Tribe flies high over Birmingham

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

By Staff
This past weekend my family made a trip to Birmingham for my wife to host a wedding party for her sister.
Trips back to the big city are always nice because it’s not often we get to see family members without it having to be a holiday or vacation.
The drive is something that I always dread because it usually follows a long day of work. This trip was no different.
After working all day on pages for the Advance’s first Saturday publication, we packed up and headed out of town. From the get-go, I should have known it was going to be a long trip.
As soon as we made it 15 miles up Interstate 65 we ran into traffic at a standstill waiting on a wreck to clear from the roadway. After about a 45-minute delay, we finally made our way to Greenville to eat. I guess everyone in the town had the same idea as we did because it took right at 40 minutes before we got back on the road.
The rest of the drive until we entered Birmingham wasn’t that eventful. My son watched television, my nephew listened to his i-Pod and my wife slept.
As soon as we neared what is referred to as “Malfunction Junction,” a portion of Interstate 65 in downtown that intersects with Interstate 59 and I-20, I spotted what looked like a UFO. Yes, I said a UFO.
There was something floating slowly over the skies of downtown Birmingham that was glowing bright orange. I first spotted it a mile or so before the tops of skyscrapers were in sight.
As I drove closer, the aircraft kept creeping through the skies, and I noticed that the other drivers in the lanes next to me had spotted it too. But once I got closer I was shocked by what it was.
The aircraft wasn’t a UFO, but the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ very own 178-foot Wind Creek Casino &Hotel blimp, which was christened during a ceremony the weekend prior. The A-170LS Lightsign Lightship was in Birmingham promoting the casino’s upcoming concerts during the city’s annual City Stages music festival. The casino’s July 17 concert featuring country star Reba McEntire and Aug. 29 concert featuring Hank Williams Jr, as well as, general information about the casino could be viewed by festivalgoers and motorists on the blimp’s massive 70 foot by 30 foot full-color LED video screen.
Several people asked me over the course of the weekend if I knew about the concerts coming to Atmore. Of course I did, but how did they know? Each said they had seen the aircraft in the sky that weekend.
So be sure to look up each time you are at an event over the next year, no matter where you are. The Wind Creek blimp may be overhead.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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