Thursday, July 12, 2012

Promoting Youth Education and Knowledge about Life Skills

4-H Social Media Training for Community Leaders! Mississippi State 4-H Tech Team enlighten several of Marshall County's  government officials, business leaders, as well as others in an educational Social Media Training today at the Holly Springs Technology Center. We were introduced to these talented students by Lemon Phelps from the Marshall County Extension Services. Ms. Linda Mitchell, Leader, Advisor and 4-H Technology and Programming specialist with Mississippi State University Cooperative Extension announced that these students, each from different counties in Mississippi (Union, Marshall, George, Lee)  traveled throughout the sate conducting technology training for community leaders. The training included social media's such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Blog, flickr, etc.

We were first enlightened wtih  interpretive presentations by the 4-H 'ers both visually and audio. Later during a breakout session, we had the fortune of  one-on-one face time with these talented young adults. Some had questions regarding promotion of charitable foundations, personal businesses, blogging, event promotions, and more! The 4-H 'ers, assisted by their advisor was able to answer as well as provide hands on guidance to individuals as needed. Although we varied in ages, there was one common goal - growth and development of our community as a whole. It was a pleasure being apart of this workshop. Its events and organizations like these that make living in Holly Springs more rewarding.

4-H is the nations largest youth development organization boasting more that 6 million members from urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods. The Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau staff is proud to be apart of  a community  that supports youth education, leadership, self-confidence, social skills,volunteerism and both global and community awareness.

Go 4-H and Go Holly Springs!!

To find out more about the 4-H organization for Mississippi State University Extension Services you may contact the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau 662-252-2515 or Lemon Phelps 662-252-3541 or contact Linda Mitchell, Ph.D 662-539-1733

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recognition Abounds in Holly Springs!

(Holly Springs has been featured in the US & Canada edition every printing)
The last five years have flown by for me considerably. New to the area, and state, I had a lot to learn but fell in love with Holly Springs as many others have over the years. In reflecting I realized just how many people see our bright future and help us in celebrating our uniqueness. We have received praise and recognition from organizations and publications such as Mississippi Magazine who has spotlighted us many times in articles as well as named us “Best Off-Beat Destination” for Graceland Too both in 2007 and 2009. They have also recently recognized Court Square Inn as one of the “Best Bed & Breakfast” in the state and the entire town as one of Mississippi’s “Best Day Trip” in 2010 and 2011!

Even Garden & Gun Magazine fell in love with us this year and named us one of the “South’s Most Creative Small Towns” for our unique blend of Hill Country Blues, among other things.

Lots of organizations have also noticed us such as the Mississippi Tourism Association who named us “Best Small Tourism Bureau of the Year” in 2008 and 2011. The Southeast Tourism Society has named the Hummingbird Migration Celebration and the Christmas Home Tour in their “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” which appeared in countless publications including Better Homes and Gardens!

In 2009 we were recognized by Governor Hailey Barbour as the “Cultural Corner” of the Hills region, also we were named “Customer Service of the Year” by the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and last year we received the “Promotion of the Arts Award” by the Holly Springs Main Street Association. Our most recent accolades came from the American Bus Association who named the Spring Pilgrimage of Homes as one of the “Top 100 Events in the U.S.”

Here at the tourism bureau we have also worked on very exciting projects. Just recently we completed an audio tour that has opened a host of new avenues for us to promote Holly Springs. The tour can be downloaded directly through our website or visitors can pick up a CD at the tourism office. Soon it will be able to be downloaded directly to your smart phone through our mobile site. As the digital world explodes, we hope to offer additional tours in the future on various topics such as Civil Rights, Hill Country Blues and the Civil War.

It has been an exciting 5 years and I can’t wait to see what the next 5 holds. For more information on things to do in Holly Springs, go to www.visithollyspringscom, call 888-687-4765, or stop in to see us at 148 E. College Avenue.

Other publications we have been featured in:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Holly Springs Receives Small CVB of the Year!

The Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau was presented with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of the Year award for an organization with a budget less than $250,000 by the Mississippi Tourism Association (MTA). The award was given at MTAs annual awards ceremony for tourism achievement during the Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held in Biloxi, Mississippi on September 26-27.

“We are very excited and honored to receive this award” said Stephanie McKinney, Executive Director of the Holly Springs Tourism Bureau. “The honor is a tribute to the hard work and support of our board of directors, community leaders, city council and everyday citizens that make the town of Holly Springs such a wonderful place to visit.”

The awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of tourism by members of the 450+ member private sector organization as well as honoring travel media, community volunteers and governmental friends of the industry. Awards were presented in ten categories, each focusing on a different aspect of the hospitality industry or individual achievement.

“We feel it is important to give special recognition to Convention and Visitors Bureaus with smaller budgets for their outstanding accomplishments, and Holly Springs has proven to be a valuable asset to the tourism industry,” said Neal McCoy, Director of the of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau and President of the Mississippi Tourism Association.

The Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau was established in 1999 and is funded by a 2% hotel/motel tax and a 2% prepared food and beverage tax—of which the bureau receives half. Through those tax dollars, the bureau is working to establish Holly Springs as a vacation destination and has seen a 6% increase since the previous year.

“Our primary goal is to bring visitors into our hotels, stores, restaurants and our attractions, and encourage them to spend money in our community,” said McKinney. “We primarily target potential visitors outside of a 100-mile radius—those who will need a place to stay and will hopefully eat at two or three of our restaurants, as opposed to day-trip visitors who will spend less time and money in the community. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach that market on limited funds so we have looked into more creative ways, often free ways, to get a little extra attention. We have received great feedback from our new website and just recently launched a new audio tour which is now available on our website. We have also established a well followed Facebook page and are working on a self-guided tour of Hill Crest Cemetery. We’ve got lots of exciting things happening and much more to come!”

For more information on the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau and things to do in Holly Springs, please visit or give them a call at 888-687-4735.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Free is Good- and it's Even Better in the True South

Some say the best things in life are free, and in Mississippi, there are plenty of things to see and do for free. Here is Holly Springs, in addition to the Roy Wilkins Collection,  many may not know of the impressive collection of art and artifacts from all over the world found in the library of Rust College. Staff members have placed on display masks, clothing, statues and photos that leave visitors stunned. If the collection in, what they call, “The International Room” doesn’t impress you then venture across the street to the Beckley Center to view a second room filled with artifacts. Best of all, all are completely free to view!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Find Child-Friendly Fun in the True South This Summer

Now that summer is here, it’s a perfect time to explore new and fun things to do for memorable family fun right here in Mississippi.

There’s no better place than Mississippi for children to broaden their imaginations and enjoy the magic of summer in the True South. From outdoor activities to indoor learning experiences, there is so much to experience across the state, and June is the perfect time for families to visit Mississippi. Right here in Holly Springs there are so many things to keep your family busy this summer.

At Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, families can enjoy hiking any of their beautiful trails or attend art and nature camps throughout the summer; Enjoy some bonding time on the back nine at Kirkwood Golf Course; Have your own Frisbee golf tournament at Wall Doxey State Park; Layout on the sand or maybe do a little fishing out at Chewalla Lake; Or experience the thrill of racing at the Holly Springs Motor Sports Park.

If you plan to venture out for a day or overnight trip, check out some of the many things to do in Mississippi:

Jackson- The new Mississippi Children’s Museum is quickly becoming one of the most popular and interesting destinations for children. With plenty of interactive exhibits and room for children to be children, the museum includes five themes of Mississippi heritage, health and nutrition, literacy, cultural arts, and science and technology.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the perfect place for young explorers who love anything with fins, gills, fur, claws or any creepy crawly creature around. Indoor displays, including all kinds of native Mississippi fish, plus several walking trails and an open-air amphitheater provide a wonderful atmosphere for frequent special events that are held throughout the year.

For almost 100 years, the Jackson Zoo has been a can’t-miss attraction for locals and visitors alike. With a wide variety of wild animals, reptiles and amphibians, the zoo also features train rides and a carousel.

Meridian- The Dentzel Carousel in Meridian is one of the most unique places—not only in the state—but in the entire country. Originally manufactured in 1896 by Gustav Dentzel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this historic carousel features hand-carved animals made of poplar or basswood. The Dentzel Factory only produced two or three carousels each year of production, and the house for the one in Meridian is the only remaining original carousel building built from a Dentzel blueprint. Located since 1909 in its same location Highland Park in Meridian, meticulous carving and painting make this a treasured spot.

Gulfport- Take a ferry eleven miles out to one of the barrier islands off the Mississippi Gulf Coast called Ship Island, and spend some quality family time on an undeveloped and unspoiled beach. While you’re on Ship Island, you can visit Fort Massachusetts that was constructed n 1868.
At the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport features interactive and entertaining exhibitions and programs for children. This is an active place with plenty of opportunities for hands-on experiences so your children will learn by doing, not just watching.

Biloxi- Once you’ve enjoyed the beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, be sure to take the Biloxi Shrimping Trip. It’s a neat way to quickly understand more about the unique habitat of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hop aboard this 70-minute boat tour that will include taking samples of live shrimp and marine life during your tour so you will see up close what swims the waters just off the Mississippi coastline.

Laurel- Landrum’s Homestead and Village is a re-creation of an 1800s settlement that includes 60 buildings and displays located on a peaceful, scenic setting. The General Store and Homestead Shoppe includes gifts and souvenirs from days gone by. Landrum’s is a great place for your children to take a break from video games and get a glimpse of how life was in the 1800s which puts a whole new perspective on life.

Tupelo- The Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo is one of those unexpected places you’ll find in this historic town that is also the birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The open-air trolley or the Monster Bison Bus rides you through the park to see everything firsthand. Exotic animals and even a petting zoo are just some of the fun things your children will enjoy while you are here.

Greenwood- The Viking Cooking School in Greenwood (also with a location Ridgeland, near Jackson) is home to one of the most renowned culinary sites in the world—the home of Viking Range Corporation. The Viking Cooking School offers classes practically on a daily basis, and provides a great opportunity for you to share a cooking and learning experience with your children.

For more information on the fun things to do this summer, contact the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau by calling 662-252-2515, dropping by our office at 148 East College Avenue or by visiting us online at For information on activities throughout the state, please visit

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hear the Sounds of the True South in Holly Springs

It’s true: Mississippi is the True South. It’s also true that Mississippi is the birthplace of America’s music. Country, blues, rock ‘n’ roll...they all started in Mississippi. No place in the state is that more evident than in Holly Springs.

The Mississippi Blues Trail continues its incredible journey of bringing to life the history of blues music all across the state. Blues Trail markers have been placed at sites where blues musicians lived and entertained. Others are situated at historic streets, train depots, blues clubs, cemeteries and even churches where blues musicians made their mark.

While there is a wealth of blues heritage and numerous Blues Trail markers throughout the Mississippi Delta, there are Blues Trail markers in many other parts of the state, including Holly Springs. To plan a true Mississippi Blues Trail journey, go to to discover where all of the markers are located across the state.

Mississippi also has a new Country Music Trail currently in development. From country greats such as Conway Twitty, Charley Pride, Marty Stuart, Faith Hill, Paul Overstreet and others, the Country Music Trail is already giving country music lovers more to enjoy and explore than ever before in Mississippi.

Some must-see stops in the Holly Springs area include:

· Our own Blues Trail Marker on the corner of North Center Street and College honoring Hill Country Bluesmen R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough.

· Aikei Pros where many of the Hill Country bluesmen laid their tunes on wax.

· Foxfire Ranch who offers family friendly Hill Country Blues every Sunday at 4pm in their outdoor pavilion.

· North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic which takes place this year at Foxfire Ranch, June 24th & 25th. It’s a one-of-a-kind blues festival that draws an eclectic crowd from all over the world.

As you can see, Mississippi is in tune with music—its past, present and future. May is the perfect month to journey through the state where America’s music was born. Mississippi’s impact on music is incredible and indisputable. It’s a truth that’s literally heard around the world with so many talented musicians on display. Find your True South in Mississippi and hear it for yourself.

To learn even more to help you plan your musical trip to Holly Springs, contact the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau by calling 662-252-2515, dropping by our office at 148 East College Avenue or by visiting us online at

It's Time to Tee Off in Holly Springs!

With more than 170 diverse golf courses, temperate spring weather and budget-friendly accommodations, now is the time to enjoy a golf getaway to Mississippi. Golf is the perfect complement to the state’s authentic Southern cuisine, music, outdoors and more. A Mississippi golf vacation offers something for all ages, interests and budgets.

“Mississippi golf is often underrated, but our state offers some of the most beautiful courses and most affordable packages,” said Mary Beth Wilkerson, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. “Add in our year round mild weather and a diversity of attractions and activities around the state and you have the ideal destination for experiencing the True South.”

Top Mississippi courses include designs by Fazio, Nicklaus and Palmer. Other standouts include courses crafted by Jerry Pate, Mark McCumber, Davis Love III, Hale Irwin and Bob Cupp. Award-winning courses are found throughout the state, from Biloxi on the Gulf Coast to Tunica and right here in Holly Springs!

At Kirkwood National Golf Course one can truly experience what nature gave us. When planning the course, designers took what Mother Nature had given them to work with and created a beautiful, natural golf course. One of the things that set Kirkwood National apart from other area golf courses is the variety of terrain that golfers will find. There are fairways that are wide open and then some that are tree lined, steep elevation changes, lakes, ponds and creeks.

“Aside from the natural terrain at Kirkwood, there is also an abundance of wildlife on the course. Right now you will see wild turkeys and deer. The deer are so tame that they won't run off when a cart goes by, they just stop and look at the golfers and then go right back to eating,” said Jennifer Barkley with Kirkwood. “This morning I woke up to the sound of geese flying overhead to the lake on hole eighteen."

Another thing that is different about Kirkwood is the onsite accommodations. Lots of courses have somewhere to stay, but the setup of the cottages is unique. Guests can rent just one room or the whole cottage and each cottage features outdoor rockers which are the best way to enjoy a Mississippi sunset.

To learn more, visit Kirkwood’s website at or call 800-461-GOLF

To view more details about places you can visit to enjoy the history and heritage of Holly Springs, contact the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau by calling 662-252-2515, dropping by our office at 148 East College Avenue or by visiting