According to outgoing Alabama State Director Gordon Smith, the Alabama Sams have been coming to Talladega County since at least 2006, and will be back again in 2014.
“We you used to do two statewide events per year, but with the economy the way it is, we’re going to cut back to one for a little while. We’ll alternate between Talladega and Dothan,” he said.
The state organization and the Cheaha Chapter have designated the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind as their major charity, and the Sand Mountain chapter hosts events specifically to benefit Alabama School for the Blind.
This year, a playing card bingo game raised $321 for the institutes, a cakewalk by the Cheaha chapter brought in $468, and two 50/50 drawings raised over $400, with a third drawing coming up Saturday night.
A “jail bail” event raised another $126, and a raffle by the Cheaha chapter added another $268 to the total.
Smith said Cheaha has been holding benefits for AIDB for at least 15 years, and also hosts a couple of flea markets every year. The Sand Mountain chapter also raises funds for the neonatal unit at Children’s Hospital.
The 2012 Talladega event drew 114 vehicles from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida, with one coming from as far away as Maine. Of the out of state vehicles, Florida had the most, with 15.
Of the Alabama Chapters, Sand Mountain had the most campers in Talladega this time.
Eleven vehicles were listed as attending their first “Samboree.”
Although there was a fair crowd, Smith said the number of out of state guests was actually somewhat lower than it had been in the past.
“It’s down a little bit,” he said. “We had 18 states represented at our last event, and 11 states the last time we were here,” he said.
The next Alabama Samboree will be in Dothan, with the theme of “I Love A Circus Parade.”
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org