Foley Main Street brings home two awards at Main Street Alabama Annual Conference

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 10/11/21

FOLEY - During the Sept. 20 Foley council meeting, Foley Main Street Executive Director Darrelyn Dunmore gave a presentation to announce that Foley Main Street received multiple awards at the Main …

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Foley Main Street brings home two awards at Main Street Alabama Annual Conference

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FOLEY - During the Sept. 20 Foley council meeting, Foley Main Street Executive Director Darrelyn Dunmore gave a presentation to announce that Foley Main Street received multiple awards at the Main Street Alabama Annual Conference. This year, Foley Main Street brought home two awards, both in Promotions.

The eighth annual Awards of Excellence were held at The Venue at Coosa Landing in Gadsden. Last year, the conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, and instead smaller award ceremonies were held in individual Alabama Main Street designated downtowns. The event honors Alabama Main Street communities that have made tremendous impacts within their communities.

The first award Foley Main Street brought home was for “creating a quality authentic event that generates traffic in downtown.” The event in question is the annual Snowbird Coffee, led by the City of Foley in partnership with the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and Foley Main Street, and headed by LaDonna Hinesley, leisure tourism marketing director with the City of Foley. During the presentation, Dunmore surprised Hinesley by presenting her with the award brought home from the Awards of Excellence ceremony.

Typically, the Snowbird Coffee is held at the Foley Civic Center and brings tons of snowbirds out to grab some coffee with friends while learning about all the fun activities there are to do in downtown Foley. A downtown scavenger hunt that takes participants to multiple downtown businesses is a much-loved part of the event. Due to COVID-19, the traditional Snowbird Coffee was unable to happen this year. However, thanks to some ingenuity, the event was held in a new fashion. An inverted parade was held at the Foley Senior Center, with a drive-thru created where snowbirds could come through, pick up coupons, scavenger hunt sheets and instructions, and some hot chocolate. The scavenger hunt, which normally takes place in one day, was extended into a week-long event.

“We didn’t know if the snowbirds would ever find us at the Senior Center parking lot, but they did,” said Dunmore. “The city made up packets with materials supplied by businesses and the chamber, our role was to help with the scavenger hunt downtown, spreading out a one-day event into a week for social distancing … The goal was to try to match the number of attendees that attended last year at the civic center … We got very close to the numbers that we do in the civic center, and we increased the numbers participating in the scavenger hunt.”

The second award Foley Main Street took home was in Excellence in Public Relations, recognizing Main Street organizations that have developed an effective public relations program of work. For Foley Main Street, that program was the Downtown Foley Branding public relations campaign. During the 11 focus groups, Dunmore kept note of all the words people used to describe downtown Foley.

“I just thought it was so impressive all the different and wonderful words that were being used for downtown, so I put them into a countdown before our unveiling for our branding,” said Dunmore. “With this it kept garnering interest because we had to think of a creative way to roll out this branding, we couldn’t get the band out, we couldn’t have a big parade, so this helped us get the award.”

The social media countdown lasted for 21 days, featuring 21 different words used in the focus groups, and gained 379 likes, 18 shares and 2,083 views.

For the 2020 Main Street Hero, Foley Main Street chose Riviera Utilities. Many Riviera Utilities employees and board members also serve on the Foley Main Street boards, and the company has made many donations of funds, time and support to the organization.

Each year, an Alabama artist creates the Awards of Excellence to be handed out to the winners. This year the awards were crafted by Missy Miles, who creates works of art out of gourds. She made 50 handcrafted awards for this year’s ceremony.

“The flame shape symbolizes the energy of Main Street programs, the gourd was shaped and colored red to represent a heart showing the love for our communities, and the four stitches on the Main Street logo was to stand for the four-pointed process: organization, promotion, design and economic vitality,” Dunmore said. “So it was pretty creative and very unique.”

For more information, visit www.foleymainstreet.com, and find them on Facebook and Instagram.