Chelsea celebrates with Small Towns and Downtowns event

Chelsea citizens came out by the hundreds to enjoy the sunny weather and the city’s first Celebrate Chelsea event March 6, which doubled as part of the statewide 2010 Small Towns and Downtowns initiative.

Chelsea council member and event organizer Juanita Champion said she knew the event was a success because she had 92 vendors, which included churches, businesses and sellers.

The event also showcased the city’s cookbook, “A Taste of Chelsea,” which sold very well. Champion said she expected the 1,000 copies to be nearly sold out by the end of the day.

She said the public response to the event was positive.

“(They were saying) how great it was and how much they’re enjoying it,” she said. “Most people are commenting about the weather.”

Grey Brennan, marketing and regional director for the Alabama Tourism Department, came out to support the event as part of Small Towns and Downtowns.

Brennan said he was impressed with how Chelsea officials embraced the tourism department’s goal of showing off Alabama’s communities.

“This is a great example of what promoting small towns and downtowns is all about,” Brennan said. “People have pride in their community, and we want to promote that.”

He said the best way to promote tourism is for citizens to be connected to their hometowns through such events.

“The hospitality in Alabama is something we’re really known for,” he said. “We’re very proud of Chelsea and how they started this event. We take a little pride in that we gave them a reason to start this event.”

The city also dedicated a historical marker from the Alabama Tourism Department and honored past council members.

Champion said Celebrate Chelsea would definitely be considered to come back next year.

“The mayor expects it to be an annual event,” she said.