Walking tours get moving

Starting June 9, Alabamians will lace up their tennis shoes and hit notable streets across the state.

As part of an initiative of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, 30 cities, including Columbiana and Wilsonville, are hosting the annual Saturday Walking Tours through historic districts and courthouse squares.

&8220;It&8217;s sort of an initiative to help some smaller towns, and even some of the larger cities in their downtown areas, have an event to bring people into them,&8221; said Brian Jones, marketing representative for the bureau. &8220;It&8217;s a great way for visitors, and for people who have even lived there for awhile, to get to know their own hometown.&8221;

This is Columbiana&8217;s third year to participate and Wilsonville&8217;s first.

&8220;The tours provide an inexpensive way for cities to promote themselves to both residents and outsiders, and the most enjoyable thing about the tours is hearing the stories of the long-time residents&8212;true or untrue,&8221; said Stacy Walkup of the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. &8220;It enables the history of those seniors in the community to live on, and it also educates the younger people or the new folks in town about some of the history of the community.&8221;

Wilsonville holds tours June 9, 16 and 23. They start at 10 a.m. at the Shear Elegance Beauty Shop, where owner Patty Barnett keeps a collection of old-fashioned curlers, razors and other barbershop antiques.

Other stops include the downtown retail area, Densler House, Baptist and Methodist churches, cemetery, Town Hall and grocery store.

Columbiana&8217;s tour runs in conjunction with Liberty Day on June 30. Led by councilman Tom Seale and his wife, Brenda, along with long-time resident Sonya Lefkovits, it starts at 10 a.m. at the Jeanette Niven House. Stops include the Hotel Varner, the Shelby County Reporter, the Buck Faulkner home, downtown renovation spots and the Baptist and Methodist churches.

Walkup said tours should last about one hour. Some van transportation is available in Wilsonville. For more information on the tours, call the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at 669-9075