Thursday, April 27, 2006
enjoy Holly Springs
By SUE WATSON
Drizzle and overcast skies Friday set the pace for a steady, but modest, turnout for the 68th Annual Pilgrimage. And those who did visit the lovely City of Holly Springs said they had a good time.
Cemetery tour a favorite
Bruce and Jane Fulton of Olive Branch had visited the town but never taken the tour. Jane said she liked the cemetery visit best.
“It’s a terrible thing to say about a cemetery but it’s beautiful,” she said. “The actors were very good, especially the one who was the editor of The Reporter (Judge Eugene Brown).”
She also liked the tombstone and story of the little boy (Our Charlie) and the dog.
“It’s (Holly Springs is) a gem that’s hidden,” Bruce Fulton said. “We’ve been down here three times in a month, now. So, it’s got to be a draw.”
Wine and Cheese Reception
The Fultons also joined the wine and cheese reception at Fleur de Lis (Burton Place), which drew about 125 visitors, according to proprietor David Person.
He said this year’s Pilgrimage was “the best ever.”
“A lot of people are interested in Holly Springs,” Person said. “When people came in, we promoted Holly Springs first and then the houses.”
Melissa Roberson and Margie Potts of Tippah County came to Fleur de Lis dressed as period civilian re-enactors. Potts and her daughter Jeanne, from Tippah County, are painting the exterior and interior of Fleur de Lis, as it undergoes renovation and restoration.
Immie Farnsworth of Holly Springs did all the floral arrangements for the wine and cheese reception.
“She rarely will do flowers, but when she does, they are brilliant,” Person said. “She made that whole party with the flowers.”
Two celebrities were present promoting their books, Person said.
The author of “The Widow of the South” written by Robert Hicks from Jackson came up for the tour.
And at Crump Place, Alice Long of Holly Springs signed copies of her new book, “Images of America--Holly Springs,” coauthored by Mark Ridge.
Many of the photographs in the book are from the collection of the late Claiborne Thompson, a columnist for The South Reporter for many years.
Also featured at Fleur de Lis was a one-time exhibition of paintings by the late Vadah Cochran in the private collections of Doris Cochran and her daughter Marie Moore.
“I think there was a real interest in these paintings,” Person said. “I knew about them and had seen them at Doris’ house. It was Milton Winter’s idea to have the exhibition; several people in Holly Springs own pieces of Cochran’s work which are very treasured. I think the big draw was the art and the house.”
Other visitors and guests at the Friday evening reception included Susanna Barton and daughter Marley, Person’s daughter and granddaugher from Jacksonville, Florida and his cousin Art Collins and wife Betty Collins from Atlanta.
Photographer and painter Randy Hayes, a Tupelo born artist who exhibits in Chicago and Seattle, was another guest. The Hayes have purchased a home in Holly Springs.
Other guests included Helen Hutter of Lynchburg, Va., Gee Canada Smith from Union Hall, Va., who attended with Jane Ellen Collins Callahan, who grew up in Holly Springs.
And Marianne and Richard Ward of Bartlett, who took the tour last year, were back again. They brought their motor home and camped at Wall Doxey State Park.
“It is a beautiful event,” Marianne Ward said.
Behind the scenes
The Pilgrimage is organized each year by the Holly Springs Garden Club, with proceeds going to the upkeep of Montrose.
Margaret Brown, president, opened the event at ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Montrose, Friday, with the introduction of Suzanne Farese, Pilgrimage chairman, and committee members Kathy Elgin and Lynn Callicutt; the presentation of queens Kelsey Farese and escort John Travis Lomenick and Ellen Gresham and escort Buddy Farris.
Farese is the daughter of Steve and Suzanne Farese and Lomenick is the son of Charly Ellen Williams and Bob Lomenick. Gresham is the daughter of Steve and Mindy Gresham. Farris is the son of Charlie and Jane Farris.
The Rev. Bruce McMillan of Christ Episcopal Church led prayer, Mayor Andre’ DeBerry welcomed guests and Katherine Farese, daughter of Tony and Karen Farese, sang the National Anthem.
The Queens Ball was held Saturday evening at Montrose, with dinner and musical entertainment.
“We had a lovely night-time party to honor our queens and escorts,” Margaret Brown said. “It was a big success.”
Topp family reunion
About 40 descendants of Col. Dickson C. Topp attended a first family reunion in Holly Springs to coincide with the reopening of Airliewood for the Pilgrimage. Topp was owner of Airliewood about six years after its construction in 1858.
Ranging in age from 3 to 91, the Topp descendants were the guests of Joe and Kathy Overstreet, who purchased and restored Airleewood in time for this year’s pilgrimage.
“We are grateful for the wonderful hospitality extended by the Overstreets,” Bruce Topp said. “All the Topps truly enjoyed touring the former family home for a reception and private tour.”
The Topp family reunion concluded Sunday afternoon with a visit to the family lot in Hill Crest Cemetery. Family from Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas toured Holly Springs.
A variety of other activities and sunny skies Saturday and Sunday contributed to the overall success of the 68th Pilgrimage.
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