Hop on down to Northport’s first annual Bunny Trail

Rachel Seale, Contributing Writer

The city of Northport is hosting the first annual Bunny Trail downtown this spring to promote community and raise awareness for Tuscaloosa’s One Place, a family resource center.

Similar to the Christmastime Tinsel Trail, Bunny Trail is made up of nearly 100 five-foot wooden eggs that sponsors and businesses have decorated to represent their company or organization. Anyone in the community can sponsor an egg on the Bunny Trail. This year’s presenting sponsors are Premier Service Company, a 24-hour service for HVAC, plumbing and electrical needs, and Lowe’s Home Improvement of Tuscaloosa. 

Ashley Cornelius, the director of communications for Tuscaloosa’s One Place, said that Premiere Service Company is one of Tuscaloosa’s One Place’s biggest champions. She said the partnership with Lowe’s is a new one, but TOP is excited to see how this relationship will grow.

“Having these two presenting sponsors is an excellent illustration of the community’s long-standing support for TOP and our projects while also highlighting opportunities for new partnerships as we continue to work to strengthen West Alabama families,” Cornelius said.  

Tuscaloosa’s One Place is dedicated to helping families and serving the community.

“We serve over 18,000 people per year through after school programs, school social work, parenting and fatherhood, healthy relationship education, workforce development and teen intervention programs,” Cornelius said. 

The Bunny Trail helps create a safe environment for families to enjoy free events, according to Cornelius.

“Tuscaloosa’s One Place’s primary goal is that all families thrive. Creating events and spaces for families to enjoy strengthens not only the family, but the community as well,” Cornelius said.

The proceeds raised by the events on the Bunny Trail will also benefit Tuscaloosa’s One Place’s community programs.

Cornelius said the idea for a TOP spring event inspired by Christmas trails, such as the Tinsel Trail, had been long discussed. However, it wasn’t until the City of Northport agreed to partner with TOP that the Bunny Trail became concrete.

Jamie Dykes, a Northport city councilmember, said that Glenda Webb, the city administrator,  came up with the idea for the Bunny Trail. Dykes said Webb presented the idea to TOP and the groups collaborated to make the idea a reality.

“They came up with everything that is out there. Our staff built everything. The businesses decorated the eggs, but we built all of the props and the eggs that they painted,” Dykes said.

Dykes said the city has been instrumental in creating the advertisements for the Bunny Trail to raise involvement at its events, as well as awareness for Tuscaloosa’s One Place.

Cornelius said the event would not have been possible without their partnership with the City of Northport, as well as the sponsors and decorators of the eggs-hibits. 

“I hope they enjoy it and see the businesses that have participated and learn a little bit about what Tuscaloosa’s One Place does,” Dykes said.

According to Dykes, the city decided to place the trail downtown to bring attention to the area, as well as emphasize the newly finished streetscaping project on Main Avenue. 

According to both Cornelius and Dykes, the city’s staff and Tuscaloosa’s One Place wanted to bring a unique experience to downtown Northport. This free and public Bunny Trail does just that.

She said the downtown area gives people a place to safely park and walk along the sidewalk without worrying about being hit.

The Bunny Trail occupies the sidewalk area past City Cafe and goes towards the Black Warrior River. This allows visitors to safely experience all the sights and fun the Bunny Trail has to offer. 

“In addition to providing recreation for families and spotlighting our sponsors and decorators, we hope to bring more attention to downtown Northport’s businesses, events, and other activities,” Cornelius said. 

The eggs-hibits line downtown Northport to create the perfect spring atmosphere for the events taking place on the Trail this season.

Ashley Williams, the marketing manager at Kentuck Art Center & Festival, said the city and Tuscaloosa’s One Place reached out to ask Kentuck to decorate an egg. 

Kentuck’s programming assistant Molly Nelko and clay studio manager Amy Smoot designed and decorated the art center’s egg for the Bunny Trail with Kentuck’s logo of a tree.

Williams said Kentuck has a rabbit sculpture in the studio’s courtyard that people have also been taking pictures with for Easter. 

“I hope that everyone comes out to see the eggs, has a good time and admires the artistry. There are some really extravagant eggs out here,” Williams said.

Like other sponsors and businesses, Kentuck is excited to be participating in the first annual Bunny Trail. Williams said the studio’s staff had fun coloring and decorating their egg and enjoyed seeing the other eggs on the trail.

“I think it’s a really fun opportunity for the downtown merchants to get together and participate in something and support Tuscaloosa’s One Place as well,” Williams said.

This year, the Bunny Trail will also host the following events: the Grand Opening, Pet Eggstravaganza, Egg Hunt and Spring Jubilee. The events are for all ages, but the egg hunt and jubilee will primarily be geared towards younger children and tweens. The Easter Bunny will also make an appearance and be available for pictures at the events.

“Given the overwhelmingly positive response we have seen so far, we absolutely expect the Bunny Trail to become an annual event,” Cornelius said.