FOLEY – Foley residents and officials are moving forward with efforts to develop the community’s Sister Cities program with the municipality of Hennef, Germany.

Foley Sister Cities has raised money to send a delegation of South Baldwin high school students to Hennef in May. The Foley City Council voted at its most recent meeting to provide some funding to support the effort to send students.

Program supporters in Hennef are also working to send German students to Foley in the fall of 2024.

Foley Sister Cities has also developed other international cultural opportunities, awareness activities and connections.

The organization was the host of the first Oktoberfest 5K and 1-mile fun run at OWA on Oct. 7. Event sponsors included Ascend Performance Materials, Riviera Utilities, Riverview Turf and WAS. More than 100 runners and walkers, many dressed in German attire, took part in the event to raise money for the students’ trip to Hennef and to promote cultural exchanges between the two communities.

Linda B. Spangrud, Foley Sister Cities executive director, said the turnout for the inaugural event shows the community effort for the program.

“I cannot thank enough everyone involved, from sponsors, volunteers to runners, for participating in making this first race a giant success,” Spangrud said. “We surpassed our goal; it definitely takes a village.”

The Foley Sister Cities program and city also recently welcomed official guests from Hennef.  Dominique Müller-Grote, director of the Hennef office for Culture, Public Relations and Volunteering, and his wife, Stefanie Göllner, took part in a reception at the Foley Civic Center.

Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the visit was a good chance to show off the people and attractions of the community. 

 “I believe all the activities, places and people our German friends visited and met on their trip gave them a glimpse of who we are,” Hellmich said. “We are the new Alabama and getting the word out internationally is good for all.”

The Hennef visitors also toured the area visiting OWA, the Foley Railroad Museum & Model Train Exhibit, the Holmes Medical Museum, USS Alabama, Fort Morgan, Dauphin Island, Graham Creek Nature Preserve, Mobile History Museum and enjoying a sunset dolphin cruise. They also visited the four Foley area public schools and Collins Aerospace and Ascend Performance Materials.  

The Foley Sister Cities Commission is a non-profit organization that promotes long-term, global people-to-people relationships through the development of international leadership, friendship, and understanding. 

Anyone wanting more information on the Sister Cities program can go to the organization’s website,, or Facebook page.