The Decatur Homecoming Celebration is part of the 2010 Alabama Tourism Department’s Year of Small Towns and Downtowns Great Alabama Homecoming promotion. “Participating in the statewide Great Alabama Homecoming promotion allows the city of Decatur to pay tribute to the beginnings of Ingalls Harbor where it was once a source of economic prosperity. Today, Ingalls continues to be an incredible economic driver for Decatur and Morgan County and everyone is invited to be a part of this celebration of where we have been and where we are headed,” said Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The historic marker is a dedication to the former Ingalls Shipyard site. Ingalls Iron Works was established in 1910, by Robert Ingalls, in Titusville AL, and grew to be the largest steel company in the region. In an effort to embark on new opportunities, Ingalls opened Ingalls Shipyard in 1937 to build dredges, towboats, and barges for coastal and river service. As World War II approached, the yard's small size forced Ingalls to look for a larger site and, therefore, relocated to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Ingalls' shipbuilding interests were sold to Litton Industries in 1961, which sold the Decatur yard to Trinity Industries in 1981, which promptly closed it. The city of Decatur purchased the property in 2003 and a self-imposed occupancy tax implemented in 2001 by the Decatur-Morgan County Hospitality Association provided necessary funds for the development of a harbor. In 2006, Ingalls Harbor emerged as a world-class entertainment venue and is home for many local festivals and professional fishing tournaments. The historic marker is one of 215 markers statewide that were issued by the Alabama Tourism Department at no cost to cities or counties.
The unveiling is set for 12 p.m. on Friday at Ingalls Harbor, with the groundbreaking of Ingalls Harbor’s new 25,000-square-
The Decatur Homecoming Celebration coincides with the 16th annual Riverfest which is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 17 and continues throughout the day on Saturday, September 18.
The Raft Race for canoes and kayaks returns this year with winners receiving cash and prizes, and a 5K run has been added to the festivities. The Raft Race is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Riverwalk Marina and ending at Ingalls Harbor. Entry forms for both races may be downloaded from www.decaturjaycees.com.
Riverfest is recognized by the State of Alabama as an official State Barbeque Championship competition and is sanctioned by, and conducted under, the rules of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The BBQ cook-off is open to professional and amateur teams where teams from as far away as California travel to the River City for a shot at cash and prizes totaling $20,000. New for this year’s event is a Backyard division for those who think they are king of the grill on their home turf. The BBQ awards ceremony is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday. To download an entry form, visit www.decaturjaycees.com.
During the 2009 Riverfest, a production crew from TLC was in town filming for a new series called BBQ Pitmaster, an eight-week docu-series following cooks on the competitive barbecue circuit. The show premiered December, 2009 bringing much notoriety to Riverfest and Decatur.
Entertainment runs non-stop Friday evening through Saturday. Friday’s lineup includes Trinity Mountain Boys, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mike Roberts, and Dusty and Dusty with Todd Stovall Band, Highly Kind, Rollin in the Hay, Wrong Way, and A Tribute to Sublime set to perform on Saturday. Along with the live music, raft race, and BBQ cook-off, there will be food vendors offering barbeque from mild to fiery and other traditional festival food, merchandise vending area, and a children's area with inflatables.
Ingalls Harbor is located on the banks of the Tennessee River at 701 Market Street Northwest in Decatur. Gates open on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. Admission to Riverfest is free on Friday to 4 p.m. and Saturday to 3 p.m. After 4 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday, admission is $10 per person and free for children 10 years old and under. Weekend passes may be purchased in advance at the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau or at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce for $15 per person. All proceeds benefit local charities in Decatur and Morgan County. For more information on Riverfest, visit www.decaturjaycees.com.
# # #
About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB):
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028;