This summer, dozens of meeting attendees came to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala., in part to see the effects wrought by the BP oil spill for themselves. To their relief, the area was not permanently damaged by the disaster. The famous Panhandle sand was still white; the ocean was still blue.
As happy as attendees are to find the Alabama Gulf largely unchanged, they are equally excited to see changes that have come to other Alabama cities.
In Mobile meeting attendees can now begin or end their conferences or conventions with a Carnival Cruise, departing from the cruise line’s port, a short walk from the city’s bay-front convention center.
In Montgomery, the state capital, the downtown riverfront has been been revamped. A dazzling white amphitheater with a space-age appearance is home to outdoor concerts. A few steps away, the Montgomery Biscuits play ball and the Harriett II riverboat plies the water on its tours. Nearby is an entertainment area called the Alley, where Dreamland Barbeque and the Alley Bar hold court, among other restaurants and meeting places.
In Birmingham, city leaders are tweaking plans for an entertainment district near the city’s convention center. The city is also putting more emphasis on sports competitions, pursuing track and field events that will be interested in a new indoor track under construction at the old State Fairgrounds near downtown.
Several long-awaited projects will soon enhance downtown Huntsville. The Huntsville Museum of Art later this year will show off an expansion that gives it not only twice as much room as it had to display its collection but four event venues. New hotels to serve the Von Braun Center are in the near future, as work begins on Constellation, a hotel, restaurant and shopping complex.