New Albany tourism receives MDA grants for three events

Staff reports

The Mississippi Development Authority has awarded New Albany Marketing & Tourism State Tourism grants, totaling over $7,000, for three events with two of the events being first-time events.

The events that will receive the grants are the Summer Solstice/Freedom Celebration that will take place this year on June 21; the Tallahatchie RiverFest that will take place in September and the Hill Country Enchanted Forest and Bluegrass Christmas that will take place over the first three weekends in December.

“We are very pleased and honored to receive these grants from the Mississippi Development Authority,” said Sean Johnson, New Albany’s Director of Marketing & Tourism. “This additional funding not only helps us to create quality events, it also validates the good things that are continuing to happen in New Albany.”

Of the events that were awarded grants, the first one to occur will be the Summer Solstice Celebration that will take place on June 21 at the practice soccer fields near the Tennis Complex. This event, produced in conjunction with the New Albany Pilot Club, will center on the release of Chinese lanterns at dusk. There will also be music and concessions. The event is modeled after similar summer celebrations around the world. As well, professional videographers will be on site filming the event as part of video promotional package for New Albany. The amount awarded for this event was $1,800.

The next event that received a grant is the Tallahatchie RiverFest. The MDA awarded $3,500 for this event and the award will allow for some new additions to the event which will be held throughout downtown this year, with performers and activities stretching from the courthouse to the river. The last time RiverFest received an MDA grant was in 2011.

The final grant, for $2,500, was awarded to the “Hill Country Enchanted Forest & Bluegrass Christmas” that will take place over the first three weekends in December, commencing with the Christmas Parade. The events will include a lighted and decorated Park Along the River with Christmas Bluegrass music, caroling and hot chocolate and cider stations along the route.

“The Mississippi Development Authority offered $300,000 in grants this year with a maximum award amount of $5,000. Considering that the money was made available statewide and to much larger communities and events, we are very happy to have been included,” says Johnson.