Talladega to offer #8216;something for everyone#039;

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 8, 2007

If you think the East Central Alabama town of Talladega only has its super speedway as a draw for visitors, think again.

How about cooking classes, art exhibits, elegant 19th century homes, Indian artifacts, antique cars and a few &#8220Redneck Tenors”?

All this and more will be offered during the city's annual April in Talladega Pilgrimage, slated for April 13 and 14, offering the theme of &#8220Talladega Entertains.”

The town, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian

Mountains, once brought in visitors via railroad to enjoy fine food, entertainment and the hospitality found in its beautiful and gracious homes.

In 2007, the tour will feature for the first time some of those same homes that line historic South Street, including the Boswell-Devries-Thomas Home (circa 1890), the Oliver-Caldwell-Bonner Home (circa 1875), the Weaver-Sims House ( circa 1890) and Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind's Regions Guest House (Weaver family home).

The 1898 Jemison House and the 1905 McEldery-Malone Home will also be featured on the tour, along with the AIDB's Hawkins Chapel, where melodious entertainment will be offered throughout the weekend.

Cooking classes by renowned chef, Frank Stitt, noted author and cook Betty Sims and outdoor experts from Bad Byron's and the Alabama Cattlemen's Assocation will be part of the tour, with cooking demonstrations hosted at Dogwood and the Sims Home.

For those strolling down lovely South Street, lemonade and ice cream will be available.

A visit to the Heritage

Hall Museum will offer a look at the work of a true Southern lady and portrait artist, the late Sarah Whitson.

Sarah studied under several noted artists and taught in Birmingham at the Little House in Linden and in Talladega for more than 45 years.

The exhibit will feature a number of portraits on loan for owners and more than 20 works recently discovered in her studio. An extensive Indian artifact collection by Walter Farr will also be featured at Heritage All for the pilgrimage. Farr will be on site to discuss the collection with the public.

Also new to the pilgrimage this year is a special vintage children's section including storytelling and a Keller Kids area to creatively learn about the everyday life of persons who are deaf and blind, a perfect program for the long-time home of the state school for the visually and hearing-impaired.

An antique car show, sundown tour of Oak Hill Cemetery, English Tea at  the Gables, and a &#8220Taste of Talladega” Luncheon at the Caf\u00E9 Royale in the newly restored North Hill Manor round out a spring day of activities.

In the evening, Pilgrimage guests can enjoy a musical comedy, &#8220Three Redneck Tenors” at Talladega's historic Ritz Theater on Courthouse


Like Greenville's own Ritz, The Ritz in Talladega is considered one of the best surviving examples of Art Deco main street theaters. It was restored in 1997 to become a premier performing arts center in East Central Alabama.

Tickets for the Friday or Saturday evening performances may be purchased through Talladega's Ritz Theater.

Special events such as cemetery tours, teas, luncheons and cooking classes require an additional ticket with the purchase of general admission. General admission tickets are good for the two days of the event.

More information and tickets for April in Talladega are now available online through www.talladegachamber.com or by contacting the Talladega Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Drawer A, Talladega, AL 35161.