Alabama’s first lady, Dianne Bentley, visited the city of Red Bay on Thursday to tour the traveling Smithsonian exhibit. Bentley is pictured with Red Bay librarian Linda Ezzell while touring the Quilt Works display at the Weatherford Library where one of Bentley’s own quilts is being featured.
Alabama’s first lady, Dianne Bentley, visited the city of Red Bay on Thursday to tour the traveling Smithsonian exhibit. Bentley is pictured with Red Bay librarian Linda Ezzell while touring the Quilt Works display at the Weatherford Library where one of Bentley’s own quilts is being featured.

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Alabama’s first lady visits Red Bay, Smithsonian exhibit

Published 12:38pm Friday, October 11, 2013

RED BAY – Three months after her husband visited Red Bay on his state economic tour, Alabama’s first lady, Dianne Bentley, spent several hours in the town on Thursday taking in the small-town charm and touring the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, which features a quilt Bentley hand-crafted and loaned to the town for display.

Rosalyn Fabianke, event coordinator for the exhibit, said she was honored that Bentley took the time to visit the town and tour the exhibit that many Red Bay residents have worked hard on for more than a year now.

“Mrs. Bentley was very gracious to loan us her beautiful quilt made from Gov. Bentley’s ties he wore during his campaign for governor,” Fabianke said.

“The quilt was added to the ‘Quilt Works’ display at the Weatherford Library and has been a wonderful edition to the collection of local quilts that tell the story of many families here in Red Bay.

“Having her quilt as part of the exhibit was a wonderful way for her to support this project and our town, but having her actually come to the town and visit the exhibit in person was an honor for us.”

Bentley said she was glad to support the exhibit and enjoyed the supplemental exhibits the town put together to tie in to the Smithsonian exhibit theme “The Way We Worked.”

“Being a quilter, I loved getting to see the many quilts on display – each one of them telling a unique and special story,” Bentley said.

“I can appreciate the hard work and effort that was put into each one and into the beautiful display at the library. It was an honor to be a part of it.”

Bentley toured the main Smithsonian exhibit as well the Red Bay Museum, which the first lady said went above and beyond her expectations.

“Alabama has many secret treasures and I think the Red Bay Museum is one of the treasures citizens of Alabama need to take time to visit,” Bentley said.

“I enjoyed learning more about the town and seeing all the hard work they have put into making this exhibit interesting and informational for visitors.”

In addition to the tour of the Smithsonian exhibits, Bentley also toured the Tiffin Motorhomes plant, had lunch at local favorite restaurant Swamp John’s with members of the community, and visited Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow’s property at Cypress Cove Farm to see the working grist mill that is also part of the Smithsonian displays.

“Red Bay is a charming town, and I really loved being here,” Bentley said.

“The Tiffin Motorhomes plant was a beautiful facility and it was wonderful to see a plant like that flourishing in a small town and providing jobs for so many people, which is something that is important to my husband.

“I also enjoyed my lunch at Swamp John’s and meeting many of the citizens of the town. This is one of my favorite things about being the first lady – getting to go to places like Red Bay and discovering what a special place it is. Alabama is full of so many neat little towns, and Red Bay is one of those towns.”

Martha Morrow, who is the vice-president of the Legislative Spouses Club and invited Bentley to visit Red Bay, hosted Bentley for the day and said she was glad the first lady had the chance to see what a wonderful place Franklin County is.

“Mrs. Bentley was very complimentary of the town and of the area the whole time she was here,” Morrow said.

“I think that is a testament to the people of Red Bay and the people of Franklin County. It was an honor to have her here.”

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