Thursday, March 25, 2010
Pilgrimage draws near
By BARRY BURLESON
Spring has sprung, and the 72nd annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage is just a few weeks away.
Stephanie Movre, director of the Holly Springs Tourism Bureau, talked about the big event and more at the Holly Springs Rotary Club meeting March 17.
The pilgrimage, sponsored by the Holly Springs Garden Club, is set for April 16-18.
Movre said new activities this year include Sunset on Salem, the Sweet Potato Queen™ Fling and the Booker Hardware Cutlery W.R. Case and Sons Historian Tour.
The inaugural Sunset on Salem tour will be held Friday, April 16, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ($20 per person). Guests will stroll along Salem Avenue, known in the 19th century as Holly Springs’ “Silk Stocking Row” and learn fascinating facts and hear tall tales.
Sweet Potato Queen™ Jill Conner Browne is coming to town Sunday, April 18. The party ($20 per person) begins at 2:30 p.m. at Montrose with tours, snacks, entertainment and a book signing. Proceeds benefit the Montrose Restoration Fund.
Downtown on Saturday, April 17, Booker Hardware Cutlery will host a Case knife show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other activities, with assistance from the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, will include arts and crafts, food, an auction, entertainment, and antique cars and tractors.
The tour of historic homes this year includes Athenia, Montrose, Burton Place, Walthall Place, Strawberry Plains Davis House and Cuffawa.
Other activities on Saturday, April 17, include the Pilgrimage 5K Walk/Run starting downtown at 8 a.m., tours of Hill Crest Cemetery at 10 a.m. and Montrose Under the Moonlight at 6 p.m.
There will also be carriage rides, luncheons, re-enactors and much more.
Tickets and information will be available at the Marshall County Library during pilgrimage.
Movre, in her talk to Rotarians, also presented some figures from the travel and tourism industry for fiscal year 2009.
They included –
• $5.6 billion spent in Mississippi by tourists and travelers.
• Travel and tourism general fund revenues accounted for $357 million of Mississippi’s $4.64 billion general fund, or 7.7 percent – $1 out of every $13.
• Travel and tourism produced $407 million in state tax revenues and $111.7 million in city/county tax revenues (over $6 million in Marshall County, according to Movre).
• Nineteen million travelers and tourists visited Mississippi.
Movre also praised passage of the Travel Promotion Act, which was signed into law March 4 by President Obama.
It enacted legislation to promote international travel to the United States by establishing a national tourism board that would coordinate advertising and educational campaigns to encourage foreigners to visit the United States.
The Travel Promotion Act is aimed at reversing a decline in foreign visitors to the United States of nearly 10 percent over the past decade.
“Its goal is to make the U.S. more appealing to international travelers,” Movre said. “With our proximity to Memphis, we’re in a great position for international travelers.”
The effort is to be paid for by private sector contributions matched by a $10 fee on foreign visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the United States.
Advocates of the law say it would help attract 1.6 million new international visitors, $4 billion in new spending and more than $300 million in tax revenue each year.
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