CANTON – The Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau recently racked up several prestigious awards from the Mississippi Tourism Association’s 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
The Canton CVB collected three awards at the ceremony, held Sept. 30 at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, including “CVB of the Year” for the $500,000-$749,000 annual budget category, the “Large Festival or Event of the Year Award” for the city’s Christmas in Canton celebration and the “Research In Action Award” for the CVB’s ongoing efforts to effectively promote the city’s assets.
“It was a really big deal to us,” CVB Executive Director Jo Ann Gordon said, “It’s a culmination of hard work trying to create a tourism product that has shown great success and economic impact for the City of Canton. Our product works best because of our city partners who work by our side.”
Laura Beth Strickland with the Vicksburg CVB noted Canton’s strength in promoting the movie and tourism industries in the state.
“The (Canton CVB) is impacting how the world sees Mississippi, both literally, through the cinematic lens and the artist brush, and figuratively, while sharing and shaping the Mississippi story.”
Leveraging the city’s service as the filming location for successful Hollywood movies, beginning with “A Time to Kill,” “O Brother Where Art Thou” and “My Dog Skip,” the CVB’s cinematic strategy has yielded high profile results.
That film provided Canton with its first big break, when the city came through for the producers, constructing a 36,000-square-foot soundstage in less than three months.
That Christmas in Canton garnered the “Large Festival or Event of the Year Award” should come as no surprise to Cantonians.
The 25-day Victorian holiday festival in historic downtown Canton attracted approximately 50,000 visitors in 2013, and brought $590,000 in economic impact to the region.
In presenting the award, Mississippi Tourism Authority President-Elect Kappi Allen remarked on the impressive scope of the festival’s attractions.
“This event boasts 22 antique window decorations, 135 life-size animated figures, 200,000 glittering lights, Carousel on the Square, trolley rides around the Square, Old Jail Museum, and that’s not all,” he said.
Canton Mayor Arnel Bolden said he’s proud of the wonderful work of the CVB, and said its promotion of activities and venues that attract visitors and tourists to the city play a vital role in the growth of the city.
“They not only attract large-scale events that promote tourism,” Bolden said. “They play an integral part in bringing major movie productions to our city, which will make us the premiere filming destination in the state of Mississippi.”
The Madison County Business League & the Madison County Creative Economy Council congratulate Canton Convention & Visitors Bureau & Executive Director JoAnn Gordon and CCVB Manager Jana Padgett for being awarded several prestigious awards, including “CCVB of the Year,” from the Mississippi Tourism Association’s 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.