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Campaign shows Vicksburg has plenty to smile about

There’s something about smiling that just makes you feel better.

As a parent, you can remember the feeling that came over when your son or daughter smiled for the first time. For me it was the moment that you realized why they call babies “bundles of joy.”

There have been those who have said I have a good sense of humor. My wife is among those who would say I have an “interesting” sense of humor. Then again, as I often remind her, she married me.

So, it was that love of a good smile and relief of a good laugh that attracted my fascination about the #vicksburgsmiles campaign started by the Vicksburg Convention Center.

In the blink of an eye Thursday — or rather the click of a hashtag — one picture posted by the fun-loving team at the convention center went somewhat viral around town.

One picture of Vicksburg Convention Center executive director Annette Kirklin and her team smiling for the camera (rather phone), turned into another, and then another, until my Facebook newsfeed Friday was thankfully filled with folks all smiling and using the hashtag #vicksburgsmiles.

“We are starting this campaign/movement for several reasons. We are expanding more on the partnerships not only with the tourism sector but also with the community and how we are strong, happy and vibrant,” Kirklin wrote in an email back to me when I asked “What in the world are y’all doing over there?” Smiles are contagious and we want to start a wave. “We want to help spread joy around the city. They just need to post on their Facebook or Instragram a photo with #vicksburgsmiles. Vicksburg is starting a wave of happiness and joy.”

Kirklin said the convention center is also using images for a campaign the team is putting together for their upcoming fiscal year, which kicks off in October.

“We want as many people in the community as we can get…whether it is at school, with co-workers, eating lunch with your bestie or family,” she said.

As one of those parents, I was more than happy to oblige with a photo, quickly sending in a picture of the three cutest kiddos in town (mine), smiling as they enjoyed a Sunday afternoon lunch at 10 South.

I mean, if you can’t smile after eating lunch there, with that view in amazing weather, then when can you smile. But, that’s a thought for another day.

For now five years, my family and I have considered an unending blessing to call Vicksburg home. In that time, we have seen our children flourish at school, church and in youth sports. We recently moved (again) to a great part of town, and are constantly reminded of the best this community has to offer.

When this campaign kicked off, you couldn’t help but smile and I am tremendously proud and appreciative of the convention center team for starting it.

But knowing that team — that group — could you expect anything else? The creativity they have, the work they do for their clients and the city make that facility come to life, and in turn, make the convention center a true jewel for the city of Vicksburg and Warren County.

As for why the campaign and why focusing it on smiling, Vicksburg Convention Center Sales Manager Elyce Curry might have said it the best.

“Joy is life and vice versa. One cannot sustain without the other. Smiling is a form of unity. It can bring us together in an instant.”

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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