September is an interesting month; summer is sort of over, but not officially until September 20th. We still have some hot days potentially, but more of them seem pleasant. School has started, football has started, it's too early for fall color, and so, what is September?

It seems like a transition month to me. Summer gradually bids its adieu, fall gradually shows it colors and average daily temperatures begin going down (we hope). I guess most people think about back to school, football and school related activities around this time.

September is not a tourist month. Summer is over for most people when school begins and that happens currently for us in the first week of August unlike it used to be for many of us when back to school was the day or two after Labor Day.

Fall season has not begun; it seems like a transition time splitting summer and fall. It seems like a strange time to me, it is a time frame that seems almost like a sub-season not really summer because schools have started but not fall yet, either.

There are some fun things going on this month. We just had Collinsville Mule Day on Labor Day, September 2nd, we have the Fort Payne Boom Days Heritage Celebration on September 21 and we have the DeKalb County VFW Agricultural Fair beginning on September 23.

For me, it is our fantastic fair that triggers that fall feeling. The agricultural events, the produce exhibits with pumpkins sitting on display leaned against dried corn stalks, late summer flowers and all the bright colors that lean into the fall look and feel associated with that fall feeling. From the time of the fair, the change of season begins to progress as October is here and now the trees are beginning to get colorful, the tourists are returning to our area for our scenic fall beauty, cooler temperatures and clear blue skies without the summer haze.

Visitors are lured to rental cabins, they camp, they stay in a B&B and mill around in our State Parks and at Little River Canyon National Preserve. They hike and they shop around in our quaint scenic towns. The visitors will be here for Mentone Colorfest coming on the weekend of October 18th. Colorfest is timed perfectly for visitors who plan a weekend trip to our area for fall color and a fun relaxing time with good food, music and some great arts and crafts.

Our area is filled with wide open spaces, lots of public land and plenty of views to witness more closely the changing seasons. This is our appeal to tourists who will gradually start coming our way again as our late summer turns to fall.

— John Dersham is president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism.

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