangements to be open New Year’s Day at 1 pm for South Carolina supporters.

Alabama has a long and storied history of automobile racing. In May 2003, a new chapter began with the first public race at Barber Motorsports Park. The adjacent Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum houses the country’s largest collection of vintage cars and motorcycles.

At McWane Science Center, visit the IMAX Dome Theatre as well as the adjoining science center. See more than 700 species of animals at the Birmingham Zoo.

The story of Birmingham’s role in the long march to civil rights is told at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in the city’s Civil Rights District.

The 16th Street Baptist Church is Birmingham’s most famous civil rights landmark. Across the street from the church and Institute is Kelly Ingram Park. The park served as a gathering place for demonstrations in the early 1960s.

Also in the Civil Rights District is the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, along with the Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park.

Fans of all sorts of sports enjoy exploring the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum. This home for heroes includes memorabilia from the late University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, a tribute to Olympic great Jesse Owens, and others.

Golfers should consider packing their clubs as the weather in January likely will be mild enough for a round or two.

Special Bowl Game Festivities…

Join in the fun at the Street Festival and Pep Rally in the historic Five Points South entertainment district. The festival, Friday, January 1, from 2–8 pm, will feature live music, great food and shopping, and plenty of fun for the entire family. The event is free and open to the public.

The Post Game Party gets underway in the nearby entertainment district of Lakeview on Saturday, January 2.

For more information, call 800-458-8085 for a free Tourist Guide or download the guide at www.birmingham. travel.
The Rich and Famous…
Here are some of the celebrities who were born  and/or grew up in the greater Birmingham area:

Willie Mays (baseball Hall of Famer)
Kate Jackson (actress)
Courteney Cox Arquette (actress)
Erskine Hawkins (composer/musician)
Emmy Lou Harris (musician)
Tallulah Bankhead (actress)
Sun Ra (musician)
Bo Jackson (Heisman Trophy winner)
Charles Barkley (basketball great)
Fannie Flagg (writer/actress)
Bobby Bowden (football coach)
Bobby, Donnie, and Davey Allison (auto racers)
Neil Bonnet (auto racer)
Diana Ross (singer)

Birmingham Facts, Superlatives & Interesting Trivia

• Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city. • Birmingham has one of the “Top Ten Bars Worth Flying

 

For,” according to GQ magazine.

 

 

 

 

The article lists the top ten bars in the world, among them The Garages for its eclectic, authentic charm. • Birmingham’s Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum houses the largest collection of vintage motorcycles in the world. • Bon Appétit named Birmingham’s Hot & Hot Fish Club among the “Great Neighborhood Restaurants in the South.” • The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the global Catholic television giant, is headquartered and broadcasts from its studios in Birmingham. • Birmingham is ranked #1 as host city for the annual Region’s Charity Senior PGA Tour. • Birmingham is the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron are present: coal, iron ore and limestone – all within a ten–mile radius. • Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the world’s largest cast iron statue and is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty. The statue was Birmingham’s entry in the 1904 World’s Fair, where it won first prize. • The Club’s multi–colored dance floor was director John Badham’s inspiration for a key icon in the definitive 1970s movie “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta. • Southern Living, the nation’s most successful regional magazine, is published in Birmingham. • The Birmingham Museum of Art holds the largest collection of Wedgwood outside England. • Birmingham is home to the nation’s oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field. • Vonetta Flowers, the first African–American to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics (2002–bobsledding), is a track coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. • Birmingham’s world– class musical talent put the city in the national spotlight with two winners from the mega hit TV show “American Idol.” Ruben Studdard won in 2003 and Taylor Hicks came home with the top honor in 2006. • Birmingham was recently voted “America’s Bass Capital”

by readers of BASSMASTERmagazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Country singing legend and Alabama native Hank Williams spent the last night of his life at Birmingham’s historic Redmont Hotel.

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