Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend: Where is Vernon?
By Leslie McKay
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” but 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, Alabama. Itis 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 this year on September 6th and 7th. We are excited to host several gospel artist from all over 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 and 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-n-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, and you never know who might stop by for a guest appearance.
Vernon has a personal connection for us because it is Dennis’ home town. He graduated from Lamar County High School which is located in Vernon. When he went to high school in Vernon, it was located in the middle of town at the intersection of highways 17 and 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 about 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 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 City of Vernon. 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. 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”, commented Glenn Crawford, Vernon Mayor.
We want to echo Mayor Glenn’s invitation and invite everyone to join us for Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend on September 6th and 7th at the Vernon City Auditorium. There will be a concert each night starting at 6:00 Saturday and a special Showcase on Saturday at 1:30 pm. VIP Tickets are available for $25 for both nights. VIP ticket guests will receive a goody bags of free cds and other gifts and a special luncheon, PLUS reserved seats for BOTH nights!
For more information on Vernon Alabama’s Gospel Music Weekend 2019, contact:
M.A.C. Records or SGN Scoops:
Barb Carruth: https://walabamahistory.com/west-alabama-counties/lamar/lamar-county-alabama-history/; Re–post with permission from The Alabama Lawyer