Does your community pay homage to its heritage? Does it erect a statue or otherwise celebrate a person, product or event that gives the town its unique place in the sun?
Birmingham has its Vulcan.
Dothan has the peanut.
Monroeville hosts a play to honor Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Pine Apple invites folks over for a Front Porch Tour to show its hospitality.
Over in Greensboro, homage is paid to the catfish. I don’t know of any monuments erected to the product that changed the town’s future, but the fish with whiskers adorns water tanks and welcome signs.
Elsewhere in the region, the catfish is honored as the Tale-Tellin’ Festival’s mascot. It has its own catfishmobile, and a radio station uses Catfish Country for its handle. Past catfish festivals have crowned many queens, and the catfish fry is practically the official meal. Oh yes…the fish recently got its own book!
The catfish certainly deserves all this attention and more! In the Black Belt—where all kinds of studies deem dire statistics for whatever is being measured — Hale County ranks near the top in the nation for production of catfish! It’s the county’s best performing farm crop ever, and back when other enterprises went bust, catfish saved many a family farm and and created new support businesses.
The actual impact will soon be known when Auburn University releases an extensive economic study about Alabama’s catfish industry. Once the facts are out, we may just have to build a monument to the catfish!
What is unique about your community’s heritage?