Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ring in 2012 at Piccolo
There will be a reception in Piccolo with Cash Bar, a Five-Course Dinner with Champagne Toast at midnight, Live Jazz in Piccolo (9p.m.-Midnight). $75 per person.

"Scampi" Prawn, remoulade, cipollini onion jam, focaccia Genovese; "Raviolo alla Uovo" Quail egg, ricotta, sage, pancetta, white truffle butter; "Basil Lemon Intermezzo"; "Tonno alla Arancini" Lobster essence, leeks, arancini, blood orange or "Bistecca alla Fiorentina" Beef porterhouse, borlotti bean salad, cipollini onions, arugula; Pastry Chef Adelle Bonilla's Champagne Trio. (334) 321.3179 

New Year's Eve Celebration at the Event Center Downtown Opelika
Join us to watch the Bowl game on the big screen and flat screens. AU Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers starts at 6:30PM CST Halftime - Tunes of David Ellis. Post Game – Wanna Dance? featuring Original Cover Band, a 7 member band from Atlanta. With musical roots stretching across multiple genres, this versatile group of award winning musicians and vocalists bring you the best in get up, get moving party music. Doors open at 6:00PM - 1:00AM. Tickets: $40 Includes: 6PM- 9PM Tailgate Food/BBQ 11PM - 1:00AM - Breakfast Buffet, Midnight - Champagne Toast. Reservations by Dec 30th. (334)705.5466

Hamilton's on Magnolia will be open for New Year's Eve and will celebrate with live music!

Maestro 2300 is celebrating New Year's Eve with the Ben Sutton Band, two dinner seatings (6pm and 8:30pm) and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. (334) 821.4448

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas time is here!

Auburn and Opelika have so many great Christmas and holiday events coming up! Make your list and check it twice so you can be sure to attend them all!

Christmas in Camelot
November 28-December 31 from 4:30-10 pm at the Camelot Subdivision off Rocky Brook Road
The Camelot Subdivision off of Rocky Brook Road decorates the entire neighborhood for “Christmas in Camelot” each year. There are approximately 55 homes in the neighborhood with lighted signs in the front yard with various seasonal scenes. In addition, many of the homes are extensively decorated inside and out with lights illuminating the homes. Follow directional signs and enjoy!

Santa & A Movie!
Enjoy Santa and a movie at Frog Legs on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in December from 9-11 a.m. The cost is $5+tax and a snack is included. Frog Legs is located at 467 N Dean Road in Auburn. Call 334-887-3764 for additional information.

Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour
Lighted Driving Tour: Wednesday December 7 - Friday December 9 & Sunday December 11 from 5-10pm.
Walking Tour: Saturday December 10 from 6-9 pm
See the historic Victorian homes of Opelika transformed into an Old World Christmas wonderland. Over 60 turn-of-the-century homes are adorned with life-size Santas, angels, toys, carousel horses and other figures. Already having been featured in Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens, the tour has since been voted one of the Southeast’s top tourism events. This unique event is now in its 18th year and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors annually. THIS YEAR FIVE NEW DISPLAYS WILL BE UNVEILED! A self-directed driving or walking tour, the event includes live entertainment, carolers, costumed homeowners and other festivities. Streets are closed Saturday, weather permitting for walking tours only. The tour begins at North 8th Street and 2nd Avenue and includes over ten city blocks. Admission to this spectacular production is free.

17th Annual Christmas in a Railroad Town
Friday, Devember 9th from  6-9pm downtown Opelika
Whether you’re a young child or a big kid at heart – there will be activities for everyone at this great night out in historic downtown Opelika. Join us for the 17th annual Christmas in a Railroad Town. Visit with friends and dine on traditional Victorian era food. Bring the kids to write their letters to Santa, enjoy pony rides, caroling and more! Downtown restaurants will be open for dining! Local retail shops will be open till 9 for all your Christmas needs. And everyone gets to see Santa and Mrs. Claus to have their photo taken! Be transported back in time and take a wagon ride through the Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour. Leave straight from Christmas in a Railroad Town and be delivered back once you’re done.

5th Annual Breakfast with Santa at the Marriott at Grand National
This event offers a full breakfast buffet to include pancake and waffle stations, fun crafts for the children and picture opportunities with jolly Ole St. Nick. Seating times are 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and the price is $13.95 per person. Children 5 and under are free. For reservations or more information, please call (334) 737-2132.

Downtown Auburn Christmas Parade
Join us in downtown Auburn Friday, December 10 at 10am to celebrate the season with the annual Auburn Christmas Parade. After the parade, enjoy the special events and holiday shopping offered by downtown merchants.

5th Annual Loveliest Village Christmas Tour of Homes and Buildings
The 5th Annual Loveliest Village Christmas Tour of Homes and Buildings 2011 is hosted by the Auburn Preservation League (APL). The tour will feature eight homes and buildings in the Auburn area, including the residences of Jane and Don Barringer, Kay and Richard Guthrie, Gayle and George Hammitt, Dr. Phillip Hajek and Debbie Hajek, Becky and Ed Lewis, and Meredith Luck. Other featured buildings include the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building on the campus of Auburn University and St. Dunstan’s – The Episcopal Church at Auburn University. Musicians from St. Dunstan’s will provide Advent music on Saturday and Cross Road Community Church’s choir will sing Christmas music on Sunday afternoon.

Tickets for the tour, which will run from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday and 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Sunday, will go on sale on Friday, November 25 and can be purchased for $20 at The Villager and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. Tickets will be also be available at each home on the days of the tour. The tour is a fundraiser for the APL, whose purpose is to foster historic preservation and to promote cooperation in combining the resources of local government, organizations, associations, businesses and citizens in order to enhance the quality and beauty of the Auburn community. For more information about membership in the Auburn Preservation League, visit the website www.auburnpreservationleague.org.

Teddy Bear Teas at Piccolo in the AU Hotel
December 10- 11, 17-18, 21-23
Children and parents alike, along with their favorite teddy bears, are invited to gather around the fireplace and enjoy sandwiches, sweets, cookies, tea and hot cocoa at this old-fashioned high tea. The kid-friendly menu features Ham and Swiss on Whole Wheat, Peanut Butter and Jelly on Pullman White, and assorted mini cookies and brownies. Parents are invited to nosh on Country Ham on Rye with Asparagus and Whole Grain Mustard, Cucumber Sandwiches, Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants, and a selection of mini pastries.

A real live Teddy Bear and Christmas Elf, who hail from the Auburn University Theatre Department, will provide entertainment and be there for everyone to snuggle up to. The Teddy Bear will pose for pictures with fans, while Santa’s Elf will sing holiday songs with the children and read stories in front of the fireplace. The price of the Teddy Bear Teas is $20 per person. For additional information about the Teddy Bear Teas call 334.321.3179

Collinwood Luminaries
December 15 from 5-9pm in the Collinwood Neighborhood in Opelika
Collinwood neighborhood in Opelika will celebrate its 44th year hosting the Luminaries. On Thursday from 5-9 pm the public can drive through candle lit roads commemorating the path of Christ's birth. Live scenes are portrayed along the way. Area residents are invited to enjoy this beautiful event, Thursday, Dec. 15th from 5-9 pm

For all the information, web links and more info on these great Christmas events visit www.aotourism.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things to do Auburn Homecoming Weekend

2011 Hudson Family Foundation Homecoming Concerts

The Hudson Family Foundation is proud to present Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, and special guest Auburn alumni and country music recording star, Drake White for the Inaugural Hudson Family Foundation Concert, November 17, 2011 at the Auburn Arena.

The first of the concerts will begin the evening of Thursday, Nov. 17. Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert will perform at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Gates will open at 8:45. Tickets for the concert are $20 and $30 and can be purchased by emailing brenthallgroup@gmail.com.

Luke Bryan will perform Friday, Nov. 18, at the Auburn Arena in a concert beginning at 6:45 p.m. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $30 to $40. Tickets for this event are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.hudsonfamilyfoundation.com for all the info!

2nd Annual Auburn University Homecoming Parade
This fun and exciting parade Friday, Nov. 18 will feature ODK Float competition, AU Marching Band, Tiger Paws, AU cheerleaders, AUDM (Auburn University Dance Marathon), Beat Bama Food Drive, and Homecoming Candidates. Head downtown Auburn to see this exciting parade beginning at 5 pm!
You're Invited to the SIXTH annual Department of Communication and Journalism Homecoming tailgate and to the 22nd annual journalism/The Auburn Plainsman open house-reunion.

Who:  Journalism, Public Relations, COMM and RTVF majors, and any others; former Auburn Plainsman, WEGL and Eagle Eye staffers; and spouses, relatives and friends of all of the above.
What:  Snacks, good time, good company.
When:  Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, starting two hours before game time and continuing up until 30 minutes before kickoff of the Auburn-Samford Homecoming game.
Where:  We will gather on the lawn in front of Tichenor Hall.

Football, Fans and Feathers
During "Football, Fans and Feathers," visitors learn about the residents of the Southeastern Raptor Center. Hawks, falcons and eagles will be free-flown from flight towers allowing guests to see these raptors flying close.

Admission is $5 each and registration is not required. For school groups of 25 of more, admission is $3 a person. For information about school groups, call (334) 844-6943. Children under three are admitted free. Friday, November 18 at 4 p.m. in the 350-seat Edgar B. Carter Educational Amphitheater on Raptor Road off Shug Jordan Parkway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trick or Treat

Did you know Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America? Now, chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers as number one. It's no wonder Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States with all these great area events below!

Fall Festival & Children’s Carnival
What: Come enjoy this safe alternative to Trick or Treating! Children wear costumes and bring a treat bag! Visit with local mascots and enjoy musical entertainment by Route 66. Ages: Children age 12 and under. Come for hayrides, miniature train rides, prizes, games, inflatable giant slide, moon walk, fun with Spiderman dunking booth, fishing booth and apple bobbing and so much more.
Tickets: 25 cents per ticket. Bring everyone out for a great night of food, fun and fellowship!
When: October 25, 6-8pm
Where: W. James Samford Soccer Complex at the Opelika SportsPlex

What: Join the Auburn Chamber for a good old fashioned Oktoberfest with authentic German fare! We'll have bratwurst & sauerkraut, German brew and dancing to the sounds of Kidd Blue!
Tickets: $15. Please call the Chamber 334.884.7011 or email tangela@auburnchamber.com by October 20 to make your reservations.
When: October 27, 5:30- 8:30 pm
Where: Technology Park South

OrangeFest 2011
What: OrangeFest 2011 is an annual Trinity Family event open to the entire Opelika/Auburn Community. Free admission, activities and food! Featuring Trunk or Treat! Donations of non-parishable food to benefit the East Alabama Food Bank welcome.
When: October 30, 4-7pm
Where: Trinity United Methodist Church of Opelika, 800 2nd Avenue

5th Annual Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest
What: Bring out your pooch in their best dressed costume this Halloween! Registration is from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. in front of Taylor Made Design. Canine Trick or Treating at local downtown merchants will begin at 5:00 p.m. Stores will have special dog treats available. The costume contest begins at 6:00 p.m. Prizes will be given for the best costumes!!! A supporter donation is $10 and allows your canine to walk in the parade. A V.I.P. or “Very Important Pooch” can be registered for $25. This ensures that your pup will be one of the first in line to show off their costume. Pre-registration begins Monday, October 1, 2011 at Taylor Made Designs at 120 S. 8th St.
When: October 31, 5-7 pm
Where: 8th Street and Railroad Avenue, Downtown Opelika

Opelika City Wide Halloween
What: City-wide Trick or Treat Night in Opelika. All Trick-or-Treat activities are for children 12 and under, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
When: October 31, 5-8pm
Where: Opelika

11th Annual Downtown Trick or Treat
What: Bring your monsters, stars, warriors and clowns to the best party in town. Join us in this excellent alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating. Downtown merchants will provide treats for the children and delightful sounds from our “special” entertainment will fill the night air. Also, don’t miss out on your chance to win the “Best Costume” contest! This event is FREE and parents must accompany their children.
When: October 31, 6-8pm
Where: Downtown Auburn

Friday, September 30, 2011

Win your Auburn vs Florida tickets today!

It's that year again... the year when the Florida Gators roll onto the Plains to play our Auburn Tigers. We don't get to see this game every year, or even every other year sometimes. So in honor of good and healthy competition this year.... we have gotten our paws on some tickets and plan to give them away to YOU.

The Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau is all about giving away tickets and prizes to our loyal fans and followers. So this time, we've put together what we call the Auburn vs Florida Weekend Getaway Package! This package includes two tickets to the game on October 15, overnight accommodations, a gift certificate to one of our Top 10 Eats restaurants and an AU prize pack complete with great Auburn gear!

Since there is only one winner for the weekend getaway package above, we decided we needed more tickets! We have two sets of two tickets to give away for the game as our second giveaway. Register now for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the game along with some great Auburn gear. Again, there are two sets of tickets up for grabs, so this prize will be awarded to two winners.

Rules and conditions: Visit www.aotourism.com/promotions. If you are a new user, you must sign up with a user name and password- this is so we have your information on file to contact you. After you register, choose the promotion you would like to sign up for and follow the instructions on the screen. If you have registered for a promotion with us before just log in, click which prize you would like to register for and follow the instructions from there! You ARE allowed to sign up for both packages. Winner will be chosen at random and will be notified when the contest ends Friday, October 7 at 2 pm. Winner must be able to attend the game or another winner will be chosen. Tickets are not to be sold for profit. Questions? E-mail me news@aotourism.com

Hey, maybe we can beat em by a field goal again? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun Fall Events!

Fall Sundown Concert Series
Auburn Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce its line-up for the Fall Concert Series at Kiesel Park. The series kicked off Thursday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. with a FREE performance by Satin Soul and continues every Thursday evening throughout September and October, weather permitting. This year's roster of talented local and regional musicians includes:
Sept. 15- Satin Soul
Sept. 22- John & the Conners
Sept. 29- The Good Doctor
Oct. 6- Dave Potts
Oct. 13- Auburn Knights Orchestra
Oct. 20- Muse
Oct. 27- Tony Brook Band

The Fall Concert Series is one of two annual series hosted by Auburn Parks and Recreation. The concerts began as a way for citizens to enjoy free entertainment and experience Auburn's parks in a new way. All concerts are FREE and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic. Dogs are welcome.

Oktoberfest at Ariccia
The Hotel at Auburn University and Ariccia will be hosting OktoberFest on Friday, September 30. Please join us at the pool from 5:30 to 8:00pm for live music by Patrick Bruce. Local and national breweries will provide craft beer samples that will be paired with gourmet small bites to complement each beer. Craft beer samples will be provided by: Abita beer, Back Forty Beer Co, SweetWater Brewing Company, Blue Pants Brewery, Straight to Ale, Tallgrass Brewing Co, Yellow Hammer Brewing. Tickets will be available at the door for $39. Please call or pre-ordering and additional information 334.321.3179

On the Tracks

"On the Tracks" is a Biannual Food & Wine Festival held on Friday Night at the Historic Downtown Opelika, Alabama from 6pm 'til 11pm . Our first 11 events drew hundreds to Historic Downtown Opelika for this outdoor event. Food vendors lined the street, as live music was performed from a stage in the middle of the Railroad Avenue. A wine tasting trail took participants through quaint shops and galleries. The private corporate tables draw friends and co-workers together for an elegant night of fun. Entrance, food and beverages are priced accordingly. Trail tickets are available online or on the night of the event- www.onthetracks.org

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food for Thought... or tailgating

Every year when football season rolls around, my friends and I plan our tailgates. Without a doubt, I am always begged to bring my "Seven Layer Taco Dip." I cannot completely take credit for the recipe as it originated from someone other than me. However, I have tweaked it to be my own and wanted to share it with you. It is SO easy, you can make it the night before, and I can guarantee it will be gone within an hour.

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1-2 bags tortilla chips
9x13 foil pan

1.  Take can of refried beans and spread as bottom layer in the 9x13 pan. (I use the foil pan so I can just throw it out when the dip is gone... because it is ALWAYS gone.)
2. Mix softened cream cheese, sour cream and package of taco seasoning together. Spread mixture as second layer on top of the beans.
3. Top the bottom two layers with salsa.
4. Place a layer of tomato, green onions and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives. (You can add or remove ingredients. I like to add diced jalapenos! You may also add a layer of guacamole or lettuce if you please!)

I am by no means the next Emeril, Paula Deen or Food Network Star, but I have a few recipes up my sleeve. If you need any more ideas, recipes or have questions, just ask! laura@aotourism.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Best: to outdo, outflank, trump, beat out, crush, trounce. Synonyms: Auburn

What do Southern Living, Sports Illustrated and The Atlanta Journal all have in common? They see the Auburn that the rest of us see, and they LOVE it.

This week Southern Living named Auburn as one of the 'Best College Towns.' The criteria? "A population under 200,000 so that the school has an incredibly strong impact on the town. A lively local scene with good, affordable restaurants, independent boutiques, and support of the arts. A dedicated and active alumni base. A healthy dose of Southern charm." In a nutshell, that's Auburn! Check out the full story here.

Sports Illustrated can't seem to get enough Auburn and our traditions. Auburn has been named number 6 of 10 'Best Game Days' and we can't agree more! Keep up the good work Auburn fans. Full story here.

Sports Illustrated also named the Top 10 'Best Traditions' in College Football. Auburn fell right into the number 2 slot with our WAR EAGLE battle cry! I don't care if you even like Auburn, seeing that eagle fly and hearing the crowd roar is unforgettable. This tradition can give even the biggest Alabama fan goosebumps. 

Hit by a snowstorm
The Atlanta Journal travel section featured a story on Auburn just last week. Once again, Auburn prevails as the best of the best when it comes to traditions. Author Blake Guthrie speaks of Auburn as a place "steeped in tradition," and he says after an Auburn win Toomer's appears as though it "has been hit by a snow storm." Of any of the above, this is a must read.

We get e-mails and read stories frequently about the Auburn Family and the community. We know this is a place of tradition, that we have some of the best and most respectable fans, and that game day on the Plains is the best of the best. Keep up the good work Auburn and the surrounding community. "They" can say whatever they want and rank us however they please, but they can't take away our traditions and value.

Only 10 days until kickoff. Can I get a WAAAAARRR EAGLE?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Family!

It’s that time again! At the end of every summer in the Auburn-Opelika area I am suddenly stunned by the time added onto my drive to work… then the amount of cars on the road… followed by the impending doom of landing behind a school bus or Tiger Transit. 

My dorm room in 2006
Time to go back to school! I give the incoming freshman at Auburn University a warm welcome to the land I love and now call home. I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. My parents drove me down from Chicago, helped me move into the dorm and headed back home. Reality sank in about 5 minutes after they left that I was totally alone... and knew absolutely no one.  I give a round of applause to the University for always encouraging me to get involved, pushing me to meet new people and offering FREE events & food left and right. However, it was nothing like what it is today. 

Welcome Week for Auburn University students is August 13-20. Events range from a discount on lemonade at Toomer’s Corner to movie night in the Student Center Green Space. Get involved! Go to at least ONE of the events the wonderful people of Auburn University and the surrounding community have planned for you.

Follow this link to find all 82 events that take place in only a 7 day span!! Below, I have highlighted at least one event I would suggest you attend for each day. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13
Welcome Week Kickoff
5:30-8 pm in the Student Center Ballroom
It’s time to kick off Welcome Week! Once you are done moving in, come to the kickoff for live entertainment, food and fun! Students and families are encouraged to attend.

Sunday, August 14
Fan Day
2-4 pm at the Auburn Arena
Meet and get photographs from the 2011 Auburn football, soccer and volleyball teams and coaches. Fans will also have an opportunity to meet and get autographs from the 2011 Auburn University Cheerleaders, Tiger Paws and Aubie.

Monday, August 15
Toomer’s Tradition
Toomer’s Drugs- 100 N. College Street (Off Campus)
Come cool off with Toomer’s lemonade. Purchase a large lemonade all day for the price of a small.

Exclusive Target After-Hours Shopping Event, just for Auburn University
10:30pm-12:30am at Target in Tiger Town (Off Campus)
The Target After-Hours event is the perfect opportunity to get everything you need for a smart start to school, save time, money and meet lots of new people! Target will offer FREE buses every 20 minutes from the Hill, Quad and Village to Target (and back of course)! Free refreshments, great prizes, a gift bag and the whole place to yourself. Shop Target!

Tuesday, August 16
Screen on the Green
8 pm at the Student Center Green Space (Rain location: Student Center Ballroom)
Come and see the blockbuster hit, Fast Five, on the big screen. Bring a chair or blanket and your friends as the UPC presents a night of free entertainment. Free food will be provided for the first 750 students.

Wednesday, August 17
Trivia Night
7 pm Village Dining Hall
Have fun while testing your knowledge as you compete for prizes. More than $600 in cash and other prizes will be given away to event attendees. Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, August 18
War Eagle T-Shirt Exchange
10am- 2pm in the Student Center- 2nd floor
As a way to welcome you to the Auburn Family, we’re offering an exchange of opposing college or university t-shirts for an Auburn t-shirt for free. To participate, bring a t-shirt from another college or university and make the exchange. Shirts will be donated to Alabama tornado victims. Limited quantities available for trade!

Friday, August 19
Block Party
6:30pm at the Student Center Green Space (Rain location: Student Center)
This event gives students the opportunity to meet new people and have a little fun during the chaos of starting a new semester. There will be inflatables and a variety of free food. You can enjoy live entertainment, connect with other students and learn how to get involved on campus.

Saturday, August 20
6pm at the Auburn Wesley Foundation- 131 S. Gay Street (Off Campus)
Join us for a Southern-style luau! We’ll have great free food, volleyball and other shenanigans. This is a great way to meet new faces. Hula skirt not required.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shop Local, Celebrate Local

The Villager, downtown Auburn
Have you heard? The Villager of Auburn, AL. was honored as having the Best Visual Display/Store Makeover in the Nation by NICHE magazine’s 2011 Top Retailers competition. Congratulations to owner Ingrid Brown and all The Villager employees!

Join Auburn Parks and Recreation as we send summer out in style at the Farewell Summer Block Party on Thursday, August 4 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Town Creek Park. Enjoy a FREE concert with music from Summer Breeze and purchase food from Chick-fil-A. The Southeastern Raptor Center will kick off the event with a brief educational program and a hawk and owl release.

But back to shopping …. on of my favorite things! The sales tax holiday for Auburn and Opelika is August 5-7! You can shop downtown, at Village Mall, Tiger Town and more! So stop all that ordering online and support your local retailers.

For a complete list of your favorite shops in the area, visit www.aotourism.com/shopping!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why I love Auburn & Opelika

No sugar coating... no fluff. I really and truly love this place. As a native of Chicago, (yes, I am forever stuck with a Midwestern accent) I have learned to appreciate all of the amazing things that the South and this area have to offer. So, here is a list of the things I love.

-Summertime. When the mass amount of students (I was one of them just a year ago) clear out, the drive to work is cut in half and the weather is H-O-T.

-Drinks and 'small plates' at Piccolo.

-Eating. I love food. Our 'Top 10 Eats' restaurants are simply the best. My favorite cheap eats would be Toomer's Drug while I prefer to be wined and dined at Cafe 123 downtown Opelika.

-Azaleas... especially the ones in front of Samford Hall.

-My co-workers. Nope, no one paid me to say that. They simply are the best. Everyone who knows them reminds me frequently 'how lucky I am,' and I agree!

-The farmers market at Ag Heritage Park and at the Courthouse Square in Opelika. Support your local farmers AND get delicious food? Count me in!

-Free parking downtown at certain times of year... because it gives me an excuse to go shop!

-Kiesel Park, dog park heaven for my sweet dog Lady.

-Free events.  SummerNight Downtown Art Walk in Auburn, Noon Tunes in Opelika, Summer Swing in Opelika and the list goes on...

My favorite mascot
-Aubie. Hands down the coolest mascot. I don't care if you are 4 years old or 80 years old... you know you smile when you see him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Auburn-Opelika selected to host the 2012 Miss Alabama USA ® and Miss Alabama Teen USA ® pageants

Barron Rae Williams (left) and Madeline Mitchell (Right)
The city of Auburn  has been selected as the official host city of the Miss Alabama USA and Miss Alabama Teen USA pageants, which will take place November 4-6, 2011, at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. The pageants are the official state preliminaries to the Miss USA ® and Miss Teen USA ® pageants, which are part of the Miss Universe Organization, an NBC Universal and Donald J. Trump Partnership.  Miss Alabama USA 2011, Madeline Mitchell, was named 2nd runner up at the nationally-televised Miss USA pageant, and Miss Alabama Teen USA 2011, Barron Rae Williams, is competing for the Miss Teen USA crown, which will be presented at the Atlantis Resort Bahamas.

The pageants will feature an estimated 150 contestants between the ages of 14-26, who will compete in interview, swimsuit, and evening gown competitions. They will be competing for thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes as well as the opportunity to travel the state promoting the pageants and its charitable alliances and the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent the state of Alabama at the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageants.

In addition to a new host city, the pageant is adding another exciting change. The Miss Alabama USA & Miss Alabama Teen USA “Little Sisters” program is a non-competitive mentoring program for girls 5-12. “Every little girl lights up whenever they catch a glimpse of the sparkle in the crown,” said Dye. “The addition of the Little Sisters program will give them an opportunity to spend the weekend playing princess with their very special Big Sisters.”

“The essence of Miss Alabama USA and Miss Alabama Teen USA is of beauty, grace and charm, and I believe that Auburn embodies those same qualities,” said Dye. “The staff of the Tourism Bureau and the Auburn community as a whole have been exceptional. I feel very confident that the contestants will fall in love with Auburn.”

“The Auburn-Opelika area is extremely proud to be the new home for the Miss Alabama USA and Miss Alabama Teen USA pageants. This event will again place us on the national level of events,” said John Wild, president of the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau. “Our staff looks forward to working with Mr. Dye and the entire organization. This is the type event we work to bring to the area, not only creating lodging tax but an estimated $750,000-900,000 in economic impact.” For more information, contact Dohn Dye at 205-826-2992.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Your Auburn Graduation Survival Guide

Commencement will take place Saturday, August 6 in the Auburn Arena. There will be TWO graduation ceremonies (see below).

10:00 A.M. Ceremony
-Architecture, Design, & Construction      
-Forestry & Wildlife Sciences                               
-Liberal Arts                                                      
-Sciences & Mathematics 
-Graduate Students within these colleges/schools

2:00 P.M. Ceremony
-Human Sciences
-Graduate Students within these colleges/schools


 AU Graduation in the Auburn Arena
Hotel rooms are filling up fast. While this information is subject to change, we currently have found open space for Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6 for Auburn University graduation in the following hotels:

Sleep Inn 501-7171
Microtel 826-1444
Quality Inn 821-6699
Hometown Suites 826-1133
Jameson Inn 502-5020

Microtel   745-0415
Studio 6   737-6040
Comfort Inn   741-9977
*all area codes 334
Niffer's Place- Top 10 Must Eat Restaurant

-Looking for incomparable dining? Check out our Top 10 Must Eats here.
-If you have a large group or party we suggest the following restaurants, which can be found in ‘all other dining’ above. Provino’s, Niffer’s, Amsterdam CafĂ©, Ariccia in the AU Hotel, Zazu and Jimmy’s. Call today because space fills quickly!
-A list of all the area restaurants, including great places that offer catering, can be found here.

-Auburn Alumni Association Membership- Call today for your life or year membership (334)844-2960.
-Tiger Rags, J&M Bookstore, Big Blue Bookstore, Anders Bookstore and more! Find great Auburn Alumni gear at all the bookstores in Auburn. Some also offer custom framing of your grads diploma!
-Auburn Art- Find great Auburn prints, jewelry and much more at this store downtown Auburn and online at www.auburnart.com.
-Have family or friends that cannot attend? No problem! Direct them to this site the day of graduation and they can watch it live!

Please be aware there are other area events going on the same weekend as graduation. Expect slower traffic, more people and longer lines at dinner. No matter what, we guarantee you will still have just as much fun as usual!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

July 4th is finally around the corner!

The annual Freedom Celebration in Opelika will be held this Friday, July 1 at the Opelika High School Football practice field. Musical entertainment by MUSE. Fun and entertainment is guaranteed at this great event with Buddy Blue and the Opelika Sky Divers performances beginning at 7:30 pm. The fireworks show will begin at dark. Head out to Opelika to enjoy inflatable games and activities for the entire family, hamburgers and hot dogs,  music, entertainment, great food and The Ultimate Fireworks Show! This event is free to the public.

Following this celebration will be the Auburn 4th of July Celebration. On Monday the 4th, celebrate Independence Day with the entire Auburn Community, Auburn Parks and Recreation, and Briggs and Stratton beginning at 6 p.m. behind the home side of Duck Samford Football Stadium. Enjoy great food, live music, free goodies - courtesy of Briggs and Stratton, and THE best fireworks display in the area!
Don’t miss out on musical entertainment by The Weston Burt Band!  The band takes the stage for a FREE live performance beginning at 7 p.m. Admission to this event is FREE, so grab your picnic basket, blanket, and the family and join us for a fabulous night of entertainment and a chance to show your patriotic spirit! Gates open at 6 p.m. Entertainment begins at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. In the event of rain, the fireworks will be rescheduled on Tuesday, July 5 at 9 p.m.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Celebrate summer with these great area events!

The Alabama Blues Brothers Show
Friday, June 17 at the Event Center Downtown Opelika.- The Alabama Blues Brothers are Jamey and Justin Crisler, the nation's only "ACTUAL" Brothers performing as a Blues Brothers Tribute.
Tickets Available: $25 in advance by June 13 and $30 after June 13. Price includes concert and meal with featured caterer Byron's Smokehouse BBQ. Doors open at 6:00pm. Food will be available from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Entertainment starts at 7:30pm and plays until 10:30pm

5th Annual SummerNight Downtown Art Walk
The 5th Annual SummerNight Downtown Art Walk on Friday, June 17 from 6 – 9:30 p.m. SummerNight is a great event for the Auburn community to delight in what the City has to offer. Artists are invited to sell and display their work and downtown businesses are encouraged to offer specials and incentives for late-night shoppers.

For more information, please contact the Arts Center at 501-2963 or visit www.auburnalabama.org/arts.

Summer Swing
Every Tuesday evening the Opelika Parks and Recreation Department hosts a free outdoor concert at 7:00 p.m. at Municipal Park in Opelika Alabama. This 15-week concert series offers a wide variety of musical entertainment including Gospel, Jazz, R & B, Praise and Worship, Oldies, Country, Big Band Swing, Folk and Community Band music.

The Opelika Band Boosters will prepare hamburgers and hotdogs in the park for a nominal fee from 6:15-7:30 p.m. These are ideal for a family picnic and the home-made ice cream is delicious. RBC Bank of Opelika will provide complimentary lemonade during the concerts.
June Schedule
June 14- Route 66
June 21- The Fedoras
June 28- Bill J. Brooks- Elvis Lives Concert

All this information and more can be found at www.aotourism.com/calendar

Did you know... June is known for the large number of marriages that occur over the course of the month?