Thursday, March 10, 2011
True cast of characters in Holly Springs
Everyone knows that Holly Springs is filled with architectural character. The New York Times has even called it “an antebellum encyclopedia.” However, nothing defines the true character of Holly Springs quite as well as the colorful people who call it home. Holly Springs does not have residents; it has “characters.” These are the types of people who keep tourists coming back, and they are the types of people who make the job of tourism director a wonderful experience. Many travelers, even those not directly interested in heritage tourism, seek an authentic experience. They want to sit with the locals, eat homemade food, and listen to local bands. They want to experience our past, but, just as importantly, they want to experience our present, as well. It’s Holly Springs’ characters who make these kinds of experiences possible.
The illustrious characters from Holly Springs’ past are a very lofty list indeed. We have civil rights pioneers, famed artists, TV personalities and many others who were famous for taking the first steps down new roads. The characters of Holly Springs’ present, however, are the storytellers who carry on the spirit and legacy of those who came before us. Luckily for us, tourists love a good story!
In addition to our prized storytellers, such as Mrs. Lois at the Marshall County Historical Museum, we also have a whole new generation of storytellers like Lisa Liddy. At Court Square Inn Bed & Breakfast, Lisa has greeted many guests with a genuine smile and authentic Southern charm. She can probably best be described as a professional volunteer. Lisa is involved in every civic organization you can think of and always willing to lend a helping hand or a kind word. She is invaluable to Holly Springs.
Another fantastic Holly Springs character is Mr. Caldwell. He has seen a lot in his day, and has witnessed a great deal of Holly Springs’ blues history firsthand. As owner of Aikei Pro’s Record Shop, he helped to put the fathers of Mississippi Hill Country Blues, R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, on wax. Today he welcomes guests from all over the world, and he’ll prove it by showing you his lengthy guest book.
Musician Kenny Brown studied under the best blues artists in the world and now organizes the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic with his wife Sara. Although they have been approached by several big name artists, the festival honors this region’s dearly departed bluesmen by featuring only Hill Country musicians. Kenny and Sara have also aided in purchasing Mississippi Blues Trail markers, as well as headstones for bluesmen whose families could not afford one.
Rev. Leona Harris has led a lifelong crusade to honor civil rights pioneer and women’s rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett. As curator of the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum, she tirelessly works to improve the museum, as well as making sure exhibits rotate to give visitors a reason to always come back. She always opens her doors to any student of nearby Rust College and conducts countless lectures, classes and events to make Holly Springs’ African-American heritage known to the world.
These colorful people are just a few of the rich cast of characters from Holly Springs who help to shape the wonderful experiences reported by all visitors who cross our path. Such wonderful welcomes make the Tourism Bureau’s job of enticing visitors so much easier! Thanks cannot be expressed enough by the Tourism Bureau or our guests. We very much look forward to welcoming many more visitors!
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