78 MEETINGSTODAY 11. 15
ples of six different Lazy Magnolia beers are
part of the tour,” she says.
One of the best ways to learn about the
Jackson area is via a tour at the Mississippi
Agriculture & Forestry Museum.
According to Mary Current, group tours
and family reunion sales manager for the
Jackson CVB, tour participants will see his-
tory come to life as they interact with sto-
rytellers dressed in period clothing, watch
demonstrations of tools from yesteryear and
learn about the role agriculture has played
in shaping Mississippi.
“Visit the on-site General Store for souvenirs, snacks and Mississippi-made food
products,” Current says, adding groups can
also arrange for live bluegrass and country
music, and a catfish or barbecue lunch or
dinner at the museum.
In Natchez, history is on display via 10
antebellum homes that groups can visit,
according to Lynsey Smith, director of
sales at Visit Natchez, and via outings with
Miss-Lou Tours, a new tour company led by
JimBob Allgood, host of the Redneck Adventures television show.
“JimBob has a mix of tours sure to please
any group,” Smith says, citing fishing and
kayaking along the Mississippi River or tasting some of the delicious cuisine in town.
The Mississippi Delta is home to Tunica, where groups can try their luck at a
number of casino resorts, including the
group-friendly Gold Strike and Sam’s Town.
For over 20 years, visiting meeting
attendees have spent free time enjoying the
area’s fast-paced gaming action, according
to Bill Canter, director of marketing and
sales for the Tunica CVB.
Hollywood Cafe, the circa-1969 Mississippi Delta landmark, is an oft-booked
venue for off-site dinners and receptions for
groups meeting in Tunica.
The cafe, known for its quaint, relaxed
atmosphere and its unique setting, as it’s
housed in a former farm commissary, was
mentioned in both Marc Cohn’s song
Walking in Memphis and in John Grisham’s novel
A Time to Kill.
In Tupelo, groups will find the Elvis Presley
Birthplace, which offers them the unique
opportunity of meeting where The King
According to Jennie Bradford, public
relations/international sales director for the
Tupelo CVB, the attraction features tours
of Presley’s first home as well as an event
center with more than 3,000 square feet of
meeting space, a 126-seat theater and a full
“Groups should experience the Elvis Pres-
ley Birthplace because it’s the beginning of
the story of perhaps the greatest entertainer
the world has ever known,” Bradford says.
“They can sit on his front porch swing and
dream just like Elvis did.”
William Faulkner, another famed Missis-
sippi resident, lived in Oxford for 40 years.
Today, groups are welcome to visit Rowan
Oak, the name of Faulkner’s home.
“His writing can be seen on the walls of a
bedroom,” says Katie Kaiser, visitor services
coordinator for Visit Oxford MS.
Groups can learn even more about Oxford via an outing with Double Decker Bus
Rides around the University of Mississippi
campus and Historic Downtown Square.
“Groups will learn of Oxford’s history as
it relates to the present, and the relationship our charming city has with the most
beautiful public university in America,” says
assistant director of Visit
as you make
your time spent in
The top two experiences for groups convening in Meridian involve beer and history,
according to Dede Mogollon, executive
director for Visit Meridian.
“For a truly tasteful experience visit the
Brickhaus Brewtique, located in downtown
Meridian,” she says, explaining this relatively
small music hall and craft beer pub is spe-
cial because it boasts the largest selection
of craft beers on tap in Mississippi. “Live
entertainment is featured nightly.”
Also available for groups are two separate
outings, the Civil Rights Trail, with 18
markers, and the Civil War Trail, which has
Mogollon explains that along with
descriptive text, each marker has a code
affixed that those interested can scan with
a smartphone to view a video for additional
“When we do heritage and cultural tourism right, we tell our story,” she says, adding
the tour can be taken any time at no cost to
For more Mississippi content, visit
➤ Island View Casino Resort ( www.islandview
casino.com) in Gulfport unveiled its Beach Tower
in April. The tower has 405 guest rooms and
14,000 square feet of convention space.
➤ MGM Park ( www.milb.com), home to baseball’s
Biloxi Shuckers, opened in June within walking
distance to downtown Biloxi and Gulf Coast
beaches. It seats 6,067 for baseball games and
up to 15,000 for concerts, and features premium
seating and luxury suites for groups.
➤ In September, Silver Slipper Casino (www.
silverslipper-ms.com/casino) in Bay St. Louis
completed its six-story, 120-room hotel with the
addition of nine penthouse suites and five junior
➤ The 109-room Best Western Premier University
Inn ( www.bestwestern.com) is scheduled to
open by the end of this year with a business
center and two event spaces.
➤ The 94-room TownePlace Inn & Suites (www.
marriott.com/towneplace) is slated to open in
➤ Ground recently broke on a joint Home 2 Suites
and Hampton Inn by Hilton ( www3.hilton.com),
which is expected to open in mid-2016.
➤ The Ole Miss Pavilion (http://news.olemiss.
edu), a multipurpose arena, opens in January.
➤ Graduate Oxford Hotel ( www.graduateoxford.
com) opened in September with 121 guest rooms
and three meeting rooms.
➤ The 136-room Courtyard by Marriott Oxford
( www.marriott.com) will open in January.
➤ Gateway to the Blues Museum and Visitors
Center ( www.tunicatravel.com/blues) opened
in February. This unique facility also accommodates group events for up to 125 people.
ONLINE EXTRA! Check out the Mississippi section of Meetings Today.com for
a full list of CVB contacts throughout
Civil Rights Trail, Meridian