Through social media, folks have seen the fun we have at Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend, and they say, “Hey, I want to come to Vernon.”
However, then, they follow it up with, “Where is Vernon?” I just have to laugh.
Every time I describe where Vernon is located, I always find myself thinking about the things I have come to love about Vernon. It is a wonderful town with southern charm and a down-home feeling of community that is just part of the South. It is the kind of town where everyone is your neighbor. It’s the kind of town that is perfect for an event like Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend, which will be held from Sept. 8-9. We are excited to host more than 20 Gospel artists from across the country for two days of great concerts, fun, and fellowship that can only be found in a community like Vernon. It’s like magic.
Vernon is steeped in history, and I did a little checking to see just how far back the city of Vernon goes. Vernon is the county seat of Lamar County, but the county hasn’t always been called Lamar. It started out as Jones County and was abolished in 1867. Then, in 1868, it was established again as Sanford County, but that was done away with. Finally, in 1877, the county was named Lamar County. Just like the county, Vernon wasn’t always the name of the town. It started out as Swayne but was changed to Vernon in 1868 in honor of Edmond Vernon, who also served as the first mayor. I found copies of old newspapers online with news and happenings for Vernon, and it has always been a thriving town with lots of life.
Fast forward to today, and the same holds true. The town square and historical courthouse dating back to the early 1900s is something straight out of a movie that is surrounded by wonderfully quaint shops, where you will find unique items both old and new. You will find historical bed and breakfasts in the area and a number of restaurants with great food where everybody knows your name.
There is the local radio station that broadcasts Bulldog high school football as well as the beloved Alabama (and Auburn) football. On Saturday morning, you can find the mayor hosting the beloved Party Line, where folks call in to sell all kinds of items, wish people happy birthday, announce events, tell about yard sales, share stories. You never know who might stop by for a guest appearance.
Vernon has a personal connection for us, because it is my husband Dennis’ home town. He graduated from Lamar County High School, which is located in Vernon. When he went to high school in Vernon, the school was located in the middle of town at the intersection of Hwy. 17 and Hwy. 18. However, 2002 was the last year that a class graduated from Lamar County High School in that location. Shortly after, a renovation project began on the old Lamar County High School to restore it to its original architectural glory, a project that took approximately 11 years. The old Lamar County High School is now the Vernon City Complex, where Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend is held.
The Vernon City Complex houses city hall (the mayor’s office), the police department, a small museum with a collection of historical items, a small art department, the city library, a genealogy department with family history dating back to the 1700s, and a beautifully restored auditorium and a stage for events like Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend.
The Vernon City Complex is a beautiful facility. I think the best way I know how to describe it is warm and comfortable. That also describes the support we have from the community. We work closely with mayor Glenn Crawford and the events committee for the City of Vernon, and their support and enthusiasm is much appreciated. They always make us feel so welcome to their town.
“We are excited about Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend,” Crawford says. “It is a great event for our community, and we are thankful for what it means to the city. We are happy to welcome all the artists and visitors to Vernon for this weekend of fun. If you like Gospel Music, we hope to see you in September.”
We want to echo his invitation and invite everyone to join us for Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend. There will be free nightly concerts, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition, we are pleased to announce a new event at 10 a.m. on Saturday. It is the songwriting seminar conducted by Dr. Jeff Steele. If you are a beginning songwriter or a seasoned songwriter, this seminar is for you. Steele will talk about songwriting, how to get your songs published, and how royalties work. The fee for the songwriting seminar is $25 per person.
To register for the songwriter’s seminar or for more information on Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend 2017, contact M.A.C. Records by calling 662-312-4146 or 662-889-2829, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact SGNScoops by calling 360-933-0741.
Find out more information on the event by visiting www.facebook.com/macnightofworship.
By Leslie McKay
Barb Carruth: https://walabamahistory.com/west-alabama-counties/lamar/lamar-county-alabama-history/; Re-post with permission from The Alabama Lawyer
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in June 2017.
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