Back Stage to showcase Vicksburg to planners
Published 11:03 am Saturday, January 14, 2017
Event planners from across the state are slated to visit Vicksburg in two weeks to learn a few tips and tricks of the trade.
The sixth annual Back Stage Pass conference — a statewide, joint effort among the Mississippi Main Street Association, Visit Mississippi, and the Mississippi Arts Commission — will be held Jan. 26 and 27 at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
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“It’s actually the first time it’s been in Vicksburg, which is very exciting,” said Annette Kirklin, convention center director. “They also utilize different areas of downtown for some of their evening functions.”
The two days of seminars, panels and breakout sessions will be interspersed with time for the visitors to explore the city and patronize local eateries and businesses.
“We can showcase our venue, out city, our accommodations, our restaurants, because a lot of the function they are on their own for lunch. On these lunches they are going to be exploring downtown and exploring the city,” Kirklin said.
Downtown will host one of its Hit the Bricks events Jan. 26, where many downtown merchants will stay open later in the evening. Also, an entertainment showcase will be held at Monsour’s at the Biscuit Company that evening where six Mississippi musicians will take the stage playing blues, country, Gospel and more.
“We have a wonderful city with so many wonderful venues,” said Kim Hopkins, director of Vicksburg Main Street. “Vicksburg is rich in culture, history and unique character.”
The conference is held in a different Mississippi city each year, and it came to Vicksburg this year because of suggestions by past conference attendees and because of the local organizations and facilities available to host a conference of its size.
“It’s an honor for us to be chosen to host this event in Vicksburg, and for Mississippi Main Street to pick us to host this event,” Hopkins said.
Anyone can register for the event focused on teaching Mississippi event coordinators how to make their event — from festivals to concerts and anything in between — a success.
There will be sessions on grant writing, organization, budgets, starting a new event, using local talent and local resources, investing in the community, communications and development strategies led by 26 different speakers.
“It has such a wide array of classes and workshops,” Kirklin said. “It really goes through all aspects of planning events and getting community involved. It’s really beneficial to a lot of people.”
Kirklin said in addition to learning tips and ideas from the sessions, a multitude of knowledgeable people will be attending the conference as well as leaders of the statewide organizations that make the conference possible, and a little bit of networking could be beneficial.
“It’s really a sharing of ideas,” said Jeannie Waller Zieren, director of training and information with the Mississippi Main Street Association.
Zieren said this year the annual conference is also a way to kick off Mississippi’s bicentennial year of celebration. The theme of the celebration is “A nod to the past, and vision for the future.”
“We feel like it’s very appropriate to have this kind of kickoff in Vicksburg, which is one of our most historic communities,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have it there.”
Hopkins anticipates 150 to 200 people attending the conference.
The deadline to register is this Friday and costs $100. However, on-site registration will take place Jan. 26 and will cost $150.
To register, visit msmainstreet.com.