Tapestry sees more takers; organizers mull expansion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Midway through the second season of Tapestry: The Pilgrimage to Vicksburg, organizers say the interpretive tour series is off to a much better start.

“Tapestry is really starting to catch on,” Duff Green Mansion owner Harry Sharp told fellow Vicksburg Main Street board members Tuesday. “Attendance is far better this year than last year.”

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Tapestry will run through April 5. Tickets are $10 for one home tour or $25 for three tours, and are available at any of the 16 participating venues or the VCVB visitors center at 3300 Clay St. Visit vicksburgbedandbreakfast.com/tapestry.

Tapestry kicked off March 11 and will run through April 5. What makes it different from daily tourism offerings is that each of the 16 tour homes and museums is offering guest speakers or other presentations. Programs vary from demonstrations on quilt making and Civil War-era surgical techniques to presentations of jewelry collections and documents from the slave trade in Vicksburg.

A total of 485 Tapestry tickets were sold during the inaugural run. Sales through the first two weekhave already matched sales during the entire four-week series last year, said Carolyn Stephenson, Annabelle Bed and Breakfast owner.

Bill Seratt, Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau director, attributed the increase to a better regional advertising campaign.

“The Tapestry program was put together much earlier this year, which allowed us to get the advertising out there earlier,” he explained. “We’re doing print, television and radio advertising, and we also sent out press releases throughout the region.”

While he did not have exact figures, Seratt said the VCVB has spent more on advertising Tapestry this year. Last year, Seratt obtained VCVB board permission to spend $25,000 to create a 16-page, full-color, glossy brochure highlighting events. The booklet was reproduced this year, and Seratt and the VCVB purchased period clothing for participants.

“That’s made it even more interesting for everyone,” said Sharp of the period clothing.

Betty Bullard, owner of The George Washington Ball House, said she’s seen three to four times more ticket holders come to her tour home this year. Along with better advertising, Bullard also attributed increased visitation to the weather.

It “was miserable last year, and this year it’s cooperated marvelously,” she said.

Tapestry was created to replace Pilgrimage, the city’s original tour home series. Pilgrimage attendance had fallen steadily leading up to its last run in 2008, and Tapestry was envisioned as a way to inject new life. Stephenson said she and other tour home operators have been so pleased this year, they’ve begun discussing expansion. “We’re already starting to discuss next spring’s Tapestry, and we’re also looking at the possibility of adding a Tapestry event in the fall or over the holiday.”

Contact Steve Sanoski at ssanoski@vicksburgpost.com