The Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with local businesses and restaurants to provide “Summer Stay cation Days” showcasing recreational activities the county offers, administra tors said.
Tanya Maloney, execu tive director of the cham ber, said staycation is a creative way to encourage people to look in the coun ty first for things to do this summer.
The program is designed to accomplish two goals: promoting ecotourism in the county and encourag ing people to spend their money at home, she said.
Tammy Perry, one of the chamber members who helped organize the stay cation events, said they will give people a chance to get away here at home.
“When the economy got bad people started vaca tioning closer to home,” Perry said. “This is just trying to get groups to gether to try the tourism we have available.”
She said that many peo ple who live in the county have never been to Mount Cheaha or canoeing on the river. The staycation events will give them the opportunity to try new ac tivities with a group and maybe they’ll come back on their own, Perry said.
Tallapoosa River Outfit ters owner Bart Owen will be hosting a float on the Tallapoosa River on July 24 as one of the events. Owen said he thinks the event will introduce area residents to his business.
Although the business has been on Alabama 46 just outside the Heflin city limits for years – Owen has owned it for three years and been involved in the business for six – he’s met people in Heflin and surrounding areas that don’t know he’s here. About 30 percent of his business comes for coun ty residents, Owen said. The remaining 70 percent come from all over the state and the county. They find him online. But area residents drive right by without looking, he said.
“I hear of several people going up to Terrapin, some go to Coosa River and that’s OK,” he said. “But 20 minutes at the most and you’re here.”
The first event on July 10 will be at the Cahul ga Creek Watershed on Mountain Street in Heflin, home of the Lake Point Disc Golf Course. Piggly Wiggly staff will be man ning a grill for lunch and people will be able to use the course, fish or just play in the park, Maloney said.
Marie Robinson, owner of Marie’s BBQ, and her daughter Glenda Berry, manager of the restau rant, said they think the program is a great one. The restaurant has agreed to serve lunch at an event that has yet to be sched uled.
“Everybody wants to go somewhere else,” Berry said. “But the local people are what keep small busi nesses afloat. If not for them, we’d have to shut our doors.”