July 20, 2010 9:02:00 AM
Two Columbus festivals are rejoicing this week. The Seventh Avenue Festival was designated as a top festival in the Southeast, and the Sam Hairston Celebration received financial backing for its musical lineup.
The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau board unanimously voted to approve a $25,000 retainer for the musical artists proposed to headline the Sam Hairston Celebration in October.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the CVB board heard a presentation from Steve Rogers on behalf of the Sam Hairston entertainment committee. Rogers told the board he hopes to secure Bobby "Blue" Bland, Percy Sledge and Dan Penn for the Saturday-night concert on the weekend of Oct. 14-16.
"This is an investment in our community," Rogers said. "We''re talking about bringing major entertainment here. Being able to put on an event like this sets the stage for bringing top entertainment year after year."
The approval means the CVB will cover the costs of the artists'' contracts if the entertainment committee''s projections fall short. The committee anticipates selling upwards of 2,000 tickets at $20 each plus 100 VIP tickets at $100 apiece. The VIP reception would include a meet-and-greet with the musicians as well as an autograph-signing session.
The Sam Hairston committee recently submitted proposals to the Chicago White Sox and to Major League Baseball to potentially sponsor a ballpark in Plum Grove, being officially named after Sam Hairston as part of the October events.
The board also heard a presentation from City Councilman Kabir Karriem regarding the upcoming Seventh Avenue Festival, which was given an award as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.
"Seventh Avenue is one of the oldest festivals in Columbus at 28 years old and has grown into one of the best festivals in northern Mississippi," Karriem said. "We pride ourselves on bringing top-notch entertainment to Columbus and Lowndes County."
Karriem said Dru Hill will be headlining the event, which will also include Bobby "Blue" Bland, Lenny Williams, and K-Ci & JoJo. Additionally, there will be a parade featuring "The Sonic Boom of the South," Jackson State University''s marching band. There will also be a karate demonstration, and the historical marker for the Queen City Hotel will be unveiled.
"The event has garnered national attention since I last came before this board, so I hope you will consider that," Karriem said and asked the board to put $16,000 toward the festival at their meeting next month.
This year''s Seventh Avenue Heritage Festival is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2,
The board approved a check for $59,075.74 for the stabilization of the Tennessee Williams home. James Tsismanakis, the executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, also reported that the bureau''s revenue from the food and beverage tax in the county was up $4,839 over last year at this time, and revenue from city restaurants was up $18,016.
"We''ve got a lot of great events whether it''s Market Street or Pilgrimage," Tsismanakis said. "We just didn''t get hit quite as hard as everyone else."
The board also approved a motion to put the Convention and Visitors Bureau logo and nameplate on the side of official vehicles. Tsismanakis will submit designs at next month''s meeting.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau reviewed the following old business:
The board last month accepted Dispatch Publisher Birney Imes'' offer to provide funds for a landscape architect to work on the project.
Members of the board include Dewitt Hicks, Whirllie Byrd, Glen Lautzenhiser, David Sanders, Dixie Butler, John Bean, Cindy Putnam and George Swales.