Visiting the city was the Gold Care Group. Members are 55 years and older. They sign up for events like the one to Sylacauga through the two hospitals in Marshall County. The hospitals sponsor the event. The enrollment for Gold Care is more than 2,500.
Day trips as well as longer jaunts out of state are offered to the men and women in the group.
The tour to the Marble City included ice cream and a tour at the Blue Bell Creameries.
Mayor Sam Wright greeted the Gold Care crowd and gave the group a marble history lesson with assistance of a video of the last Marble Festival.
Dr. Shirley Spears, director of B.B. Comer Memorial Library, gave a tour of the art and sculpture at the library with focus on Avondale’s Douglass Crockwell Ad art collection as well as an up close and personal look at the six pieces of sculpture from the previous four festivals.
The group, Spears said, marveled at the beauty of the marble and the quality of the sculpting from the Italian masters.
Giovanni Balderi’s Italian marble sculpture, “The Rose”, was shown to demonstrate the similarities and differences in the marble from Pietrasana, Italy as compared with the local white marble.
The group was impressed by the beautiful piece, “Rapunzel”, which was carved by artist, Frank Murphy.
Spears said Murphy is a talented painter of religious murals, was brought up in Sylacauga and graduated from Sylacauga High School and the University of Montevallo.
The group had lunch at Marble City Grill and then talked with sculptor Craigger Browne, as they viewed his “Sylacauga Emerging” piece which is on the grounds of the city’s municipal complex.
They then went to see the Imerys-Gantt’s Observation Point where a breath-taking view of a historic quarry caused a stir of excitement, Spears said,
The group ended their day in Sylacauga with a trip to the Comer Museum to see the treasures housed there.
Marble Festival chairman Dr. Ted Spears said, “We envisioned our beautiful white marble drawing people to Sylacauga to sight-see and eat in our restaurants, but we are amazed at the progress that has been made in four short years. It’s encouraging to see how powerful the combination of Blue Bell Creameries and Sylacauga marble has become. We can’t say enough good things about the marble quarries helping us to make our town one of the places in Alabama to visit. The Alabama Marble Company has offered up beautiful stone to carve, Omya has sponsored a spectular “Sylacauga Emerging” piece of sculpture for our municipal grounds, and Imerys has developed the Imerys-Gantts Observation Point. We owe them so much credit for the success of the Magic of Marble Festival and now for ensuring that people that visit have storiesto take home about the satisfaction of visiting the Marble City.”
Dr. Ted Spears encouraged everyone in the surrounding area to come out to visit Sylacauga. If a group would like to come, they may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 256-267-6655.