BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Birmingham, Alabama here they come.
The British couple who mistook Birmingham, Alabama for Birmingham, England when booking a trip to Las Vegas a few months ago will get to experience the Magic City for themselves on Aug. 16-17.
Richella Heekin and Ben Marlow’s upcoming excursion is a chance for Alabamians to show residents of Birmingham, England (and the world) that Birmingham (Alabama) is a worthy, and maybe even better tourist destination than Sin City, said Tom Cosby, a retired Birmingham businessman, who is organizing the couple’s visit.
The couple will spend a day and a half in Magic City after spending a week in Las Vegas.
Richard Branson-owned Virgin Holidays is picking up the tab for the couple’s airfare and five nights of accommodations in Las Vegas.
“Birmingham, Alabama is currently in the midst of an astonishing rebirth, so this is an absolutely great time for Richella and Ben to visit,” Cosby said.
While in Alabama, five of Birmingham’s hippest young couples will escort Heekin and Marlow around the city. They will sample the city’s “legendary culinary destinations,” including award-winning restaurants and craft beer pubs.
They will experience the Magic City’s award-winning Red Mountain Park and hair-raising zipline courses, use the electric assist Zyp bikes to tour the city center and receive VIP treatment at Birmingham’s internationally renowned Porsche Driving Experience, Cosby said.
The couple will be treated like celebrities complete with the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Birmingham Barons baseball game at Regions Field.
Their short visit will be capped off with tickets to Iron City to see Jenny Lewis in concert.
In a previous interview with AL.com, Heekin said she was appreciative of Cosby’s “generous offer” and was looking forward to visiting the South.
She happened across the Red Mountain Park website while Googling the city. “It sounds like both a fun and interesting place to visit,” Heekin said.
The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Big Communications, REV Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Tourism helped coordinate the couple’s visit.
“We could not have done this without the generosity of our local attractions and eateries and the outpouring of help from stalwart donors such as Merrill Stewart of Stewart Perry Construction Company.” Cosby said.