President and Adam Moseley Executive Director Vice President Henry Raymond Vice President Emily Sykes Secretary Adele Nelson Treasurer Vic Smith Chris Smith Chris Honeycutt Angela Moseley Heidi Ramey Tyra Cutcher Diana Hussey Larry Vann Kenny Hill Camille Herron Sophie Martin Jackie Karabasz Debbie Smith Mike Barnes
Editorial Katie McDowell
Christine Boatwright Amy Jones Wesley Hallman Neal Wagner
Production Jon Goering
Daniel Holmes Jamie Sparacino Amy Baldis
Marketing Alan Brown
Melissa Clark Thomas LaBoone Nicole Loggins Barbara Buchanan Diane Fant LaShan Johnson Tracy Jones
Administration Tim Prince
Jan Griffey Mary Jo Eskridge Annie McGilvary Catherine Cousins
Alabaster CityFest 2012 â€˘ 3
Pageant, Prom, & Homecoming
4 â€˘ Alabaster CityFest 2012
By NEAL WAGNER
decade ago, a group of Alabaster officials and City Council members got together to brainstorm ways to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary. When they were done, they had planned a modest community festival at the city’s Municipal Park. During the first Alabaster CityFest in 2003, police counted about 8,000 people, most of whom were Alabaster residents, as they walked through the gates to enjoy food, vendors and music from local and regional bands. The 2010 version of the same event set a record attendance of 60,000. “Back then, it was much smaller than it is now,” said Adam Moseley, president of the Alabaster Arts Council. “We actually started thinking about doing an event to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary in 2002, but the first CityFest wasn’t held until 2003.” The first CityFest was organized by Alabaster’s city government as a way to celebrate the city’s golden anniversary with its residents, but the city soon handed the
reins over to another entity. “By the third or fourth CityFest, the Arts Council took over,” Moseley said. “Once it started getting bigger, the Arts Council was able to do a lot the city couldn’t do.” The Alabaster Arts Council, which is independent of the city, is able to pursue event sponsors the city is not able to, and is able to dedicate more time to organizing and promoting the event, Moseley said. Many of the volunteers who worked to organize the first event are still involved in the Arts Council, which allows the organization to build off its experiences each year, he said. “Over the years, we have been able to keep adding people to that core group of organizers. It has really worked out well,” Moseley said. “We have a lot of the same people who worked on the very first event.” Each year, the event’s attendance has grown by more than 4,000, which has allowed the Arts Council to draw bigger performers each year. Sister Hazel, Craig
Morgan, Travis Tritt, Diamond Rio, Loverboy and Tonic to name a few. “What we had during the first couple of years is nothing compared to the groups we have had the past few years,” Moseley said. Because the event began as a free celebration for Alabaster’s residents, the Arts Council has worked to keep CityFest a no-charge event for the past nine years. But because the event’s growth each year has also added to its costs, volunteers and sponsors have played a major role in the event’s success. “Volunteers are doing a lot of things other festivals have to pay people to do,” Moseley said. “And every year, we get new sponsors. We would not be able to have this every year if we didn’t have support from our sponsors.” Municipal Park has been the event’s venue since the beginning, and the location has been well-suited to CityFest’s growth because of the number of roads serving it, Moseley said. Alabaster CityFest 2012 • 5
ABOVE: Gayle Randall, Lynn Wyatt, Tim Davis, Michelle McGraw, Cassidy Jordan, Tyra Cutcher received awards from the Alabaster Arts Council.
By NEAL WAGNER
everal Alabaster teachers will be able to purchase everything from new drums to supplies for African mask projects after they received grants from the Alabaster Arts Council on April 19. During a reception held at Alabaster’s Jim ‘N Nick’s restaurant, the Arts Council distributed $5,000 in grants to seven teachers at Alabaster’s schools. The Arts Council raises money for its annual CityFest celebration through sponsorships with several local businesses. Sponsorship money not spent on CityFest expenses is donated to local schools, said Arts Council member Sophie Martin. “We want to say how much we appreciate
what you do for our children and our community,” said Arts Council President Adam Moseley. “This is the fun thing we get to do, and it’s because of CityFest that we get to do this.” “This year, seven people applied for grants, and seven people received grants,” Moseley added. Thompson High School art teacher Tym Davis received a $1,000 grant to fund an art class for special-needs students at the school. “Now we will be able to get some real supplies. We will be able to do a lot more,” Davis said. Creek View Elementary School art teacher Lyn Wyatt received a $500 grant to
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purchase supplies for a student African mask project. Thompson Sixth Grade Center art teacher Michelle McGraw received a $1,000 grant to start an art club at the school. CVES music teacher Cassidy Jordan received a $500 grant to fund a “Schoolhouse Rock” show at the school. The Arts Council awarded a $1,000 grant to Thompson Intermediate School to purchase drums, a $500 grant to THS to help fund a choir trip and a $500 grant to CVES to help fund an authors’ day. The Council also distributed several $25 “classroom cash” prizes to several teachers at the reception.
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20-year anniversary is cause for celebration, and Lonestar is marking this career milestone in more ways than one. Reunited with original lead singer Richie McDonald, the multi-platinum country music quartet is working hard on a brand-new album and embarking on an extensive anniversary tour, with more than 90 dates scheduled in North America alone. “Twenty years ago, when we put this little band together to play in some bars and make a little money, I dreamed it pretty good,” admits keyboard player and songwriter Dean Sams. “But I never dreamed it quite this good.” Known for merging their country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, Lonestar has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of 10 million album units since their national launch in 1995 and achieved 10 No. 1 country hits. The band’s awards include a 1999 ACM Single of The Year for “Amazed” (the song also won the Song of the Year award) and the 2001 CMA Vocal Group of the Year. But it isn’t hit records and trophies that have kept Lonestar going strong. On the contrary, says lead singer Richie McDonald. “Honestly, through it all, the one thing that has kept Lonestar around is that we’re just four good old boys from Texas.” All four members originally hail from blue collar households, and place a premium on the value of hard work. “No matter how much success we’ve had, it didn’t change us as people.” Originally formed in Nashville in 1992, Lonestar played more than 500 shows before landing a recording contract. “We traveled for two and a half, maybe three years, just playing in bars,” Britt recalls. “We were starting from zero back then.” But all those gigs paid off. By the time they released their self-titled debut album in 1995, they already had an enthusiastic fan base. Their first single, “Tequila Talkin’,” went Top Ten on the country charts. Its follow-up did even better: “No News” would be the first of many No.1 singles for Lonestar. Lonestar continued to ascend in the years that followed. Their third album, 1999’s Lonely Grill, was certified multi-platinum in both the United States and Canada. For all their record and ticket sales, the biggest accomplishment of the band’s storied career has been witnessing the impact of Lonestar songs in the lives of others. “Music is a very powerful 8 • Alabaster CityFest 2012
tool and can help people going through both good and bad times,” observes McDonald. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the group’s performances for U.S. armed forces stationed overseas in Iraq and Kuwait, where classics such as “I’m Already There” have elicited powerful emotional displays from men and women who’ve put their lives on the line defending America. “When you can truly say that what you do can make a difference, that it really can impact somebody’s life in a positive way, that’s the greatest thing,” admits Sams. That timeless appeal transcends nationality,
too. A recent string of European dates with Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs and Little Big Town found Lonestar thrilling audiences in England, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany. Lonestar is currently hard at work making a new, self-produced album. “It’s kind of a nobrainer for us to come along at this stage in our careers and say, ‘Yes, we can produce our own music.’ After all, nobody knows what Lonestar should sound like better than Lonestar,” says drummer Keech Rainwater. “I’m proud that as a band, collectively, we’re smart enough to know what we need to do and how to get it done.” ~Lonestarnow.com.
or Art Alexakis, charismatic frontman and driving force behind the multiplatinum powerhouse Everclear, there’s no debate about evolution. “If you’re not growing and changing and getting creative with your classic songs over time, he says, “then you’re not a band, you’ve become a jukebox!” And every so often, to remind band member that making music is still the invigorating joy it’s always been, it’s a great idea to take a look back at classic songs, as Alexakis does on Everclear’s 429 Records debut, “In a Different Light.” Nearly 15 years since his Portland, Ore. based unit captured the hearts of Gen-Xers and rock fans everywhere and hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart – with “Santa Monica” and their Top 30 Capitol Records album Sparkle and Fade, the happily restless singer/songwriter gears up
for Everclear’s next phase by taking a unique, organic look back at “Santa Monica” and a personal selection of eight more of their biggest hits and fan favorites from throughout their career: “Learning How To Smile,” “I Will Buy You A New Life,” “Summerland,” “Everything To Everyone,” “Wonderful,” “Father Of Mine,” “Rock Star” and “The Maple Song.” The dynamic new set also features two new Alexakis penned tunes, “Here Comes The Darkness” (originally recorded for their 2006 first post-Capitol set “Welcome To The Drama Club”, but never before released) and the infectious first single “At The End Of The Day,” featuring backing vocals by performers in Portland’s underground funk gospel scene, including soul singer Liv Warfield. While Alexakis is hitting the road in spurts this fall starting Oct. 5 in New York with a new lineup that will debut on Everclear’s
highly anticipated next album (bassist Freddy Herrera, drummer Jordan Plosky, keyboardist Sasha Smith and guitarist Johnny Hawthorn), he is joined on “In a Different Light” by the Everclear ensemble of 2003-2009 (guitarist Davey French, keyboardist Josh Crawley, bassist Sam Hudson) and drummer Tommy Stewart. “It’s always been more exciting for me to play with different musicians who can challenge me, put their own stamp on my songs and make them even better than I could have conceived,” says Alexakis, who created the classic Everclear sound in the mid and late ‘90s with Craig Montoya (bass) and Greg Eklund (drums). “My philosophy has always been whatever makes the song work wins. It’s always exciting to bring in a fresh young group of players who can bring new blood to the songs I’ve played for years and inspire me creatively.” Alabaster CityFest 2012 • 9
10 â€˘ Alabaster CityFest 2012
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT
hile adults attend CityFest year after year for the variety of musicians and the great food and vendors, kids can enjoy bouncy fun in the festival’s kids’ area. To entertain the children, the festival organizers invited Lowe’s to return for another year of hands-on projects, such as birdhouses and tool kits. “Lowe’s is out there each year with their build-it workshop where kids can come in and build projects,” said Vic Smith, sponsor of the kids’ area and the Alabaster Arts
Council Treasurer. The kids’ area will include more than 15 inflatable bouncy houses and slides, an arts and crafts area and a healthy snack station. Additionally, entertainer Jim Aycock will provide music for the kids. This year’s KidsFest also includes the Flying K-9s dog show, live children’s music, drum circle and other activities. Horseback riding and bunjee jumping are available for a small fee. Jim Aycock, a well-known children’s singer and songwriter, will perform live on the KidsFest stage from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
A staff of Alabaster police officers keeps the area safe for the kids. “It’s very secured,” Smith said. “We have that area secured off from the rest of the field and other activities with one entrance in and out. We have a staff of Alabaster police officers, mainly, that are looking out for kids who are separated from their parents. They do a fantastic job.” Smith said that CityFest is entirely volunteer-driven, and local high schoolers donate their time to run the kids’ area and keep the kids safe.
Alabaster CityFest 2012 • 11
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT
ar enthusiasts will have an eyeful at CityFest’s car show from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. “We’ve invited all the different car enthusiasts to bring cars. We don’t stipulate they have to be in perfect restoration shape,” said Adele Nelson, car show chair and Alabaster Arts Council Secretary. Nelson said numbers of entries fluctuate over the years. “(Participants) usually sit there, and people have questions about what type of car it is and how they did the restoration on it,” she said. “The details they love to go over with you, because that’s people’s main hobby.” For the third year, attendees can vote on their favorite automobiles. Giveaways from sponsor Ernest McCarty Ford include carrelated prizes, as well as cash prizes to help participants with travel. Cash prizes will be awarded every hour. “It adds something else for people to do at CityFest,” Nelson said. “It’s leisurely and something you can stroll through. It’s for different ages, because there are different cars for different ages.” New to the car show, a band will play music from the ‘50s and ‘60s to add to the show. “This year, they’re going to have the music, which I know they’re going to love,” Nelson said. “It’s our 10th year of having CityFest, so we just wanted to add more to that area of the festival.” There is no charge to participate in the
show. Participants must sign a registration and release form. Participants will receive a plaque for participating in the show
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“We really encourage people to come out and participate, to bring their car out to be shown and people to know it’s there.”
By NEAL WAGNER
t’s a day Alabaster’s business and restaurant owners look forward to all year: the annual CityFest celebration at Municipal Park. For the last 10 years, CityFest has drawn tens of thousands of visitors from Alabaster, its surrounding cities and even from outside the state to see high-profile musical acts rock the stage. Last year’s event drew 55,000 during the daylong festival, and past years have topped 60,000. CityFest’s draw can mean big business for Alabaster’s retail and restaurant offerings, said Alabaster Mayor David Frings. “It does bring a lot of new folks to town. It can give an extra shot in the arm to the business folks in Alabaster,” Frings said. Because CityFest usually features a nationally known country band and a rock band performing on Saturday evening, many of Alabaster’s restaurants see a few waves of customers the night of the festival. “Some people are interested in one band, and some are interested in another,” Frings said. “So instead of just one dinner rush, restaurants may have two. Some of them will experience rush hour all evening.” And the economic impact boosts more than just Alabaster, said state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster. “It absolutely boosts the economy. Not only the Alabaster economy, but the economy of Shelby County as a whole,” Ward said. “The people who are in town are going to spend money. It’s really a boost.” Some of the area’s hotels also see a boost during CityFest weekend, as many of the musical acts and some out-of-town visitors decide to stay in down after the party winds down for the evening. Some local businesses even decide to set up shop on-site and operate booths during the festival. For a complete list of vendors, see page 7. “It’s definitely an enjoyable event,” Frings said. “The (Alabaster) Arts Council does a great job.”
Alabaster CityFest 2012 • 13
Alabaster CityFest is located in Alabaster on the grounds of the Alabaster Municipal Park and Thompson Middle School. For your convenience, Alabaster CityFest has free parking and free shuttles running from the festival site to all of the public parking areas. The shuttles will run from 8:45 a.m. until the end of the event. The public parking areas will fill in the following order: Thompson High School, Warrior Park, Thompson High School Football Stadium, Publix. Directions to Public Parking From Montgomery (taking I-65 North) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw u Turn left on Hwy 31 N u At second traffic light, turn left onto Hwy 119 S u Go approximately 2 miles to Thompson Road and turn right (next to Thompson Intermediate School) u For the first public parking opportunity, go approx. 1/2 mile and turn left onto Warrior Drive and follow the signs From Birmingham (taking I-65 South) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw 14 • Alabaster CityFest 2012
u Turn right on Hwy 31 N u At 1st traffic light, turn left onto Hwy 119 S u Go approximately 2 miles to Thompson Road and turn right (next to Thompson Intermediate School) u For the first public parking opportunity, go approx 1/2 mile and turn left onto Warrior Drive and follow the signs Directions to VIP Parking From Montgomery (taking I-65 North) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw u Turn left on Hwy 31 N u Go to second traffic light and turn left onto Hwy 119 S u Go approx 2 miles to Thompson Road and turn right (next to Thompson Intermediate School) u Turn left on Warrior Drive and follow the signs to VIP Parking From Birmingham (taking I-65 South) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw u Turn right on Hwy 31 N u Go to first traffic light and turn left onto Hwy 119 S
u Go approx 2 miles to Thompson Road and turn right (next to Thompson Intermediate School) u Turn left on Warrior Drive and follow the signs to VIP Parking Directions to Vendor Parking From Montgomery (taking I-65 North) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw u Turn left on Hwy 31 N u Go to second traffic light and turn left onto Hwy 119 S u Approx. 3 miles, turn right onto Kent Dairy Road u Approx. ½ mile, turn right into Thompson Middle School parking lot From Birmingham (taking I-65 South) u Take Exit 238 Alabaster/Saginaw u Turn right on Hwy 31 N u Go to first traffic light and turn left onto Hwy 119 S u Approx. 3 miles, turn right onto Kent Dairy Road u Approx. ½ mile, turn right into Thompson Middle School parking lot
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