Second Tapestry run wins kudos from organizers, tour homes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wrapping up the four-week second year of Tapestry: The Pilgrimage to Vicksburg, organizers labeled the 16-location tour a success due to a spike in this year’s attendance.

Carolyn Stephenson, Annabelle Bed and Breakfast owner, said though she had no exact count, she could tell from reports of each tour location that 2010 numbers are higher than 2009’s debut of the more interactive series of events for visitors. She said she expects a complete calculation of attendance by the end of the week.

“At the halfway point, we had almost twice the number we had last year at the halfway point,” Stephenson said. “It was much more successful. We were very, very pleased.”

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George Washington Ball House owner Betty Bullard attributed the increase to earlier preparation, presentations and good weather.

“This is a brand new Vicksburg experience. We were open more this year — more hours of Tapestry presentations. That’s a big change,” Bullard said. “I don’t think we will ever have more cooperative weather.”

She added visits to her home increased. “My biggest day was 26 (people),” she said. “I think my biggest day was six last year.”

Bullard said she saw visitors from Texas, Massachusetts, California, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Also in town were Los Angeles residents Alan and Robin DeBraal. “We’re fans of old houses and a little Southern culture,” said Robin DeBraal. She said the couple went to the Bazsinsky House before touring The George Washington Ball House.

Along with visiting locations on the former pilgrimage tours, Tapestry offered demonstrations in quilt-making and Civil War-era surgical techniques, presentations of jewelry collections and documents from the slave trade in Vicksburg.

Bullard said organizers will keep the same concept for next year’s Tapestry but plan to start preparing and advertising earlier.

Stephenson said organizers are considering another program later this year, as well as pushing Tapestry to start later next spring.

Tapestry sold 485 tickets during the inaugural run. This year, events were every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from March 11 until Monday.

Bill Seratt, executive director of Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, which worked with the bed and breakfast operators to organize Tapestry, said this morning that about $25,000 was spent on advertising this year in print, radio and television, compared with $17,500 in 2009.

“This year we built a bigger program,” he said. “We are very pleased with the outcome. It’s a program that will grow year after year.”

Contact Tish Butts at