Events attract out-of-towners
Don't be surprised if you're meeting more people from who live outside the immediate area in Mississippi and even outside the state. It's happening in Lincoln County because there's more money to spend on tourism. Over the past year and a half, funding of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce (BLCC) Tourism Council from the two percent hotel-motel tax has tripled from annual receipts of $5,000 to $6,000.
"We joke that 'we must be doing something right for a change,'" says BLCC Executive Director Garrick Combs says. But in fact BLCC, with its committees and the Tourism Council, has been working steadily in recent years, particularly since funds started flowing from the hotel-motel tax four years ago, to make its own events bigger and better and help locals grow and create other events to bring visitors to the area. The work is bearing fruit.
In January, BLCC co-sponsored Brookhaven Little Theater's fourth annual "Mozart by Candlelight" performance of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. BLCC has also been an important supporter and promoter of the current BLT season, including “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical,” in October, “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” in December, “The Diary of Anne Frank” last month, and upcoming productions of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical” in April and May and workshop performances of “Disney’s High School Musical Jr.” and “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Kids” by BLTeens and The Haven Kids in June and July.
Last month, BLCC again hosted Downtown Jazzed Up, its fourth annual Mardi Gras celebration in downtown Brookhaven from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring a second-line parade, a Cajun cook off and street party. On Mardi Gras party day starting at 7 a.m., BLCC also co-sponsored the first of five run/walk events in the Ole Brook Run Series -- "Cupid Shuffle," with a 5K run/walk, 10K run and one-mile kids run to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. BLCC will also support the Defining Moment Event charity runs on May 23 ("Run to Remember"), July 18 ("Splash Dash"), October 24 ("Trick or Treat Trot") and December 5 ("Run, Run Rudolph") for the Wounded Warriors Projects, a school kits program and Toys for Tots.
BLCC hosted "Brookhaven Day" in the state capitol rotunda at Jackson on February 27, featuring an ice cream social and visits from government officials. Locals making also had opportunities to visit their legislative representatives and personnel at state agencies. Last week, BLCC registered bikers for the Red Bluff Gran Fondo 100-mile plus ride in Lawrence County and hosted a Meet and Greet featuring retired pro bike riders.
Long-standing BLCC events are:
Miss Hospitality interviews for young women 18 to 24 years old for the state pageant.
Girls Night Out in June to bring shoppers to downtown Brookhaven.
The Ole Brook Festival, AM outdoor bazaar in Brookhaven with fleas, arts and crafts, food vendors and entertainment on October 3.
The Brookhaven Christmas parade on December 3.
BLCC also promotes:
The Goin' to Town Car Show held March 7 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Fielder's Pro Shop event brought more than 270 vehicles to downtown Brookhaven last year.
Hogwild Barbeque Festival sponsored by volunteer fire fighters on May 22 and 23, with cook off contests for adults and kids, as well as meals for visitors.
A Farmers Market coordinated by the Agricultural Extension Service in Railroad Park in downtown Brookhaven from May through August and into the autumn months.
The Spring Fest, a country fair with a rides, and displays and vendors at Lincoln County Civic Center.
The Wildlife Expo August 24 and 25 at Lincoln County Civic Center that showcases hunting, fishing and outdoors products.
In recent years, the area music scene has been recognized for its talent, and BLCC has supported:
A summer concert series during May, June and July, with bands providing music for street dancing in downtown Brookhaven.
Brookstock, a three-day rock festival in July bringing together long-time and young musicians, including performers who continued their careers elsewhere after starting them in the area and others who stayed here.
Overbrook Songwriters Festival, an event that brings together composers-performers of popular and country music mostly from outside the area to share their art with locals in area restaurants/bars.
Music in Trinity Park, an outdoor lunch time concert series in the Trinity Episcopal Church park produced by Wesson News columnist and local arts promoter Shaw Furlow during April and October.