HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - This is an important week not only remembering Huntsville history but creating it too, as the area celebrates the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and the victory of Apollo 11.
Charles Winters, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Vice President, summarized it like this: "We are going to be busy, but it's a great, high energy business."
A variety of events have already taken place, and others are yet to launch this week: a world record model rocket launch, a big homecoming dinner, and dancing in the streets. You can find more details and Apollo 50th events by clicking here.
"There is no better place in the galaxy to celebrate than right here in Huntsville, Alabama, Rocket City USA," said Winters.
Hotels like the Space and Rocket Center Huntsville Marriott, are experiencing the boom firsthand.
Mary Beth Lewis, Huntsville Marriott Director of Sales, said, "We are very busy, yeah, we are doing quite well."
As an added bonus, the hotel offers a view of the world record rocket launch from above.
They're relatively busy during the week, but Lewis said they're seeing even more activity as guests prepare for the week's worth of activities. "Everyone just wants to be part of the history-making that's going on here in Huntsville," she said.
"We anticipate that several thousand folks will be at many of these events and activities," Winters said, adding, "We are expecting very good, strong participation from international visitors."
He credits the months of hosting international and domestic media, and the word around the world about Huntsville's place in history, as the reason for that.
It's already a busy time in the Rocket City, with other conferences and sports including swimming and tennis events this week too. Winters said 2018 was a "banner" year for tourism in Huntsville and Madison County, and due to this success, he expects 2019 to be even better.
"We are looking at some great economic impact," he stated.
At ground zero for the activities of the week, Lewis said she's feeling the pride of her home, and anticipation of what this recognition will bring in the future.
"It's just really neat to see our town of Huntsville on the map and out of this world," she said.