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Author: Positively Decatur

Positively Pedaling: Exploring Decatur’s Bike Trails

Decatur, Alabama, is home to some seriously cool outdoor adventures. As the weather begins to cool off and the colors of fall start to paint the city, there’s no better time to saddle up and explore some of Decatur’s most popular outdoor amenities: the bike trails. So grab your bike, and let’s embark on a fall biking adventure in Decatur!

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Behind the Scenes at the Princess Theatre

You may be familiar with the image of the Princess Theatre’s marquee, its brightly colored lighted letters serving as an iconic visual landmark in downtown Decatur. But have you ever wondered what lies behind that main entrance?

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The Future of Downtown Decatur

Over the past several years, the city’s downtown has been transformed into the vibrant destination we know today. Thanks to beautification projects, business recruitment, and new developments, Downtown Decatur has seen booming growth.

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Outdoor Recreation is Positively Everywhere in Decatur


Outdoor Recreation is Positively Everywhere in Decatur

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Decatur is a powerhouse in outdoor recreation.

Danielle Gibson, President/CEO of Decatur Morgan County Tourism

Over 50 years ago, the Mayor of Decatur went to Germany to learn how to build the nation’s first wave pool. In 1970, this historic wave pool opened at Point Mallard Park, and Decatur claimed its place as a city dedicated to recreation.

Now, outdoor recreation is everywhere in Decatur.

Thanks to the area’s natural resources, the surrounding landscape and scenery offer prime locations for hiking, hunting, camping, nature photography, and more. The Tennessee River flows through the city, making water sports such as fishing, boating, and kayaking incredibly popular options.

Among the most popular attractions in Decatur are Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and Point Mallard Park. Wheeler Wildlife Refuge welcomes 600,000 visitors annually to explore the trails, spend time on the water, and witness the tens of thousands of sandhill cranes that gather there each winter.

Meanwhile, in the summer, Point Mallard’s water park opens to the delight of children and adults alike.

For organized sports, Decatur boasts venues for soccer, baseball, golf, disc golf, and more. In fact, the Jack Allen Recreation Complex is recognized as one of the most trailblazing sporting complexes in the Southeast.

But Decatur isn’t stopping there. Recreation is a priority for the city, with plans underway for even more outdoor experiences in the future.

From improvements to Point Mallard to a brand new recreation center at Wilson Morgan Park, from softball fields to pickleball courts, residents and visitors will soon enjoy an even wider range of activities in Decatur.

“We may have someone that just comes to visit, but they might think… ‘The city of Decatur might be the place for me to live, work, and play,’” said Danielle Gibson, President/CEO of Decatur Morgan County Tourism.

Resident or visitor, one thing is true: no matter your recreational interest, Decatur positively has something for you.


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Decatur is Positively Soaring at the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic!


Decatur is Positively Soaring at the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic!

By: Lillie Beth Warner, Communications Director, Decatur Morgan County Tourism

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The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is a one-of-a-kind event that takes place every year in Decatur, Alabama, at Point Mallard Park. The event has been held annually since 1978 and has become one of the most popular hot air balloon festivals in the country, attracting thousands of visitors from near and far.

The history of the festival traces back to a few years prior to 1978 when the City of Decatur purchased its own hot air balloon. Three pilots were trained to fly the city’s balloon, and it wasn’t long before those pilots united with other nearby balloonists to bring the energy and competition of a balloon rally to Decatur. Today, the City of Decatur has been designated as the “Ballooning Capital of Alabama!”

At the festival, you can witness the spectacle of hot air balloons taking flight against the backdrop of the beautiful Alabama skies. With dozens of colorful hot air balloons taking to the sky, it is a breathtaking view that is not to be missed. The sight can be seen from the Point Mallard field as well as from above the surrounding areas.

The Hare & Hound and Lynn Layton Key Grab add a spirit of competition to the festival as balloon pilots complete competition tasks. In the Hare & Hound, balloons compete to see who can drop a marker closest to a target on the ground, while in the Key Grab, they navigate away from and back to a predetermined location, attempting to grab a ring from the top of a tall pole.


In the evening, balloons are tethered to the ground and lit up in a stunning visual display. Plus, a fireworks show ends the festival with a bang!

The event offers even more to enjoy beyond balloon flights, too. With live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and inflatables for kids, there is something for everyone. There are even tethered balloon rides available for those who want to experience the thrill of being up in the air without actually leaving the ground.

The 2023 Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic will take place over Memorial Day weekend on May 27 and May 28. If you’re planning to attend the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, remember that the event is held outdoors, so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Additionally, know that parking can be tricky, so plan to arrive early and prepare for crowds.

Overall, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is a fun and exciting event for visitors of all ages. With its stunning visual displays, live entertainment, and variety of activities, it’s no wonder why the festival has become such a popular event to kick off summer in Alabama and beyond.



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Hot Air Balloon Jubilee Classic Returns to Decatur (2022) – Video courtesy of WHNT News 19


Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival | This is Alabama – Video courtesy of This is Alabama


Show 525A – Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic on Simply Southern Video courtesy of Simply Southern

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The #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors Are Your Local Guides to Decatur and Beyond


The #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors Are Your Local Guides to Decatur and Beyond

By: Lillie Beth Warner, Communications Director, Decatur Morgan County Tourism

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Have you met the new #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors? Decatur Morgan County Tourism (DMCT) has launched an ambassador program featuring local photographers, influencers, and travel writers to showcase Decatur and its surrounding areas.

These ambassadors will share the city from the “local’s perspective,” revealing and exploring all sorts of fun things to do in Decatur.

The #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors have been selected through an application process and review of each ambassador’s unique influence. They are located across Morgan County and come from all walks of life, including adventurers, photographers, kayaking enthusiasts, parents, and much more.

Danielle Gibson, President/CEO of Decatur Morgan County Tourism, shares, “A #VisitDecaturAL Ambassador is someone who represents Decatur and Morgan County well through their photos on social media. It’s someone who explores, seeks adventure, captures the beauty of Decatur and Morgan County, and shares it with the rest of us. It’s someone who ultimately makes us want to go out and explore for ourselves.”

According to Gibson, these ambassadors will work with DMCT to help inspire and motivate locals and visitors through social media, on the DMCT blog, and in their communities.

Whether you want to find the best places to eat or a fun spot to take the family, the #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors know it all.

The #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors have been selected through an application process and review of each ambassador’s unique influence. They are located across Morgan County and come from all walks of life, including adventurers, photographers, kayaking enthusiasts, parents, and much more.

Danielle Gibson, President/CEO of Decatur Morgan County Tourism, shares, “A #VisitDecaturAL Ambassador is someone who represents Decatur and Morgan County well through their photos on social media. It’s someone who explores, seeks adventure, captures the beauty of Decatur and Morgan County, and shares it with the rest of us. It’s someone who ultimately makes us want to go out and explore for ourselves.”

According to Gibson, these ambassadors will work with DMCT to help inspire and motivate locals and visitors through social media, on the DMCT blog, and in their communities.

Meet the 2023 #VisitDecaturAL Ambassadors!

  • Chelsea Webster

    Chelsea is from New Market, Alabama. She works as a program manager for a DoD company in Huntsville. In her free time, she enjoys fishing, boating, and hanging out with her four pups.

  • Cheyenne Sanchez

    Cheyenne Sanchez: Cheyenne was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama. Cheyenne is a community educator for Affinity Hospice and is actively involved in her church worship and outreach ministries. She is also the president and co-founder of Young Professionals of Decatur. She is passionate about helping people find their purpose and impacting her community.

  • Connie Pearson

    Connie is a freelance travel/food writer and blogger with her own website, There Goes Connie. She and her veterinarian husband, Steve, live in Hartselle, Alabama, and share 14 fantastic grandchildren. Connie loves discovering the restaurants, history, culture, art, music, and accommodations of the places where she travels that reflect the uniqueness of the destination. 

  • Dan Truitt

    Dan was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama. He is employed as a software developer by the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc., in Decatur, where he has worked for the past 14 years. Besides kayaking, he likes to stay active with his church by teaching classes.

  • Gina Panattoni

    Gina was born in Illinois, but her family moved to North Alabama when she was just 3 months old. She moved to Decatur in the early ’90s and has called it home ever since. Gina participates in multiple hiking challenges throughout the year. Whether she’s hiking, kayaking, backpacking, or biking, you’ll usually find Gina outside with a camera in hand.

  • Glenn Mitchell

    Glenn is a native of Los Angeles, California, but has called North Alabama her home for the past 30 years. She has owned several small businesses in the area, including her current salon and photography studio in downtown Decatur. She is the founder and curator of The Chasing Art Project, a street art project launched in Decatur.

  • Hillary Borden

    Hillary is a Realtor with RealtySouth. She also assists with events at the Cook Museum of Natural Science. Hillary has lived in Decatur since 2016 with her husband, son, and daughter. They are always out and about enjoying the Tennessee Valley area, whether kayaking, hiking, or volunteering in the local community.

  • Jennifer Brown

    Jennifer is a native of Detroit and moved to Alabama in 2007. She currently works at St. Ann Catholic School as a business administrator and art teacher. In her free time, Jennifer loves traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking, attending concerts, cooking, photography, and, most of all, spending time with her children.

  • Jonte Swope

    Jonte is a commercial editorial, lifestyle, fashion, and concert photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee, and Northern Alabama (Decatur, Huntsville, Athens). He offers images for artists, couples, seniors, and families, as well as live events. With a photojournalistic approach, he is able to capture the personality of his subjects through their beauty. He has always lived by the saying: Capturing life…as it happens.

  • Keilee Terry

    Keilee is a small business owner, content creator, Assistant Children’s Director at The Church at Stone River, and Social Media Manager for Decatur Morgan County Tourism. As a lifelong Decatur resident, she loves this city and serving her community. Keilee especially loves Decatur’s rich history, diversity, and appreciation for the arts.

To learn more about the #VisitDecaturAL Ambassador program and discover how to become an ambassador, visit the Decatur Morgan County Tourism website.


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Find your flow in Decatur – Video courtesy of Decatur Morgan County Tourism


i don’t want summer to end… – Video courtesy of @jonteswoope on Instagram

There are so many AWESOME things to do in Decatur! – Video courtesy of @keileet on Instagram

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