Why should I attend community events like Leeds First Thursdays?

Communities tend to have lots of events like Leeds First Thursdays, but some people think, “What’s the big deal,” and then don't go. There are good reasons why even introverted folks should go and get involved in these festivals. Here's a few:

First and foremost, it's fun! Even if it's out of your comfort zone, attending these events are a lot of fun for anyone. Usually, lots of different amenities are offered like food, entertainers, shopping and more. It's a good way to try something new. And, even if it isn't new to you, there will still be much to enjoy. It's a great way to relax and take a break from the humdrum of everyday life.

Of course, there are economic benefits garnered from these festivals. Because these events often attract visitors, our community will benefit financially, which is good for you because it's good for everyone around you. It brings awareness to downtown shopping and restaurants. These businesses have located here to provide a service to you by offering quality merchandise or food as a huge convenience over you having to travel to make your purchases. These retailers are also the ones who support you, your interests, our schools, ball clubs and more. Also, street vendors bring merchandise with a unique flair to increase shopping opportunities. Visitors that come to town through these events will often return for future events, stimulating tourism growth right here. Tourists and visitors spend money which boosts our local economy. Those tax dollars go to promote our local community programs.

Let's not forget the social benefits these festivals provide. Not only do you get to meet new people, but the atmosphere of fun in a festival often fosters more community pride and strengthens relationships. There's nothing quite like hometown pride. Also, much of the entertainment is absolutely free. How much better can it get? Throw your bag chairs in the car and plan to hang out at the last First Thursday Street Fest scheduled for this year in downtown Leeds on Sept. 5 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. featuring Eric Watters, Miss Leeds Area Charity Bowden and Mandi Rae at the gazebo.

Parkway Drive will be lined with street vendors. The Three-Earred Rabbit will be open a little later. The Mountain Brook Driving Club will be there with some antique cars for you to see. Be sure to invite others to cruise in with their favorite car or bike. There will be plenty of kid’s activities. It’s going to be a great time to gather together with your friends and strangers, help support your community and just have some fun!

And, the fun doesn’t stop there! You will have three more dynamic community events to add to your calendars. The John Henry Celebration & Leeds Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in downtown Leeds with a full day of art, culture and more. Hold the Fort 5k Run/Walk is scheduled for that morning to benefit Blanket Fort Hope, which is a non-profit organization that rescues children from human sex-trafficking.

The Whistle Stop Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Shops of Grand River from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Leeds Police and Fire is hosting National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Moody Oktoberfest is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Moody City Park.

We will continue to keep you updated with community events, but here are a few other events and news items that may be of interest to you.

On Friday, the Doris Stanley Memorial Library hosted a Fancy-Hat Tea Party. The fancy-dressed ladies who attended had a great time. The Three-Earred Rabbit catered some delicious food!

Moody Kiwanis Club will meet at Noon on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at Moody City Hall.

Tot Time with Mrs. Ramona will take place at the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3 with a fun time for preschoolers to participate in songs, dancing, stories and crafts.

Leeds Masonic Lodge Breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7. Breakfast is free and donations will be accepted for City of Leeds community involvement programs. Contact T. V. Weaver at 205-699-6742 for more information.

The Leeds Arts Council will honor the Leeds Area Visual Artists with an opening reception at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Leeds Arts Center. You are invited to meet the talented local artists and enjoy their beautiful and varied works. Additional artwork, prints, cards, and books will be on display and available for purchase. Admission is free. LAVA’s art will be on display through November 2. For more information regarding the reception, exhibit, and other Leeds Arts Council events, visit www.leedsartscouncil.org. In case of inclement weather, call 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

Step into Fashion with the Leeds Arts Council fashion show luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12. Tickets are $25 and Laney’s is catering.

Don’t forget to make your reservation for Ann’s New Life Center annual fundraising event scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at St. Theresa Catholic Church. This is a free event and RSVP to leeds@annsnewlifecenter.com or call 205-702-6500.

The Moody Police Department is taking applications now for this year’s Citizens Police Academy. Classes are scheduled for Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. beginning Sept. 26 and end Dec. 5. Class size is limited to 25 so get your application in soon. Classes will include firearms training, ride-alongs and more. Applications are available at the Moody Police Department, Moody City Hall or Moody Civic Center. For more information, contact Lt. Pete Hicks at 205-640-0343 or Phicks@MoodyAlabama.gov. Deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 29.

Monday is Labor Day with one last opportunity to get together with friends at the lake. This is the day each year to celebrate the American worker. We are the greatest nation on this planet and have created the most prosperity in the world. I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday!

A big shout out to Laney’s Country Cooking for being chosen by Southern Living for a movie. They are in the middle of filming this week. If you haven’t eaten at Laney’s, you are truly missing out on that wonderful southern cuisine. From delicious meat loaf to mac & cheese to die for, they offer lunch every day buffet style with loads of meats, vegetables and desserts to choose from. They also offer a great breakfast.

Thought for the week: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” ~Coretta Scott King

I truly appreciate each of you who read my column and I really love sharing news so please send your Leeds and Moody news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com.

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