Convention center kicks off celebration with scavenger hunt|[07/10/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A 10-week-long scavenger hunt cranked up Monday as the Vicksburg Convention Center began celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

The hunt will lead one participant to a $500 grand prize basket of goodies.

The event, called Teddy’s Great Adventure, will release clues on local radio station River 101 and on the VCC Web site,

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In addition to clues, the hunt will present trivia questions about the center for participants to answer.

&#8220It’s important for the convention center and the community to embrace and celebrate this milestone,” said the center’s marketing and events coordinator, Erin Powell. &#8220The convention center is such a big part of the community. It brings so much economic impact.”

Once all the clues and questions are answered, participants will mail in their answers with a form that will be posted on the Web site.

&#8220The clues all lead to one place, and that’s the grand prize clue,” Powell said. &#8220You have to put the clues together to find out where you need to go.”

The hunt is meant to help raise awareness about the center’s impact on the city.

&#8220We want people to have fun putting the clues together as well as learning about the center and its history,” said VCC sales representative Julie Ford.

The Mulberry Street facility was built in 1997 for $12 million. Inside Vicksburg, a 2 percent tax on room rentals helped pay for the center and continues to help pay for maintenance. The bonds for the construction project were paid off on March 13, 2006.

After the hunt ends, other planned events will commemorate the center’s 10 years. On Sept. 19, VCC will hold an Inter Club Luncheon to combine all of the area civic clubs. The kick off for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours will also begin that afternoon. It will continue for the public on Sept. 20. The winner of the scavenger hunt will also be announced that day at 5 p.m. The center will also host the Second City Comedy Tour from Chicago on Oct. 20 at the Vicksburg Auditorium.

&#8220It’s only fitting for the community and the convention center to interact and celebrate this together,” Powell said.

Since 2000, 329,550 people have streamed through the convention center and the center has been used 1,405 times. Numbers before 2000 were not available.

In 2006, hotel room night stays increased to 10,560 from 4,033 the previous year, and convention center officials say that’s because of the center’s draw.

Compass Facility Management, an Iowa-based firm, was hired in 2001 to run the convention center and Vicksburg Auditorium for $124,000 a year. Compass changed its name this month to VenuWorks as part of a re-branding strategy, but continues to manage the Vicksburg center.