A look at any calendar of events this time of year will reveal a plethora of things to see and do. In the metro Jackson area, the holidays have become a major tourism attraction.
“The holiday events in our area are absolutely a huge draw for tourists,” said Mara Hartmann of the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “So much so that four years ago the bureau decided we needed to market the entire season, promoting Jackson as a holiday destination for tourists.”
Hartmann explained that people are already drawn to the metro Jackson area to shop. “We draw from all over the state and other states, as well.” And because Jackson is one of the largest population centers in the state, people naturally come here to visit family members. “We have a ready-market of people coming here, but by packaging the events into one big promotion, people have even more reasons to come and to stay once they’re here.”
The bureau puts together a brochure each year.
“We thought it would be wise to create an umbrella to promote special annual events such as Mistletoe Marketplace, the Chimneyville Crafts Show, The Nutcracker, Belhaven’s Singing Christmas Tree, ‘The Christmas Carol’ at New Stage and others. We put them altogether in the brochure and call it ‘Jingle Bell Jackson,’” Hartmann explained. “This year’s brochure is a 10-page foldout chocked full of a variety of holiday events in November and December.”
In addition to the events, there are special hotel and dining packages.
“We’ve really beefed up our holiday offerings by encouraging hotels and restaurants to partner this time of year,” Hartmann said. “It’s been very successful.”
For example, the Cabot Lodge/Millsaps offers the “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” package that includes a one night stay for two, as well as dinner for two at Bravo!, complimentary evening cocktails and a complimentary continental breakfast featuring fresh pastries from Broad Street Bakery. And the Fairview Inn, a four-diamond bed and breakfast in Jackson, offers the “Holiday Shoppers Package,” which features complimentary hot mulled cider and Christmas treats, dinner for two at Sophia’s and a special holiday keepsake handcrafted by a Mississippi artisan on the guest’s pillow with their turn-down service.
“And of course,” said Hartmann, “the package includes a complimentary breakfast featuring the best grits on the planet.”
The Jingle Bell Jackson holiday event brochure is available on the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site, www.visitjackson.com, or by calling the CVB office at (601) 960-1891.
Contact MBJ contributing writer S.J. Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org .