We don’t push in Fairhope

November 20, 2015

178  comments

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope AlabamaOkay. Three years of being nice is enough. I’ve reached my limit on this blog and am getting ready to tell you a secret about Fairhope. Those who know me are shocked I lasted this long. (Whoever picked “three years and four months” wins).

Here it is: There are too many new and visiting people here that don’t play nice. There. I said it.

Please understand, we love visitors, but if you are going to come here and ruin our little rituals and traditions, please do us the favor and stay home.

Lights on Fairhope! Fairhope Alabama
This is just the side street. We couldn’t even make it over to the main street.

Case in point:

Last night, I almost lost my religion at what used to be a fun, small town, family friendly event. The LIGHTS ON FAIRHOPE has grown from a small group of local folks standing in the streets of downtown, into a pushing, shoving free-for all of folks from all over coming to see the lights switched on.

 

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama

Usually, the Fairhope High School Band plays a few Christmas tunes on the main stage, the Dogwood Trail Maids curtsey, the Mayor makes a speech, then, the crowd counts down in unison, and like magic . . . all the millions of twinkling lights are switched on in the trees, signaling the beginning of the holiday season.

 

It’s nice, sweet, quick, and we usually see tons of friends and neighbors. We’ve taken our boys downtown and never missed a tree lighting in 16 years.

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope AlabamaBut now, the local news stations have started advertising this event which brings in people from all over the area, and mercy daisy . . . how things have grown for the worse. Here’s the text from my friend and fellow blogger Kim from Cozi Nest:

 

IMG_0776

 

 

And here’s my very true and real story . . .

At the end of the event, the extremely large crowd was trying to leave, but we were all stuck. Most people were being nice and enjoying the fake snow blowing down on us in the 64° starlit night. Although I tripped over a beer bottle (What? Did someone think this was Mardi Gras? We don’t throw beer bottles on the ground around here!) we all just stood and made the best of it while waiting for the crowd to move.

From the conversations I heard, many of the people around me had driven over from Mobile and other neighboring cities.

 

Lights on Fairhope! Fairhope Alabama
(These are NOT photos of the rude woman. These are all nice, sweet people).

But then, a tough looking woman squeezed herself onto my right side and loudly announced, “Move it, people! Let me through!” The gentleman in front of us turned and politely said, “We’re all trying to go in the same direction, Ma’am.”

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama

“Well, you need to move your feet then!” she bellowed. I looked over at her and to make the situation a bit nicer, smiled and said, “You must have lived in a big city to know how to navigate a crowd.” “I’m from ROBERTSDALE” she snapped.

 

Brent Smith, Lighting of the Trees, Fairhope AL
“Lighting of the Trees” by artist Brent Smith, inside Lyons Share Gallery.

Now, Robertsdale is a nice little farming community where we go for the county fair. Everyone I know from Robertsdale, (including my dear cousin Rosie Belle) is a sweetheart.

But not this woman.
No one in the crowd said much to her and we began to shuffle down the sidewalk little by little. I thought this woman had finally relaxed a bit, when she suddenly announced to no one in particular, “YOU NEED TO PUSH! PUSH!” 

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama

At that comment, I looked at her and said, “We don’t push in Fairhope.” 

 

It was one of those moments where I thought I could end up in Thomas Hospital from the sturdy woman’s right hook. Thank the good Lord she hushed up and didn’t make another peep. When the crowd finally rounded the corner by the bandstand, I didn’t see her again.

 

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama City Workers

You may be thinking, “Well, Leslie Anne, you blog about Fairhope and contribute to the crowd problem.” Well, first of all, I LIVE here, and I write about things I do, which, duh . . . take place where I live. Sometimes I’ll tell you about events that are coming up and are open to everyone, but if you’ll kindly notice, many times I tell you about things AFTER they take place because I don’t want to contribute to ruining the small-town feel, which is exactly what happened last night.

 

And besides, all my readers are sweetie-pies and would never try to shove, cuss, litter or park in someone’s front yard. So y’all are welcome any time.

 

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama

We lost the feeling of Whoville, standing in the streets hand-in-hand, and instead had a pushing, shoving free-for-all with a bunch of out of town folks who will most definitely be on Santa’s NAUGHTY list.

 

It’s creeping me out to feel like the Grinch, because I’m usually one of the happiest people I know! But if our city doesn’t do something to curb the growth . . . the sprawl . . . if we don’t stop winning awards and having news stories written about us . . . if we don’t stop being so danged charming that people flock here and complain about the post office (that’s another story) or complain about parking or our tree lighting tradition, or complain about ANYTHING, I don’t know what will happen. For crying out loud, we’ll be . . . ORLANDO! (gasp).

 

Fairhope Tree Lighting, Fairhope Alabama 2015

I know we sound like the pretty girl who complains about all the boys calling her, but sometimes you want to throw a big party, and other times you like to keep it just family. Especially when the big party invites friends of friends of friends and someone breaks your mama’s lamp.

 

Christmas float
Christmas Parade a few years ago.


The Christmas parade is coming up soon, and I’m not going to tell a soul when it is. And yes, it’s called the CHRISTMAS parade, so don’t come here and get your heathen panties in a wad and try to change it. So, join us if you’d like. But be nice. And remember . . . we don’t push in Fairhope!

 

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    1. On the city seal, perhaps?
      I think that was the old Kindergarten teacher in me coming out! If she had tried to hurt me, I could have pulled out the standard, “Keep your hands to yourself.” She probably runs with scissors too.

  1. I was so uncomfortable last night. The crowd was awfully large. I couldn’t even see or hear speeches or anything. It saddened me. I love our town. I agree with you completely. I’m afraid if they keeping letting it get larger it will be we from Fairhope who stay home.=(

    1. Good point! It’s not easy to park, walk and then get shoved around. Older folks and those with babies may start skipping out on all the fun. But Barbara’s comment above gives me hope.

      1. I found my self standing one legged like a flamingo in the flower beds clinging to one of the lighted trees, just to keep from being trampled. It takes the fun out of it for everyone.

        1. The city has been looking for you. They want to talk to you about replanting some of the blossoms! Hahaha! But you are so right. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ah, progress. When an event in a beautiful little community becomes popular, it draws the bees and the wasps. You get both honey and venom. That’s the product of humanity, too. Remember, the Good Lord provided us with free will. We exercise both choices…, aggressively.

    Se la vie, mon ami! (That’s life, my friend!)

  3. You are right on my friend! Mr. Cozi and I said exactly this on our way home last night. It’s great to live in such a sweet and charming town, but having all these visitors ruin our traditions will not do. If there’s any pushing going on, I’d prefer we “push” these visitors back to their hometowns.

  4. I have always said that if most folks will just let me run things, it would work out for everyone involved. The charming small towns would stay that way because everyone would mind their manners, act like they love each other, and anyone who cannot operate by those two rules can keep their grumpy hind-end at home…preferably far away from me.

  5. We also attended the tree lighting and had a wonderful time. Although we live in a “neighboring” town now, I grew here and have brought me grandchildren to this event for 16 years. I am barely 5 ft tall and everyone around me made sure that I could see the bandstand, they helped an elderly man and his wife get to the front and someone provided a stool from a local restaurant for him to sit on. I understand your frustration, but everyone from a “neighboring” town is not rude and pushy. When we left, a kind gentleman, unknown to me and who was much larger than I made sure that I did not get trampled. Fairhope’s Tree Lighting is supposed to be a feature story in a national magazine next year. As resident, everyone should be proud of the beauty that is Fairhope.

    1. And you Barbara, are exactly the kind of neighbor we love! I should have been standing near you so we could have had a lovely time together! Thanks for the comment!

    2. Because people in your own county or 7 miles across the bay are out of towners. People are just finding out, is not why the bigger crowds. Welcome to the first wave of increased population catching up with us. Why do you think the Gulf Shores atmosphere suddenly changed this past year too? New rules in place on Pensacola beach. Societal behaviors have changed dramatically in the last 4-5 years. It is easy to blame “outsiders.” After15 years in customer service in Fairhope, the Fairhopians don’t behave as well either.

  6. Very well put! Thank you for addressing what is a concern to many Fairhopians. I’ve grown up here and so has my husband. After last year, my husband and I both said that would be it. Us, along with our boys, could barely get from one side of the street to the other! People were smushed together like sardines. Sadly, what was once a magical experience that ignited the festivities for the holidays, was a billowing cloud of black smoke in which one had the very air robbed! Thank the Lord people around us didn’t stink! We came home irritable and exhausted from what was once a relaxing family experience. Maybe instead of placing one stage where everything is conducted from, there could be several smaller stages with different performances. Heck, I don’t know! But clearly, something needs to be done to keep our sweet town from being Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during events!

    1. Well, they’ve always had a smaller stage over on DeLaMar Ave., but everyone really wants to see the main stage. I think we shouldn’t advertise it as much – or at all. What surprises me is that other surrounding cities must see how popular this is and don’t you think that would make them want to do something similar? Oh well . . . thanks for the comment and for reading Nichole!

    2. I like this comment. Especially Nichole’s comparison of Fairhope’s crowd & attendance feeling like Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
      After reading the article & seeing the pictures…WOW! That’s a scary problem.
      As a Fairhopian, who also has worked for Disney’s MK, my biggest concern is SAFETY.

      FAIRHOPE IS CAPABLE OF REACHING MAX CAPACITY.

      Is the Fairhope P.D trained & prepared for this type of crowd control? Do they have an emergency plan in case an accident occurs?

      Or what about even a paramedics lane? Simply a roped off lane, clear of foot traffic, & used only by police, paramedics, & authorized personnel in order to monitor, direct, & respond to accidents in the crowd…

      We can’t forget Fairhope has a large retirement community.. how could one recieve medical attention if they fall & responders CANT get to them?! Lots of different scenarios could happen but the point is SAFETY.

      Fairhope prides itself on being a safe & friendly community; but officials need to really look at the bigger picture & consider how this could destroy our downtown if disaster strikes.

  7. Well Leslie Anne I have always been of the opinion that we need to just keep quiet about the South…let it be our secret!! I totally understand this as we lived in a nice subdivision here in Decatur. We knew lots of the neighborhood kiddos but we never gave out candy on Halloween because our streets looked much like the photo you posted. All for some candy!! We have since moved to a quieter community and we can enjoy the Trick or Treaters we get now. Bless their hearts is all I can say about those rude people!!

    1. It’s hard to keep a good thing quiet, and truly, I don’t think anyone here minds visitors from other areas, but we want to keep the friendly aspect alive and well. Too bad we can’t check for good manners at the city limits!

  8. Let me first apologize for the rude woman you encountered. She does NOT represent Robertsdale. Second, I would like to acknowledge your patronizing comment of our “nice little farm community.” It is comments like that that perpetuate negative stereotypes. While yes what an embarrassment to have such a person identify herself from Robertsdale, however, let me assure you that our town does not condone such behavior and likewise not everyone in Fairhope is superior to others in Baldwin County. Rude people are not limited to one town unfortunately.

    1. WOW! I totally and honestly meant that as a compliment! My Granddaddy was a county agent and I love farming communities! If you will read carefully, I said that everyone I’ve ever met from Robertsdale is a sweetie pie! Sorry you misinterpreted what I said and that you feel “farming” is a bad thing. And never ever did I say we were superior. We have some snotty folks too, but we make them stay home. Thanks for reading.

    2. We’re fairly new to Fairhope, and we moved here from Robertsdale. Both of my kids are at the high school, and they have both been ridiculed about their hometown. Fairhope boys seem to find humor in referring to my son as the “Robertsdale Redneck”, and of course there are the never ending overalls and camo attire jokes. Some comments have been made in jest. but others have been downright hateful. I guess rude people are everywhere.

      That being said, let me apologize for your experience last night. I can assure you that the vast majority of the people of Robertsdale are upstanding, well mannered, civic minded people. See for yourself – venture over on December 5th and enjoy the Christmas parade and festivities. You will be welcomed with open arms…and they don’t push in Robertsdale either.

      1. Jennifer, you have no reason to apologize for anything. I guess I’m naive, because I’ve always loved Robertsdale. It’s where I won a blue ribbon at the fair. I don’t see anything bad at all about being from the farm, and am amazed that’s what people are reading into this story. No matter where you go, you’ll find good and bad, and I for one, and glad you and your family are here.

  9. It was our first time for the tree lighting after moving close to downtown 2 yrs ago. I was shocked, never expected so many people. My husband and I got stuck trying to walk back home, north of Fairhope Ave, while everyone was pushing to go in opposite direction. They were not kind to let us through and give them a 2 person space to get where they were going. One lady said I’m not moving so my Yankee husband put on his Boston driving shoes and got us around the obstacle. What was supposed to be a happy festive event turned out to be I’m ready to go back to my nice quiet home! Maybe the parade will be better, I stood in front of the Windmill Market last year and it was perfect…..shhh…don’t tell 🙂

  10. I agree. The lighting of the trees last night was not the neat small town event that Fairhope is so famous for. Unfortunately, it was a mob scene that will only get worse as we continue to promote what one might consider to be an aggressive growth agenda. Are you aware that a change in the site plan for the Publix PUD is asking to go from 205 mostly detached single family units to 330 mostly attached (240 of which are designated apartments) living units mixed with additional commercial uses? This is coming before the Planning Commission on Dec 7th. Seems that the site plans that PUDs are zoned to are merely eyewash and an invitation to more intense development in the future if the developer deems it more profitable as is the case here. Those of us who lived here when the original zoning was done to accommodate a Publix (a good thing) should remember the extreme diligence that was done to make sure that this plan was workable and good for Fairhope. This could have been accomplished with a commercial classification instead of the “slippery slope” PUD that we are now having to confront. Also the Thomason tract across from the entrance to Rock Creek is now asking for a PUD zoning. I know how the small town zoning game is played. In the small towns around Atlanta where I developed, if you didn’t do what they wanted, you could be tied up in court for years. Even if you won the cost of victory was so high that it did you no good as a developer to fight city hall. There will be at least 1 vacancy on the city council next election cycle. I hope that someone with common sense runs.

    1. I have heard about some of the development plans, but not the ones you mention. It’s a difficult situation, but you are correct in saying we need to be careful who we elect in all our cities. Thanks for writing!

  11. Thank you Leslie Ann for clarifying. As you can tell I am a fierce defender of my home town and my first instinct was to address what I saw. I love small town festivals and events and I hate that in the world we live in rude and selfish people seem to ruin it for the rest of us. I hope the rest of the holiday celebrations are a better reflection of our home town values!

  12. We are in the process of building a home in Fairhope. I am so excited to be coming home to my Alabama roots. Your wonderful blog helped us to decide on Fair-hope. We are going to bring our best manners with us as I follow my dream. Can’t wait to be a part of the community.

  13. I completely agree!!! Couldn’t make myself want to go this year after the crowd and just such behavior last year. I live on Nichols Ave 4 blocks from town so wouldn’t have even needed to drive. It’s getting out of hand and I miss the quite a few local activities because they’ve been overrun with snow birds and folks from Mobile. Ugh!!!

  14. I tell you, going to the Tree lighting last night was NOT fun. We got their early. That was fun. We walked around, got hot cider, watched the Carolers. I told my mother in law that if it continues to get that big, I will not be going. Last year was my first time. My husband was raised in Fairhope, my mother in laws family is from Fairhope. We have about 150 years of family in Fairhope. Last year was fun. The beginning of this year was fun. Fairhope is a mark on the map. I would love it if it could remain “small town quaint”.. There are going to be jerks (my nice non swear word) who will continue to come in and ruin things for everybody. I saw many many people trying to pull these big wagons thru the crowd-LEAVE THOSE AT HOME… people brought THEIR DOGS…. Last night just put me in a bad mood. Why do I have a feeling that quite possibly our Christmas parade could be ruined also. I hope not because this small town is really starting to grow on me.

    1. I felt so sorry for the dogs and saw one of my friends picking up their hound and carrying him! I almost stepped on one poor little mutt who was scared to death!
      Glad you are here and thanks for the comment!

  15. It appears to me that maybe the sponsor of this event thought that it might be a good idea to use some PR and notify the regional media to promote this to a much larger market than your small community. I also noted that someone mentioned that this event will be featured in a national magazine next year. It definitely sounds like there is a major PR plan in motion. Maybe going to the original sponsor of this event and posing your concerns could turn this situation around before it gets much more out of control…?

    1. I have to agree, the advertising is what really caused this mess. I’m not real sure why they decided to advertise like this especially when most businesses were closed. My family fought through that crowd @ the stage, it was extremely slow moving, but everyone was friendly. I ran into some aquaintices from Foley. Ya know, maybe adding more snow along other streets would spread people out, that seems to be all people were doing, standing in front of the stage letting their kids feel the snow. I don’t remember their being snow years ago, but maybe I have forgotten. I found the biggest problem was the darn double strollers &wagons everywhere.
      Beware, everything else this weekend had been advertised on wkrg & the radio too.

      1. That’s a great point about the snow. We’re hungry for it around here! And actually, the person responsible for advertising actually did a great job. They should work for the state tourism department!

  16. Leslie Anne,

    When we still lived in Fairhope and I was pregnant with Savannah, I had a man elbow me in the stomach. I did not receive an “Excuse me,” “I am so sorry,” or anything. He just turned around and looked at me like I was in his personal space. I am so sorry it has gotten so much worse.

    1. Ouch! If this is from the Dana I think it is, I’m surprised you didn’t whop a knot on his head! Hahaha! Seriously, rudeness is everywhere, but being packed in like sardines only makes people edgier. Most everyone last night was lovely, but a few people always have to come along and try to be bossy-pants.

      1. You are right. This is from the Dana you thought. I considered putting a knot on his head, but I could just see the newspaper headline for the next day, “Pregnant lady with raging hormones beats up grown man.” Hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving. Dylan will be home tonight and be with us through Sunday. Love y’all.

  17. Paradise spoiled and that’s too bad. Marietta long ago outgrew its small-town feel. Thousands of outsiders come downtown for the fireworks and other events. That’s the power of advertising and of magazine/newspaper articles. It’s the same with the South; it’s rapidly being ruined, at least around Atlanta.

    1. We need to hire a PR firm to promote our giant mosquitoes, hurricanes and obesity problem. Mmmm, fried everything!

  18. Sorry that it is getting worse. Sadly, we have experienced much more of the big town pushy feels in Fairhope for the last 10 years. It is sad it won’t be what Fairhope was for so many years. We love our neighboring community where our tree lighting held in conjunction with Christmas Fest, is a wonderful small town, cozy, neighborly good time for all! Best wishes for the rest of the season!

    1. So quick, tell me which neighboring community you live in so we can all move there and join you!
      (smile).

      Thanks for reading.

  19. Ok first I just wanna say this is a very highly opinionated article. I’m a multi generation native Fairhopian and I’m not sure about this blog, but I would never wanna push anyone away from Fairhope and to show everyone the beauty of it. This event has always gotten bigger and bigger every year because Fairhope is beginning to be a nationally known community. I’m excited that people from other places come out to see this event and it brings business to the community. There are always gonna be the people who push in any crowd but please do not keep people away because your idea of small town USA is to keep the town small. I feel like your being selfish about posting your thoughts about keeping people away. I mean if I had something good I would want to share. I would not want to bottle it up and keep it a secret and never used it until it just goes bad from not being used. And one person does not define a community I am referring to the Roberstale comment in your blog. If someone is rude to you just get over it. That’s life, if something happens to you need to get over it and not dwell on what has happened. You almost sound like that starbucks red cup person trying to make a big deal out of something stupid. It’s a dang cup. Who cares about a stupid cup. If people want to come to the lighting of the trees event let them come. It’s a public event!!! That means everyone can come!!! If someone litters and you see it then pick it up and throw it away instead of just looking at and getting mad about the person who threw it there and then being all dramatic and writing this stupid blog post about it. If people wanna come let them come!! Jesus didn’t turn away anybody who came to him he loved everybody. Your like the parents keeping the children away from Jesus, but Jesus loves all the little children wether they are red, yellow, black, or white. Yes I know I just quoted the song. You gotta love people wehter they are from Fairhope or not.

      1. The question mark still goes outside the quotation marks, regardless of whether or not you delete this comment again. You can dish out criticism, but you can’t take it.

        1. Actually, it’s a matter of style, such as a comma after the word “and.” My newspaper prefers it inside the quotation marks, so I go for that style. But thanks for turning this into a grammar issue. I deleted it the first time to save you from embarrassment.

          1. Seems like we’ve just run into two of the very people we don’t want here in Fairhope! Who knew you were keeping the precious children away from Our Savior by promoting good behavior and manners. Continue on Leslie Ann, and know that you’re supported by the vast majority of us. First time commenter but long time reader, you are the perfect ambassador for our little town and your blog is one of its many bright spots!

    1. Now it’s just sad Jerry and Lolly for you to be rude about this article. The crowds were out of control (not anyone’s fault except maybe the city for not directing people like traffic), people were rude no matter where they were from; Leslie Anne just happened to call out this lady because she was extremely rude and it was she who announced where she was from. Leslie Anne did not mean to insult all of Robertsdale like you indicate and did say how much she loves the people she knows from there and the community. If you would read all of Leslie Anne’s articles before judging her, she is hilarious and fun and would never hurt a fly! She always makes me and a lot of others laugh out loud. She reminds me of our future President Trump…she tells it like it is as best as she can, with humor and grace!

      Now I want both of you to think about a time when you were in a crowded situation, whether at an event, shopping on Black Friday, or an interstate backed up with traffic. Honestly, can you say you didn’t feel a little bit like we did at this event? Encountering rude people, being pushed, or someone cutting in front of you? Please reread this article and have a good positive attitude and see the humor; I guarantee you will feel better. And I know Fairhope welcomes one and all – however, like everywhere else in the world, we just want people to be kind and courteous to their fellow man when the situation is not the best.

      1. And please Jerry, Leslie Anne is a child of Jesus too….your comment about the children was a little off base and uncalled for and talk about making a big deal…

      2. Thank you very much, Becky!
        I think part of the misconception is people are reading this without knowing that I write the HUMOR column for the newspaper. My regular readers totally get it, while others are totally missing the point and making me worry about the reading comprehension scores for our state!

  20. Funny about the Orlando comment. I moved from Fairhope to Orlando about 8 years ago and my was it a big change. Fairhope is not and should never be the same as Orlando in any capacity (don’t get me wrong – I love both in their own respects). Sad that such fond memories of going to the lighting of the trees every year is being tainted with rudeness.

  21. The attitude reflected in this article and directed toward people of Robertsdale and other lesser towns (your apparent opinion) is reminiscent of Hilly’s attitude in The Help. Its basically a condescending admonishment to the uncouth, neighbors you poor people of Fairhope have to endure. It’s dripping in sugary-sweet, thinly veiled insults, but the subtext is there for sure. You can put pearls on a pig, but it’s still a pig. (That’s farming community speak for you’re not fooling anyone.) Your use of diminutive phrases like “nice little farming community where we go to the county fair” is completely dismissive of any other contributions Robertsdale makes to the greater Baldwin County area. (Gasp! You mean there are other parts of Baldwin County that make contributions?) I may not be from Fairhope, but I’m intelligent enough to recognize feigned innocence when I see it, and I don’t buy that you didn’t understand how insulting your words would seem. Perhaps, you just didn’t count on anyone outside your exalted sphere being able to read.

    Someone needs to tell the folks in Robertsdale that they need not bring their money to your town if they don’t have manners that live up to your expectations.

    As someone who has visited realms outside of Alabama, my view of Fairhope is this: Much Ado about Nothing

    1. Ummm . . . one more time. The main idea of the story wasn’t about Robertsdale. It was about one woman from there and the huge crowd problem last night.

      Also, you can’t see in my heart to know how much I love farms and those who work there. If you missed it before, I come from a family of farmers. I won my blue ribbon in Robertsdale at the Fair. So you totally missed the mark.

      But your condescending remarks about my hometown aren’t nice.

      Be sweet.

      1. Thank you. Some people just don’t get it. I say they should read about your Mardi Gras post last year and the snow birds taking the beads from the children! Now that was so hilarious and I appreciate having some happiness and laughter in this world today! You just keep on doing what you’re doing Leslie Anne!

    1. Thanks Pandora. The workers were waiting for the crowds to die down so they could get busy putting everything away. I love our city workers. They are always doing neat things.

  22. Fairhope is not what is used to be for sure. You are correct in that people come from all over for this and other events and should be courteous. What’s the saying, when in Rome?? In my short 53 years in Fairhope I have seen things change, some for the good, some for the bad, but we have never been rude.

  23. As one that has always lived in Fairhope, I find this too funny to even be offensive! It’s rings with the negative stereotypes that will always haunt us Southerns. I do hope for the sake of your children’s future that you have better assimilated them to the real world, and that they didn’t inherit your tone deaf judgement.

    Expecting this to be deleted in 3, 2, 1…..

    1. I fail to see how a story about a woman who was almost inciting a mob to crush people has made you think of stereotyped Southerners. I should have just hugged her, right?

  24. Well this popped up in my feed and I will say I don’t do well with people that push and are rude in general, no matter where they are from. I tend to avoid crowds for that reason because there is always somebody. 😉
    I DO live in Orlando, however, and I can tell you that you don’t have to ever worry about Fairhope garnering the kind of attention our city and attractions do for holiday events so you are safe there for a while (gasp!).

    Having said that, I completely understand the frustration. I live in the vacation capital of the world and, while that fuels our local economy, with the good comes the bad. As local parades and events have grown, the City (or certain brilliant minds at at least ONE major attraction destination) steps in to evaluate how best to organize and accommodate that growth so certain things can be shared with others.

    Maybe you should chair that committee in Fairhope! I’m not being snarky at all and I think that clearly there was an unexpected influx of people that really wanted to be a part of a special thing. It could really BE a special event for locals and surrounding communities but it sounds like a little more planning may now be needed.

    Unfortunately there will always be a pusher or rude person in the crowd but if everything else is organized, it tends to make that less amplified. 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks Claire. Orlando is unlike any other city in America. Its history is fascinating and development a definite case study in both good and bad decisions. I think most people only know it as WDW, but there are so many other wonderful areas! And you are right about rudeness. I think a crowd amplifies bad behavior, and we just aren’t used to crowds around here.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  25. Oh my…I did grow up in a big city and I do know how to navigate a crowd, but I know the difference between being in and out of that environment. I would be honored to visit Fairhope and I honestly hope that your event is better next year.

  26. I was born and raised in Fairhope and even though I live across the pond now in Mobile I have always brought my kids and now my grandchildren to the annual Christmas parade. Last year while we were there we parked our car down the side street behind the post office. When I was parked I was getting my little one stroller out of the trunk and a very rude man started yelling at me to move my car. I told him I would appreciate it if he would not park in such a small place because if he did I would not be able to get out that he would block me in.. Well he left with some really nasty words. Well When we returned we notice that our car had been keyed yes in my sweet little home town my car was keyed. Over the years of coming home to see the Christmas parade I have notice a big difference in the crowd. It is not the same.. the kids are rude and the adults think it is Mardi Gras…. it is not the same… it saddens me so much that i don’t think we will be coming home for it this year..Fairhope is not Fairhope anymore and it is sad.

  27. This is exactly why I stopped coming to any parade or lighting of the trees. One year my twins must have been 4 and my oldest 6, a GROWN MAN walked in front of us, he stood there in front of us and then turned and looked at them but still didn’t move. I could not believe it. My blood boils still thinking about it.

  28. Well, dagnabbit, and consarn it all! I am glad we got to witness the spectacle year before last while staying at the drab but convenient Hampton Inn! This year, they were putting up the decorations, and some trees were lit up in the testing mode, so we kind of got to see it before heading back to Bham. Not only that, but there were Hwn decs too, including a zombie with red eyes that lit up.

    Seriously, it is not funny about all these snowbirds or whoever they are who are ruining Fairhope! It always seemed like the last bastion of civility and charm in this life on earth. I saw another cute little bitty town that looked just like Mayberry on this last little trip, but danged if I will say publicly what it is! This is what happened to Santa Fe years ago, which turned it into a sad tourist trap. This has happened with a number of other small towns and cities in our country, and I’ll be doggoned if I know what the answer is. Maybe we will have to learn to keep secrets.

    1. It’s such a hard situation for city leaders. I mean, what do you do to protect sprawl? It’s been debated here for years, and I think our council is doing a great job so far, but you can’t really tell people they aren’t allowed to develop their land.

      In the meantime, they could pass some rules agains yelling “PUSH” in a crowd!

  29. My left foot was run over, not once, but twice by women pushing strollers.. Not one “sorry” did I get.

    1. Ouch! Hope your foot is okay. Wagons, dogs, strollers . . . we needed a drone overhead to crash into us and it would have been perfect.

  30. I grew up in Fairhope and have attended the lighting of the trees since I was at Fairhope K1 Center. I even line danced at this event when I was at Fairhope Elementary! (my husband and I joked about that vision last night!). Anyways, my husband also grew up here. We now have a one year old. Last year, her first event out of the house was the lighting of the trees and it wasn’t so bad. This year when we went to this family event it was miserable! My mama bear was inches away from coming out on some people who could have cared less that they were pushing me and my little one off the sidewalk or running into her. There were even some Northerners (we could clearly tell by their accents) that we heard say “children and strollers should not be allowed at this event”…that was the tip of the iceberg, my husband and I went home because I was afraid one of us would lose our temper on this large group of elderly yankees. They can’t come to our town, our family events and complain that families who have lived here for years are there!

    1. If ever there was an event made for children, it’s the lighting of the trees. Even more than a parade. The mix of strollers and a thick crowd is difficult, and carrying them is sometimes cumbersome. Some commenters have said they were run over by strollers . . . but strollers aren’t against the law. We took our sons to this event for years in a stroller, but the crowd was so small and manageable, so we never had a problem.
      So many issues to deal with, but they can be ironed out somehow. Fairhope is full of people who want to help, so I’m sure by next year, it will be perfect!! (I hope).

  31. I’ve been telling people for years NOT to promote Fairhope on social media etc. for that very reason. In fact I encourage people to indicate that, “no, don’t think you’d like it here.” Visit and shop, but beware, sales taxes are high, speed limit is frustrating at 25mph in town, and the humidity — oh the humidity!!! I do publish photos of beautiful sunsets, but the country is full of beautiful sunsets. Enough with the awards– I agree with you there!! If we must promote, promote RETIREMENT COMMUNITY– that conveys a certain atmosphere. Last night was a debacle that used to be nothing but fun!

    1. I know many people who would be against the retirement promotion, but I completely understand what you are saying. I wrote an article once about a “Welcome Basket” to the South that held mosquito repellant, a hurricane map, oil to fry all their food . . . you get the idea. It was a total joke, but you know how some people took it.

      Actually, I’d love to trade a few of the people here for some new ones from elsewhere. I know they exist, because I used to be one of them.

      Thanks, Mary Lu.

      1. Hey, what about little ole me and my hubby? I think we would love Fairhope. We aren’t artsy but we are nice (if I do say so myself). I’m sure all my best Southern talents would return quickly. I’d start swattin’ skeeters, slatherin’ on sunscreen and sippin’ sweet ice tea in no time. The frizzy hair might cause a tear or two, but I’d deal with it. Oh, shhhhhh, don’t tell my PNW friends and neighbors but I’ve never really given up the sweet ice tea…. I just hide it in the back of the fridge.

        I think you should sell tee shirts emblazoned with “We don’t push in Fairhope”. Too funny.

        1. Oh Sylvia, you crack me up! Of course you would be welcome here, and I would dare anyone to push you!
          Thanks for the note darlin’!

  32. Wow! What a snotty blog post. We work, live and enjoy life down here in Orange Beach, AL. Have you heard of it? People from all over come down and “clog” up our streets, condos and restaurants. Get over yourselves!

  33. IF this is going to be the case for the next few years, we need to capitalize on it. WHERE was FEEF, Haven, Lions, Rotary, Elks, Legion… Start by making every car without a “beach” sticker pay for parking. All of our worthy charities deserve to benefit if it’s going to be so out of hand. There was a time when I walked my dogs downtown for a fun evening– Goldens– who notoriously love a party… I wouldn’t DARE try it now. They’d be stepped on, kicked, under foot, just toooooooo many folks!! Next year, PASS the HATS– again, and again, and again, and again!! If people complain, make them pay $5 to listen to their complaints!

  34. My sentiments exactly! My son was in the band and I couldn’t hear any of it until the end when most of the people had left., at one point these 2 women came barreling thru our side of the crowd with their lawn chairs and tried to SIT DOWN in the middle of the crowd.i was flabbergasted! People were rude & loud and it was not the enjoyable experience we’ve had every year since we moved here 12 years ago.

    1. I hated that the band worked so hard and no one could hear them. I think that was just a one time glitch because usually we can hear just fine. When I was trying to get around the corner, I finally heard them and they sounded awesome as always!

  35. Perfectly stated! Every year it becomes less magical and more stressful. One thing that I thought about last night that might help, if speakers were placed further down Fairhope ave, (to allow everyone to hear) and snow placed further down as well, maybe people would spread out a bit?
    In a perfect world it would stay smaller but I’m afraid those are days gone by. This was the first year I could not hear the band/mayor, ect and my poor nieces and nephews were desperate to get to the snow.

    1. I think you are exactly right about the snow. I guess people up north think we are crazy to try and mob a fake snow machine!

    2. The sound system malfunctioned. I was 15 feet from the stage and could not hear the speeches or the chorus. The band naturally was a little louder. I think if the sound system had not failed people would not have scrunched up trying to get closer to hear. Hopefully next year that won’t happen. I have already decided where I will be standing next year and it won’t be on the corner of Fairhope and Section by that poor flower bed.

      1. I’m sure they’re already hard at work on the sound system issue. Next year, we’ll have our ears blown out!
        thanks for writing, Carol.

  36. I was so excited to take my new family to this for the first time. I grew up going to the lighting of the trees. This was the first time my family was gonna go together. I waited in line to see Mr’s Clause for almost an hour. I could not get close enough to hear the bands playing because there were so many soccer moms pushing strollers in a already highly congested area. Then we we walked nearly a half mile back to my car, we were surprised to find a car blocking both my car and my wife’s car from backing out of our parking spots. It was a huge mess and something is going to have to be done.

  37. I love your post. And, I too experienced a bit of what you described at the tree lighting ceremony. I must confess that I am from Mobile originally. I have manners, but I have been known to hardly blink as I put one arm out to navigate my way through a crowd inch by inch without losing ground. Yes, I have pushed my way through more than one crowd. Orlando is my favorite vacation spot. But, Fairhope has developed in me an appreciation for space, calm, and dignity. Though I may love to feel my heart pump when I get to be a part of a big crowd watching a fireworks show in Disney, I do not choose to live where I must push.

    Yes, Fairhope has taught me to slow down a bit. I have become accustom to less activity, but surprisingly, even more interaction with people. I have found that I was missing so much happiness that was all around me. That is what Fairhope does for people. It helps people enjoy the space in which they actually stand, no matter how small. I try to explain it to people who do not live here. And, I can not.

    That night I was actually disconnected from my daughter for a few minutes on Fairhope Avenue, something that has NEVER happened before. And, during that period, someone tossed a coffee cup into one of our lovely trademark garden trash cans only to have several cups including their coffee fall onto my feet. Yes, warm sticky coffee all over and inside my shoes. And, I could not find my daughter. We reconnected using our cell phones.

    But, where were we in that moment? Because, it did not feel like home anymore. I like what you said to that individual, and I am grateful to you for speaking up for our city. I hope we can continue to be a place where people do not push. I must say that I do not think anyone meant to spill coffee on my feet, or that I experienced quite what you felt. But, I think we need to make that saying reverberate through Fairhope. Let us always be the community that “does not push”. If Mobile can be the “Family Friendly Mardi Gras”, we can be the “community where kindness matters”. Maybe if people know better who we are through people speaking kindly and graciously outwardly to others about who we are, they can take their pushiness where elsewhere.

    I hope that speaking about Fairhope to others and what our city is about will keep up what makes it beautiful. Its not the flowers in the pots. Its not the beautifully manicured streets, and the creatively decorated lawns. Its the people who make all of those images happen every day, because they love a community where kindness does matter. Thank you. I am grateful to call Fairhope my home. -Shelley Collins Griffin

  38. My sentiments precisely, Leslie! We’ve lived here 30+ years and love it. However, we gave up the Lighting of the Trees event a couple of years ago…too many unruly kids running around and nearly shoving us down, and parents (IF they were anywhere around) apparently seeing nothing rude about their behavior…ditto Mardi Gras. Those parents need to mosey on down to Antiques & Uniques and buy those lovely books on things young ladies and gentlemen should know, and maybe the author has one for adults also. She should include a section on how to behave in crowds for adults and children. The old schoolteacher comes out in me too!

    Also agree about bringing dogs to big events….how sad for the pets. I know people are asked not to do so for Arts & Crafts, but many still do. One person stood silently by while her large, wild dog jumped all over me. I love dogs and have a large one too, but he does not go to crowded events downtown.

    We do welcome well-behaved visitors, but those rabid outsiders (and sadly, some locals) make us look bad. Face it! I’m just a stickler for etiquette/manners! I was raised in the South and that is/was/should be part of our culture.

    Another thing…we all make typos now and then, but if you don’t know spelling and grammar, stay off the internet!! (That was not directed at you.)

    Keep on blogging…YOU’RE good! 😉

  39. Sorry you had such a bad experience at what should have been a lovely evening. I’m also sorry that it brought out so much anger in such a happy and upbeat person. As you know, I lived in downtown FH for a year and a half. In the beginning it seemed like a magical place, but as time went on and event after event occurred right outside my door, the magic started to fade. The aftermath of trash, beer bottles, drunks from the bars wandering around at 3am, trampled and yanked out flowers, and dog poop in my front yard was so disheartening. I still miss walking my dog through the downtown in the morning, greeting the kids as the walking school bus went by, getting an ice cream cone at Mr. Gene’s Beans and going for a stroll on the pier in the evening. I don’t miss the crowds that came for all the Mardi Gras parades, the Arts and Crafts Festival, Fall into Fairhope, The Farmer’s Market, The Fairhope Film Festival, (breathe), First Fridays, the Christmas Parade, the 5K races and all the other activities in between. My little family got to the point where we would pull down the shades and hunker down for the duration. I know some people like to be in the middle of all that excitement, but it was just way too much for me, and I’m from New York! Please know that not all outsiders/northerners are rude and pushy. Some of us have actually come here to escape that behavior, but unfortunately it’s everywhere nowadays.

    1. Feeling like the Grinch means I was grumpy, not angry. Big difference.

      It’s just a story of a woman who was a bully. She almost caused a stampede or riot and I was shocked, a little let down, but not angry. The crowd overall was festive and we got to see a few people we knew, but it became “edgy” with so many people not being able to move. I love downtown Fairhope and think the city does a wonderful job with almost every single event. This time, I think the attendance was just a surprise to everyone, and no one was prepared to handle it – and people like the pushy woman who complained and tried to push her way through the crowd didn’t help.

      1. This post sure has received a lot of comments. You seem to be handling them well. I apologize for mistaking your grumpiness for anger. As someone from NY, I’d probably say I was pissed off, but I know you never would. lol.

  40. The traffic was a nightmare (and I didn’t even come all the way into downtown for the tree lighting). The biggest problem facing Fairhope is the dawdlers and especially those who dawdle in the middle of the street not to mention the sidewalk dawdlers. I don’t dawdle which is one of the many reasons why I never feel like I fit in here. These are not my people. My people hustle!

    Enjoyed your post and your sense of humor.

  41. Hi Leslie Ann,
    We lived right down from the precious K-1 Center for years, and recently moved to a shockingly farther distance from town in Montrose- less than a mile from FES. We have missed the ceremony for the past 6 years because it was always “meet season” and my daughter was not permitted to miss gymnastics. She is not competing any more and was thrilled that we could make Lighting of the Trees this year. We were very surprised with the crowds, and how long it took us to drive (with her complaint the whole way that we are not close enough to walk any more) from the Fairhope side of Montrose to Fairhope Elementary for parking. The growth makes both my husband and I sad. The neighborhoods that are getting tossed into small pockets of empty land are popping up right and left. Our schools are stuffed. I appreciate your eloquent take on what our city is becoming.

    I read over a few of the comments. Several years ago we were the family with a large lab on a leash and a toddler in a wagon. That used to be ok and endearing. We saw all of our neighbors, the kiddos in my class each year and had more than enough room to stand enjoy the ceremony with our family.

    1. Yes, our strollers back then weren’t a problem. I remember the fifth graders used to set up their Colonial Days displays on the sidewalks for a few years. Thanks for the comment. Miss that K-1 atmosphere!

  42. I completely agree with your post. I over this growth. The amount of condo/apartment buildings that have and are about to be built is aggravating considering that we already don’t have the parking space for our current population. However, I noticed a lot of people commenting on strollers and wagons as if we should either keep our kids at home or haul them on our hips. That second option isn’t available since we walked from our house, and have kids that are too young to navigate through large crowds yet too heavy to carry all night. The people who made those comments are the kind of people who needed to stay home as well.

  43. The pluses and minuses of the city’s rapid growth during the last 25 years or so are well documented: it is “good for business” but, as you noticed, there is a price to pay and it is not the same place.

    There are literally hundreds of new homes being planned for the sprawling subdivisons on the east side of town.

    A political slogan commonly used 10 – 15 years ago at election-time has faded away as well.

    Events of this kind are now staged primarily to bring in more customers for the many downtown restaurants and bars.

    Anyone concerned should consider “holding their noses” and participating in the sometimes-raucous local political process: you will need to develop a “thick skin” though.

  44. My family and I moved here a year ago. I’m originally from Ocean Springs, MS, a very similar city on the bayside. I left my hometown in 2001 to go to school at USA. That decision led me to discover Fairhope, a city so wonderfully similar to my hometown in so many ways. The population numbers are almost identical today at roughly 17,000, although Fairhope’s has grown much more rapidly in the last 20 years. I was curious and looked at the census numbers. Here’s my observation on the matter after my family attended the lighting ceremony for the first time…

    We didn’t witness any rudeness or uncleanliness. I parked on a side-street behind the library and we were standing near the Fairhope clock within spitting distance of the stage within 10 minutes. No one was spitting. I promise. It was crowded, no doubt, but besides my foot being run over by a child wagon, we enjoyed the show and left within 10 minutes of the snowfall without any reason for concern.

    There is no stopping the attraction of a good thing, but it seems to me the city and some of its people, clearly, are resistant to the inevitable and refusing or failing to adapt. I would caution against this resistance to newcomers, and even visitors during these events. I assure you, these sorts of events are huge for local businesses. We ended up eating leftovers after realizing we were hungry and not going to be finding a quick meal as the restaurants were all packed. I don’t expect to convince everyone, but I think locals should embrace the change. Otherwise, your frustration is just going to continue to grow.

    These events could be adapted to accommodate larger crowds and become a bigger success for long-time locals, all visitors, and local businesses. The Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs is a great example of how big these things can become. The lighting ceremony is somewhat different though, with the attraction of a central stage. That may need to be moved to a larger area. I was also somewhat surprised there was no traffic control going on, but after living in Memphis for awhile, it wasn’t bad at all.

    As for the rudeness, there are no excuses, but it sounds like you handled it gracefully. Keep the kindness in Fairhope!

    1. So glad you had a fun night with your family. It’s truly a wonderful event. I think we were all surprised, even the city leaders at how large the crowd was. Ocean Springs is beautiful. You’ve been blessed to live in great places!

  45. We moved to Fairhope from Minnesota 10 years ago because we much prefer fake snow over the real stuff. We have never regretted our decision to retire in this beautiful town. The first couple of years, we attended all of the festivals, parades, and events in town. They were magical. We rarely do now because as older folk, we know that we are just one shove away from a long stay in a nursing home. Crowds are not kind to the elderly, small children, and dogs. Now we enjoy them all through Robert’s lovely pictures of the events. Thank you for posting.

  46. I love your humor and truth. Perhaps Some of us who love Fairhope could give people lessons on how to create their own charming small town?

  47. That was the single most entertaining piece of copy I have read in a very long time. In fact, I read it out loud to myself in the most perfect southern “Gulf Coast” accent I could muster up. This has all the makins’ of good theatre,

  48. Oh, I hate that it was like that. Pat has said for years that we need to keep the quaintness and awesomeness of our area a secret to keep people from moving here. Granted, I don’t officially live in Fairhope anymore – we moved because of the three neighborhood expansions around our other house – but I totally still want to keep it a secret. I hate that you had to go through that experience, but had to laugh because one of your pictures totally includes a few of my friends in it. I’m going to be sharing this post – especially with them! 🙂

  49. Having grown up in the 60’s on the Magnolia River all of South Baldwin County is dear to me from Gulf Shores to Fairhope. The tourism at the beach exploded after BP began massive advertising after the oil spill crisis. All my realtor friends tell me real estate is ‘hot’ at the beach and in Fairhope. To preserve Fairhope the way the locals want quit advertising Fairhope events. The general public will quickly forget and the true citizens will see local notices in windows about dates as always. Fairhope has done it to themselves but it is not too late to save the area. Remember greed has a part to play in this with the promotion of bringing people in. Look what’s happened at the Grand Hotel. Might as well be Motel Six in the Summer. And the Colony pool is so crowded it’s not fun. So make changes before it’s too late. Fairhope has done it to itself.

  50. Fairhope is MY home! my husband and I raised 5 sons here…..very sad the place I LOVE so much (33 years in the same house, close to town) I have a love/hate relationship with! Absolutely take life in your hands trying to pull out onto Fairhope Ave from Faorwood Blvd. most hours of the day…..sad to say a traffic light is needed there! BUT to address the lovely functions and tradions of our sweet community the solution I thought of (instead of just complaining) would be to somehow
    require admittance the same way we do for the park at the bay; free for city residents…..$xxx. For Baldwin County residents and yet more $xxx. for all others with an exception of 2 visitors per local address! NOW not ALL ideas are GOOD ideas but it is a starting place.

  51. We stood at the corner of Section and Fairhope Avenue, a well dressed family of about 8, including children, grandchildren, parents, left their trash in the flower bed in front of ‘The Cat’s Meow’. And one child about 3ish kept picking the blooms off the flowers; I asked him to stop and he ran to his mother.

    We love you Leslie Anne! Keep up the good work. I think I’ll stay home next year………………

  52. Shame on all of you! All
    The merchants of this town have done an incredible job building it up and improving AND maintaining the economy here. Yet all you do is fuss about it. You fuss about the parking. You fuss about the delivery trucks. You fuss about the beautification projects. You fuss about out of towners. You fuss about KEEPING IT LOCAL. But I know 99% of you take your shopping and dining and other activities outside of Fairhope to malls, restaurants, online etc. You take your money outside the local economy where these merchants need it. But then you want to FUSS about when OUTSIDERS come here to share and experienced some of the things that make Fairhope special. Why not make Fairhope a socialistic town then all are equal and the elected officials can say who enter and who is ejected. That’s how you all sound. And during this wonderful season of giving and sharing and love. You should be ashamed. I love living here. Love the people (both locals and not). I will not let one out-of-towner ruin it for me. But you “locals” are ruining it!!! I have never in my life seen a community so self serving, selfish and entitled in my life. Get over your selves. This town is great. But you’re nothing that special with such animosity in your hearts.

    1. Good point about the businesses, but in all honesty, the downtown merchants I’ve heard from have said the “Lights On” night either didn’t bring them any business (people just came in and ate their food) or they weren’t open at all. Not much shopping goes on that night.

  53. You held your tongue for over three years. I’m not that nice. I won’t hold my tongue for anything. This is the fastest growing county in Alabama. I’ve lived down here for 21 years, and I remember Daphne when it was nothing more than a hole in the wall. If you’re going to get upset about people attending a public event, then maybe you should just stick to attending things that ONLY happen in Fairhope. Don’t go to the fair in Robertsdale because we don’t want other people from neighboring communities to take away our quality family time there. The fair crowd gets bigger and bigger every year as well. Have you not noticed? Or are you just too stuck in your “I’m better than everyone else” attitude? It’s ok to not mention when the Christmas parade for Fairhope is.. most of us don’t care anyway. BTW, the Robertsdale Christmas parade is going to be December the 5th. But for our “little farming community’s” sake, please stay over there. We don’t want any out of town visitors or visitors from neighboring towns to come out to this FAMILY and COMMUNITY event. If you’re not paying attention, my last few sentences are dripping with sarcasm. In my 21 years here, most Fairhope people have been the most arrogant and stuck up group of people I’ve ever come across. The whole world does not revolve around you and your city. I was attending classes in Fairhope last year when the arts and crafts festival came to town. We had to move our class to one of the fire stations in Daphne because people were parking in the places that were supposed to be designated for students. Did we complain about not having our own parking lot? No. We just simply moved our location so that we didn’t have to walk 2 1/2 miles to and from class that evening. Think about that for a minute. It’s another part of our growing community. So, please do us “visitors from neighboring communities” a favor and step off your soap box and remember that you are not the only person, city, or community having to deal with rude people in this population boom.

    1. I don’t think anyone has been arrogant. All I said was if people are going to act rude and ugly, then don’t come ruin it for everyone else. We love for others to come visit and shop, but we want everyone to be nice. What’s wrong with that? Show me a city that invites the rude people to come in.

    2. Well, I’m beginning to believe people from Robertsdale are rude; but I refuse to stereotype everyone that lives there with these few that are making ridiculous comments. Sounds like the Hatfields and McCoys, lol!

  54. This reminds me of the time I took my perfectly sweet small town Southern mama to NYC the week after Christmas a few years back. The crowd at Rockefeller Center was still HUGE! She said she was ashamed to admit that she learned how to push children on that trip! Bless her heart!

  55. I live in the Fruit and Nut area of Fairhope.
    My Husband and I brought our little boy to the tree lighting , a tradition for us since our son was around 2 years old. Nothing else to say for me here except I agree with Leslie Anne’s
    Post word for word . Also this is her blog, simply giving her experience on the evening!!!

  56. You could not have expressed our experience and feelings any better. I recall in years past wandering from street to street so that we could enjoy every performer and see the carolers in period costumes. But this year was completely different. I thought it was just me just not being in the Christmas Spirit but, thanks to your vivid description, realize now that many others were feeling the squeeze as well. My position on it is as follows: 1. If so many people think this lovely evening in our small town is so endearing, why don’t they volunteer or donate to a community organization and do the same in their own town? We know imitation is the greatest form of flattery and we won’t at all be offended. 2. All those throngs of people so vividly captured in your photos had dog-gone better be back in Downtown Fairhope tomorrow, Sunday, November 22 from 1:00-5:00 for the 56th Annual Christmas Open House to do their Christmas shopping! That is how our fare city is able to host events such as Lighting of the Trees. So it will be much appreciated if they drop a few bucks in our precious merchants’ coffers on their return trip. Most of your gentle readers have probably never considered how important it is to support small merchants so thank you for this opportunity to remind them. That’s Sunday, November 22 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. See you there!

    1. Excellent idea. I think I may share your second idea on facebook! Enjoy the city = support the city. Thanks Swim Mom!

  57. Yes, I just read through every single comment after reading your post. Wow, lots of opinions, and it looks like you touched some nerves! I agree with our friend, Lorraine, that you are handling it well, and I agree 100% with you about simply teaching the humans on our planet some rules of civility, otherwise known as etiquette.
    On another note, my poor brother came down from Birmingham to do a job in Fairhope. When he got off work for the day, he tried to get back to the Holiday Inn Express and was in the traffic jam that this caused. He called me to find out if something was wrong, and I remembered seeing it on the news, so I told him what it was all about. He decided to stop in at Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. The servers were not prepared for the influx of people. They ran out of food. Children and babies were crying. He was just a party of one, and called me after 9PM to say that he had just left the restaurant. He was there about three hours. It sounds like it all just grew way too fast.
    I wonder if they could have the tree-lighting in two different stages. First one could be unadvertised and for residents, and then the other one could be advertised for all to attend. I know it’s not the same, but they could be turned off and then back on again. That’s what churches do when they get crowded at Sunday services–they just make two services, usually back to back.
    At least you’ve started a conversation!
    Judy

    1. And what a conversation it has grown into! I only thought it would be an interesting story about a grumpy person. Go figure. I think everyone has had these thoughts stewing just below the surface for a while.

      Love Fairhope. Don’t push.

  58. My daughter and I laughed and laughed at your blog. We live in north Alabama, but we have a vacation house down by the bay in Fairhope. We love to come every chance we get. We enjoy all of the events and appreciate the welcome we have received. Hanging in the girls restroom of my elementary school is a large, girly sign that says, “Be nice.” Yes, we southerners sometimes have to be reminded, but we ARE human, at last. Thanks for the pictures, as we arrived in town too late to attend. My husband and I have traveled all over the world, but there is nothing like Fairhope. We hope that we only add to the charm and respect that the community deserves. We truly love it here and loved your blog. In your case, honesty is a virtue. You just happen to deliver it in a that is humorous and should be taken that way. Thanks, Fairhope, for enriching our lives.

    1. Thanks Debbie. I also love North Alabama too and enjoy visiting relatives there. I never push, and spend lots of money on BBQ.

  59. I would like to first start out by saying I thought your entire story is the BIGGEST joke I’ve ever heard. I found humor in it all. With all that is going on in this world and the hundreds of people that are being killed in acts of terrorism you are concerned about too many people coming to a tree lighting ceremony that The City of Fairhope has put on TV to fill you street to help you city make money. Here’s a suggestion, get a life, and get over yourself.
    Your friend from Mobile, but I’m sure you don’t even know where that is?

    1. Well, if I wrote a blog for CBS News or FOX news, I would be writing about terrorism, but since I write a humorous column for the newspaper and a blog about fun things going on in MY world, this is what you get.

      Thanks for reading!

    2. Betsy, dear, I hope you’re as fired up about the terrorism threatening our world as you want Leslie Anne to be. Hopefully, you’ve sent an email or letter to Congress and the president.

  60. I loved your story! I’m not a native here, but have been in Fairhope for over 14 years. I do remember when all of the events were a total joy to attend. On the night in question, I was heading out to get medicine and dinner supplies, when it dawned on me what night it was. The conversation about how much longer we can stand it before moving out of this town started and we were both sickened at the idea of leaving and also staying just to witness it getting worse by the year. I would love to see admittance stickers provided to a limited amount of cars, given out by the city counsel, only to those who mail in a completed entrance exam. This exam could contain questions such as: If you discover an empty beer bottle on the street while in OUR city, enjoying OUR event, would you; A) Step over it and continue being self-centered.. B) Throw yours down beside it.. or C) Pick it up and deposit it in the nearest trash can, of which OUR city provides a bounty of. If all the answers are correct, they get the sticker, Kind of like Willy Wonka’s “Golden Ticket”. Just a thought. Thanks for your blog!

  61. Fairhope lost it’s small town charm back in the ’90s. I remember driving around town back in the ’80s and seeing the man painting the yellow lines on the streets with a roller at 5:30 am. I remember standing in the parking lot of Greers and it being so quiet and peaceful at 10:30 am that I felt like I might be the last person left on earth. Fairhope’s quaint charm was ruined years ago. It’s not new phenomenon. I avoid Baldwin County at all costs now. Traffic is horrendous at every turn and infrastructure is 25 years behind. It’s the price you pay for growth.

  62. Sad to see the carnival like atmosphere the lighting event fosters. I am a long time resident and left the scene before sundown when I noticed the hordes of people en mass, standing in the flowerbeds and practically hanging out of the trees…Funny thing is, I hardly knew anybody rushing to the towns center and at that point, I knew why…I happily made my way to Greers and the comfort of my vehicle and sped off to the pier to catch another beautiful sunset, leaving that ridiculous cluster f for all to enjoy!! You are not the only one to comment on the rudeness either as I heard this from many others as well. Hopefully, the event will be less advertised in the future and get back to the nice event it once was.

    1. So many more people were pleasant and nice, but it only takes a handful of ill-mannered folks to ruin it for everyone. I still had a good time, but was just shocked at the one woman’s negative attitude and actions. I’m sure anyone would have been taken aback, had they encountered her in any other town.

      Glad you had a great sunset. That’s always a cure for what ails you!

  63. I have never posted my comments about ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, nor do I Facebook, blog, or tweet, much more productive things to do, but when I heard about all the hoopla surrounding the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting this year, curiosity killed the cat, and I just couldn’t help checking it out. I have been a life-long resident of Fairhope for 59+ years, and my mother’s family has been in Fairhope for over 150+ years, before Fairhope even became Fairhope. So………. I guess you could say I’m “old Fairhope”, which many of you posting would have a hard time laying claim to. I cringe at the though of where this community would be if my ancestors had taken the stance that some of you apparently advocate and support, and rather than welcomed the Single Tax Corporation founders to the Eastern Shore in 1894, prohibited their settling, simply because they believed the town was large enough (which I’m sure was probably the opinion of quite a few of those early citizens).

    Yes, growing up in Fairhope was wonderful, as it is now, but like everything else in this world, things change. As for Fairhope, it simply is no longer the town I grew up in, in many ways it is much better, but then in some ways, it’s not so good. For the most part, except for the crowds, it is much better, but it for sure is losing its small town appeal, essentially due to the huge crowds invading the town for special events, but………… Fairhope would not be what it is now if not for our special events, and Arts & Crafts started it all (for those of you who didn’t know that). For the most part, all of our town’s events are family and young children oriented, wherein seems to lie the problem, as many of the supposedly “adults’ who attend our many outside functions don’t seem to either realize or care. For those of you who complained about the “double-wide” strollers, and children running free, get a life!!! Christmas is for children!!!! It’s not about YOU!!! Can you imagine a Tree Lighting Ceremony or Christmas Parade without children??? Thank GOD we live in a town where children can actually roam free without the fear of being picked up! For you that seem to struggle with the strollers, children, and dogs, you should know by now what a downtown event in Fairhope is like, either suck up, or don’t go. It’s not about YOU and your comfort!

    My office is located in downtown Fairhope, with private, gated parking. However, I can’t tell you the number of times our parking lot has been blocked by “out of towners” to downtown events, who obviously have no regard whatsoever for doing so. During Mardi Gras parades, we have to keep someone at the front door at all times, because so many of the revelers don’t understand why they can’t use our bathrooms. Unfortunately, one got by us last year, and left their “calling card” in the bathroom, which wasn’t discovered until the following Monday morning. This is just all a part of what we have to put up with, and give up, to live in this wonderful community, and we should do so graciously and without complaint.

    Could our visitors be more respectful and nice – YES. Could some of our RESIDENTS be more respectful and nice – DEFINITELY YES. Should we build a wall around Fairhope – NO. But, no matter how hard one may try, what we are complaining about is just a total decline in civility and polite society, and until that improves, these unfortunate situations will continue.

    However, when I read Leslie Anne’s original article, my first thoughts were “well said” it’s about time the situation was addressed, and maybe it is time for City Hall to address some possible solutions. But….. the replies and posts that followed were what absolutely amazed me, everything from correcting one another’s grammar ( hope that is spelled right), to both right & left wing rants and raves, shouts of entitlement and elitism to just pure ol’ meanness. THIS is not the Fairhope I grew up in, never was, and never will be!!

    So just remember, the next time you and/or your family attend a downtown Fairhope function, when someone pushes or shoves you, follow Leslie Anne’s advice and POLITELY tell them, “ we don’t push in Fairhope”; when kids trample in the flowers, put them back in the flower bed; when someone throws trash, put it in the garbage. Because, if you give them back what they send, you’re just as rude and offensive as they are, and are stooping to their level. As my sainted grandmother always told us “Remember who you are”.

    Lastly, and I just can’t help myself here, please forgive me……… but, for all the comments made of “Bless Their Heart”, for all of you TRUE Alabamians and Southerners, we ALL know what that means, being the quintessential and condescending putdown, while at the same time seeming to be excruciatingly polite and right up there with “ how sweet”!!!!

    Have a good day.

  64. I live in what used to be a small town in South Florida (believe it or not), the last small town in fact, called Davie. Now it has grown so much, our Orange Blossom Festival is a major tourist attraction and along with Bergeron Rodeo we get many visitors from all over but that isn’t what upsets me these days. With all of the new construction going up on every corner the population of our town has grown tremendously in the last decade or so. Where there used to be farms and cow pastures for miles there are now apartment buildings and new developments. They are widening all the roads to make room for all the people and it still hasn’t even helped the terrible traffic. I found your little town when I was searching for small towns to move to and I must say I just fell in love. I hope your town can keep it’s small town charm forever!

    1. Too late. We’re the fastest growing city in the state of Alabama and we are now overflowing. The small town feeling left about three years ago and crime is on an upswing. Road work is constant and cow pastures are now neighborhoods of cookie-cutter, poorly built houses. So sad.

  65. Counterpoint: razing Fairhope to the ground and redistributing it as a refugee enclave would be a better use and result in a better county overall.

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