CELEBRATING HISTORYIn keeping with Hoover’s beginnings, its neighborhoods have marked the city’s 50th anniversary with cake and fellowship.
By Heather Jones Skaggs
Photos by Dawn Harrison and Contributed
Photo Credit: Images of America Hoover, Arcadia Publishing, City of Hoover
What is an anniversary or birthday without a cake? Hoover city officials, as part of the city’s yearlong 50th anniversary, traveled across Hoover during the summer bringing the celebration to neighborhoods with cake and refreshments. “One of the best parts of being mayor is getting out in the community and interacting with citizens,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato says. “People are comfortable in their own environments sharing their thoughts and ideas, which allows us to learn more about the neighborhoods that we visit.”
“As the sixth largest city in the state of Alabama, many often comment that we are a big city with a small town feel,” adds Events Coordinator Erin Colbaugh. “Visiting a variety of neighborhoods allows us to celebrate in more intimate gatherings, spending quality time with residents over the summer.”
The gatherings take a page from the early days of Hoover. The city’s longest serving mayor, Frank Skinner, reflects on the early celebrations in Hoover from the 10th anniversary to the 20th. “There was a desire at the city’s 10th anniversary to have a celebration and essentially out of that the Chamber of Commerce formed,” Skinner says. “During those early years we were multitasking and you didn’t just have one job, you had several. At the 20th anniversary celebration, there were many cakes in a variety of flavors and designs made or brought from different businesses around Hoover to city hall. The community was invited to come celebrate the anniversary there. Pam Huff and I cut a two-layer cake during the ceremony and then joined in the activities. It was a great day.”
To mark the 20th anniversary, a giant wooden, decorated cake was placed in front of city hall in the same location that the city Christmas tree stands each year. Hoover Belles, hosts for the city, were also on hand to welcome guests.
This year’s 50th anniversary parties began in the city’s historic neighborhood of Green Valley with a gathering at Star Lake. Then, alternating between each side of the city, the mayor and council members visited The Kirkman Preserve, Greystone, Water’s Edge, Bluff Park and Ross Bridge, to name a few. The cakes were baked and decorated by bakery staff at the Wal-Mart Bakery on Highway 150. Each cake had a vanilla base with blue and white icing and included the 50th anniversary icing logo. Bud’s Best Cookies also donated a variety of cookies to serve––including their “birthday cake” flavor. Along with the cake and refreshments, many signature 50th anniversary items were distributed including decals, hand fans, coasters, tattoos, magnets, stickers and bookmarks.
Celebrating milestones are important in the civic life of the city and its residents says councilman John Greene. “Having the opportunity to share this 50th anniversary milestone throughout Hoover helps me to remember that we are neighbors as well as citizens. There is a personal connection inherent in sharing food and fellowship that can be lacking in the regular routine of conducting city business,” he adds.
Greene looks to Thomas Jefferson as an inspiration. “The government is strongest of which every man feels himself a part. I believe that these words of Jefferson’s hold true for our city government in the traditional ways, but also in the time we take to come together informally in friendship to celebrate with each other and mark the important moments in our city’s life,” Greene says.
As the city continues on another 50 years, perhaps the future citizens of Hoover will celebrate with their own party and reflect on Hoover. But today, Brocato says he is grateful to be the mayor of such a great city in which to live, raise families and be employed. “We want to work hand in hand with citizens to make the city an even better place than it is today,” Brocato says.