2019 RURAL TOURISM CONFERENCE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Monday – October 21, 2019

1:00 pm  Board red double decker buses at Hotel Vue

                • Orient yourself to Natchez at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center, enjoying the series of displays which tell the 303 year history of the city and watch our 20 minute movie, The Natchez Story.
                • Tour the town with Downtown Karla Brown as we get a sampling from her most popular tours, including the Greg Iles Book tour, the Natchez History tour and the “hauntingly” fun Ghost tour.
                • Visit Longwood. Designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan for Haller and Julia Nutt, Mississippi natives and members of Natchez's planter elite, Longwood is the jewel of Natchez. Construction of the grand, octagonal structure began in 1860 but was halted in 1861 by rising tensions over the Civil War. While the exterior of Sloan's Oriental Villa was largely complete, the home's interior was left unfinished except for the lowest level.
                • Wrap up the afternoon at The African American Museum of History and Culture where you will see exhibits from a number of Natchez related African American historic sites, important citizens and events. Other exhibits within the museum include: The Rhythm Nightclub fire, where over 200 African American Natchez citizens were either burned or trampled to death; Forks of the Road, which was the second largest slave market in the South; and some of the literary works of critically acclaimed author Richard Nathaniel Wright, a Natchez native. 


4:30 pm  Return to Hotel Vue 


5:30 pm  Reception at Hotel Vue with light hor d’oeuvres


7:00 pm  Dinner (on your own) in historic downtown Natchez



Tuesday – October 22, 2019


8:45 am - 9:15  Welcome 

Mayor  or  City Official

Jennifer Combs, Executive Director, Visit Natchez

Craig Ray, Director, Visit Mississippi

9:15 - 10:00   Keeping Your Downtown Vibrant

Chesney Doyle, President, Natchez Friends of the Riverfront

10:00 - 10:15  Exhibitor Introduction - Who We Are and What We Do

Exhibitors (3 minutes each)

10:15 - 10:45  Break

Visit Exhibitors’ Booths

10:45 - 11:30  Farm to Table, Food Festivals, and Local Flavor - Tools to cultivate our local foods and farms for tourism

Rachael Carter, Specialist, Mississippi State U Extension 

Laura Jane Giacagglia

Ann Tackett "Farm to Table Dinner Under the Lights, Celebrating our Farmers Market Harvest"

11:30 - 1:00 pm  Lunch 

Pilot House - buffet 

1:00 - 1:45  Digital Marketing

Lauren-Colby Nickels "How to Market Your Business Using Social Media"

Dr. James Barnes "How to Build a Website that Sells"

1:45 - 2:30  Culinary Tourism – The Biscuit Lady

Regina Charboneau, Chef, Twin Oaks Guest Rooms

2:30 - 3:00  Break – Enjoy Chef Regina’s biscuits!

Visit Exhibitors’ Booths

3:00 - 3:15  STS Marketing College Experience

Sandra Fuller, Director, Tallapoosa County Tourism

3:15 - 4:00  Tourism Legislative Panel

Lydia Chassaniol, Senator, Mississippi Legislature

Chris Massey, Senator, Mississippi Legislature

Becky Currie, Representative, Mississippi Legislature

5:45   Load buses and depart for Natchez Visitor Center


6:00 - 7:30  Reception at Natchez Visitor Center

Visit Natchez will host “A Taste of Natchez” Reception in their gorgeous courtyard.  They will bring the fun to you.  Sample delicious appetizers and libations from local restaurants.  Meet local Natchezians for some interesting conversation.  Relax as local musicians treat you to your favorite tunes.

7:30  Load buses to return to Hotel Vue



Wednesday – October 23, 2019


8:45 - 9:30 am  Making Museums Exciting - Panel

Webster Franklin, CEO, Tunica CVB

Emily Havens, Executive Director, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi


Malika Polk-Lee, Director, BB King Museum

Darrell S. White, Visit Natchez

9:30 - 10:15  Tourism Trail Systems - Panel

Tami Reist, CEO, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association

Kamel King, Bureau Manager, Mississippi Development Authority

10:15 - 10:45  Break

Visit Exhibitors’ Booths

10:45 - 11:30  Put A Little Life In Your Cemetery

Willy Bearden, Filmmaker, photographer, author and producer

11:30 – 11:45  Wrap-up

David Otto Legacy Award

Agnes Zaiontz Award

11:45  Evaluation Forms – Drawing for $100

Wine Pull & Silent Auction Results

12:00 pm  Adjournment 


Download the 2019 Schedule



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