Miss Miss pageant mural approved|[11/16/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

The 25th mural at City Front will showcase the Miss Mississippi pageant and its long-time connection to Vicksburg.

The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau board voted Thursday to use money from an old account that will mature in December to sponsor the mural.

Bill Seratt, director of the tourism agency, suggested that $8,300 inherited from the Riverfront Park Development committee and left sitting in an account for about 10 years be matched to make up the $16,500 cost to paint the newest in the line of murals painted by Louisiana mural artist Robert Dafford.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

A past VCVB board collected the money and never used it, said board chairman Nelda Sampey. She said the Miss Mississippi organization has approved a design.

“It’s prepped and ready to go,” she said. “All they need is a sponsor.”

Seratt said the mural will be unveiled the week that kicks off the pageant, which will be televised June 28.

Nellie Caldwell, Vicksburg Riverfront Mural Committee chairman, said this morning that 22 murals have been unveiled and two others are expected to be completed before the pageant work is unveiled. The two expected before the pageant are one dedicated to the city’s founder, Newit Vick, and one for “Gold in the Hills,” the Vicksburg Theatre Guild’s long-running melodrama.

The board also approved the 2008 budget, with 50 percent of its revenue — made up mainly of income from a 1 percent tax on food and beverages in the city — going toward advertising. The budget projects an income of $1.2 million and reflects $500,000 to be spent on advertising and promotion. Last year’s budget reflected an income of $900,000 and about $330,000 for advertising.

Conflict over whether enough money was being spent on advertising came up in a 2006 board meeting in which other tourism representatives told VCVB board members that advertising efforts seemed duplicated from the previous year and earmarked for promoting the area.

“Exactly half of the projected revenue for ’08 is going toward marketing and advertising,” Sampey said. “That’s exactly what the industry has said they wanted.”

Seratt said the agency rolled in $78,234.75 in this year’s September tax receipts, up from last year’s $70,169.37. Receipts from the State Tax Commission reflect income from two months prior.

“That’s the largest November check we’ve ever had — even after Katrina…” he said.

In closed session, the board reviewed a letter regarding a possible legal matter, but no vote was taken, Sampey said.