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M AY 2019

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CO U N T I E S

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art, music & summer fun


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FE ATURES

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20 Splash Into Summer

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Letter From the Publisher

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Cherry Blossom Festival

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Calendar

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Gumtree Art Gala

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InstaLove: Tupelo Makers Market

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Denim and Diamonds

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Shoutouts

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Saltillo Git Down

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Out & About

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Area 11 Special Olympics

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Recipes: Mojo Pork

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“Don Quixote”

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Lee County Art Exhibit

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Corinth in Nashville

Plan a day trip or weekend-long escape to any of these six family-friendly places to cool off when the heat is on.

22 Our Artwork

A Tupelo artist expands his vision of making art accessible not just to others with traumatic injuries and disabilities, but to the entire community.

26 The Elvis Experience

With tours, concerts and reenactments, plus conversations with Tupelo’s Tom Brown, you can’t help falling in love.

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EVENTS

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ON THE COVER

A colorful painting by artist William Heard reflects the spirit of OurArtworks, a recently expanded Tupelo art studio that brings hope and independence to people with disabilities. Read more on pages 22-24. I L L U S T R AT E D B Y W I L L I A M H E A R D

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L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R One summer my daughter, who has never met any type of water she didn’t like, decided she wanted to go to as many water parks as we could fit in. So, off we went to six different water parks around the Southeast. It was a journey to remember for a long time, and it didn’t break the bank. In fact, much to our surprise, some of the spots we discovered cost less than $10 to enjoy for the entire day. Whether you’re zipping down a waterslide or lounging near a lake, spending time near the water is a great way to spend the summer, make memories and enjoy the

FOLLOW US

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hot summer days that will soon be upon us. Flip to page 20 for a guide to some fun waterparks that are only a short drive away. In addition to waterparks, in this issue, we’re celebrating some fantastic local artwork and one of the area’s biggest music festivals. Be sure and read the story of William Heard’s inspiring journey with art, featured on page 22. He’s candid about how a car accident and the challenges he faced afterward inspired an amazing body of work. One of Heard’s paintings is on the cover of this magazine.

@INVITATIONM AG A ZINE

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Also, you won’t want to miss all the fun things happening this year at the Tupelo Elvis Festival. On page 26, we’ve got inside information from festival organizers Debbie Brangenberg and Roy Turner, as well as Elvis aficionado and festival host Tom Brown. Thanks for reading this magazine, and keep an eye out in June for our annual bridal issue, coming soon!

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

@INVMAGA ZINE


PUBLISHERS

Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EXECUTIVE EDITORS Allison Estes Emily Welly EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rachel Burchfield Jennifer Collins Alexis Lee Sarah McCullen EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Sarah McCullen SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Alexis Lee COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Gandy Lisa Roberts Whitney Worsham CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Frank Estrada

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Timeka Davis Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Stacey Raper Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Paul Gandy Becca Pepper Hallie Thomas ADVERTISING INFORMATION invitationmag.com

Serving Alcorn, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union counties. To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation or to buy an announcement, visit invitationmag.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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C O M M U N I T Y M AY 15-J U N E 15 , 2019

Tishomingo Turns 80 M AY 1 5

T U P E L O E LV I S F E S T I V A L

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS W E D N E S DAY J U N E 5

Elvis Tribute Artist Showcase Concert 6 p.m. at the Elvis Presley Birthplace

Tupelo Farmers’ Depot ONGOING

Now open 3-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 6 a.m.-noon Thursdays and Saturdays at 415 S. Spring St. at the railroad tracks. tupelomainstreet.com/farmers-depot

Visit Tishomingo State Park in the foothills of the Appalachians for a special 80th birthday celebration. A statue honoring Civilian Conservation Corps workers who built the park will be unveiled. 11 a.m.2 p.m., 105 County Road 90, Tishomingo. mdwfp.com

Customer Appreciation M AY 1 8

T H U R S DAY J U N E 6

321 Concert 7 p.m. at Fairpark Stage

Downtown New Albany Main Street shops offer special deals all day long. newalbanymainstreet.com

F R I DAY J U N E 7

Food Truck Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Food trucks, live music and activities for all ages. Conversations With Tom Brown 2 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre Paul Thorn Concert 8 p.m. at Fairpark Stage S AT U R DAY J U N E 8

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition Finals and Showcase 6 p.m. at BancorpSouth Arena

Summer Camps at ICC ONGOING

Itawamba Community College hosts camps for kids of all ages throughout the summer, with themes ranging from basketball to computers to theater and more. Dates, details and registration available online. iccms.edu/SummerCamps

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S U N DAY J U N E 9

Gospel Sunday Concert 11 a.m. at the Lyric Theatre

Read more on page 26. For the complete schedule and tickets, visit tupeloelvisfestival.com.

Memorial Day M AY 2 7

In 1866, women in Columbus, Mississippi, gathered to decorate the graves of both confederate and union soldiers in the first observance of this federal holiday commemorating all who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Leon Frazier Concert JUNE 1

Corinth Kiwanis presents its 22nd annual Leon Frazier Memorial Gospel Concert, a fundraiser to benefit local students. 6 p.m., Corinth Coliseum. facebook.com/corinthkiwanis


First Monday Trade Days J U N E 1 -2

Buy, sell and trade at a flea market that’s been in operation for more than 120 years. Historically known as “First Monday,” the Ripley market is now open the weekend preceding the first Monday of each month. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission; parking $2. Rates and rules for vendors available online. 10590 Highway 15 South, Ripley. firstmonday.ripley.ms

21st Annual Tupelo Elvis Festival J UNE 5-9

Elvis Presley fans from around the world gather in Tupelo to tour his hometown and celebrate “the King.” Tickets $15-$50. Read more on page 26. tupeloelvisfestival.com

Unwine’d & Walk JUNE 7

New Albany’s third annual community event offers a progressive wine tasting tour with local retailers. Vouchers, $15, can be purchased at the Main Street office. Downtown New Albany. newalbanymainstreet.com

National Iced Tea Day J UNE 10

Order or brew and enjoy a glass of iced tea with friends. M AY 20 1 9 | I N V ITAT I O N

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instaL O V E Tup e lo M a ke r ’s M a rke t

For years, Amanda Hayden, owner of Cafe 212 in Tupelo, hosted mini makers markets at her restaurant on Saturdays. As part of Tupelo Rocks, a community of local artists, Hayden allowed her friends to set up and sell their goods through her business, but she always envisioned a larger-scale, citywide market. Hayden met with the leaders of Tupelo Rocks, and the first Tupelo Maker’s Market opened in November 2018. This year’s

first market takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 18 at Fairpark, and a fall market is also being planned. The Instagram account @tupelo_makers_market highlights different artists and unique goods sold at the market, including bath products, woven baskets, repurposed vintage telephones and more. “We held that first really successful market, but have since been in an off-season due to the winter,” Hayden said. “We use the Instagram (feed) as a type of catalog, so people can scroll through and see the kinds of things that are sold. We tag the artist too, so that people can follow the links and explore their individual pages.” The first market featured 30 vendors, and Hayden hopes to add more this year. Handcrafted items, like pottery and art, and curated vintage items are just a sampling of the goods offered. There will also be food vendors, activities and games. Visit facebook.com/tupelomakersmarket to apply to be a vendor, and follow the group on Instagram for market dates and details. FOLLOW ON INSTAGR A M @t upelo_ ma kers_ ma rket

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S H O U T O U T S Hol lyPo p’s Ba ke r y

A popular Tupelo bakery has a different name, but the menu of baked goods remains as delectable as ever. Holly McCoy, who became the owner of what was formerly Rosie’s in October 2015, has recently changed the name to HollyPop’s Bakery. The shop offers dozens of goodies from cupcakes, cookies and petits fours to bars, biscuits, cinnamon buns and fried pies.

Located just a few steps west of Fairpark in the heart of downtown Tupelo, free Wi-Fi and plentiful seating make it a sweet spot to hang out. McCoy has added a few new items to the menu, the most popular being the HollyPop cookie — a large, individually wrapped, iced sugar cookie on a stick that can be custom decorated for a special occasion or just enjoyed as is.

“Being able to provide a variety of affordable sweets and seeing loyal customers return for their favorite items is very rewarding,” McCoy said. “We look forward to building on the tradition that was started, to encourage more people to enjoy the downtown area while providing delicious sweets that everyone has grown to expect and enjoy when they visit our bakery.”

P OP i n t he Pa rk Put on purple and join the community in a Warrior Walk for the fight against lupus. Tupelo Parks and Recreation has partnered with the Lupus Foundation of America and Wear it Well Inc. to host the event, which takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. May 18 in Ballard Park. “POP (‘put on purple’) in the Park is a movement to bring the citizens of Tupelo together to learn about lupus and its effects on those living with it,” said Katina Holland, founder of Wear it Well. “Put on purple to show love and support of the lupus warriors.” Attendees can enjoy music from Bonfire Orchestra, eat burgers and fries from Jo’s Cafe Food Truck and paint a canvas. The Lupus Foundation of America will host a resource tent with information about ways to help those affected by the disease. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lupus Foundation. To register, donate to the cause or find more information, visit support.lupus.org/goto/popinthepark.

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SHOUTOUTS

continued

GREGORY BYERLINE

M r s . M i s s i s s i p p i 2019

Keri McMillin, a Mooreville native, is Mrs. Mississippi United States 2019. McMillin was selected by a five-person panel to represent the Magnolia State as the organization’s newest titleholder after besting other contestants in a private interview, evening gown and swimsuit competitions, and a question session on stage before a live audience. This year’s runner-up is Laurel Boone from Oxford. “It’s an amazing honor,” McMillin said. “I am so happy I get to represent married women of Mississippi in Las Vegas in August.” In addition to preparing for the national competition, McMillin will spend her time as titleholder traveling the state of Mississippi making appearances on behalf of the Miss Mississippi United States Organization and promoting her personal platform, Project Stay Close, a nonprofit she started with her husband and a friend. The organization, established in memory of the McMillins’ daughter, provides housing for families with infants in neonatal intensive care or family members in intensive care. “Pageantry has had such a huge impact on my life,” McMillin said. “This pageant has actually helped me get my life back in so many ways. It’s a great feeling to set a goal for yourself and actually attain that goal.” M AY 20 1 9 | I N V ITAT I O N

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into S U M M E R

E S C A P E TO A N Y O F T H E S E S I X FA M I LY-F R I E N D LY P L A C E S TO C O O L O F F W H E N T H E H E AT I S O N.

MARRIOT T H OT E L

SHOA L S

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10 Hightower Place Florence, Alabama A hotel getaway with indoor and outdoor pools awaits you just 90 miles northeast of Tupelo. The outdoor pool has fountains, a cave, a waterslide and private, shady cabanas for relaxing. An adjacent pool bar offers refreshments. Once you’re done swimming with the kids, treat yourself to a massage or a facial at the hotel’s onsite spa, then grab a bite to eat at the 360 Grille in the Renaissance Tower, a revolving restaurant that offers views of the Tennessee River Valley. Or relax on Swampers Terrace with water views of Wilson Lake. The soundtrack of your visit will be sweet — the collective Shoals, of which Florence is a part, is home to a vibrant music history where superstars like Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin recorded hits. Room prices vary.

marriott.com

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FAYET TE AQUATIC C ENTER Guthrie Smith Park 218 23rd Street NE Fayette, Alabama Located about 85 miles from Tupelo, this aquatic center features an impressive lazy river and three waterslides with varying degrees of twists and turns. When you get hungry from all the splashing around, the concession stand serves pizza, hot dogs, nachos, chips, cheese sticks, pickles and candy. Admission is $10 for the general public and $7 for seniors, nonswimmers, and military personnel. Kids under 2 get in free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MondaySaturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Opens May 25 fayetteaquaticcenter.com

RENAISSANCE BIRMINGHAM

FAYETTE AQUATIC CENTER

MARRIOTT HOTELS

WRITTEN BY RACHEL BURCHFIELD

RE N A IS S ANCE B I RM INGHAM

ROSS BRIDGE GO L F RESORT AND S PA 4000 Grand Avenue Birmingham, Alabama The first thing you’ll notice when you drive up to Ross Bridge, about two hours east of Tupelo, is that it looks like a castle. So expect to be treated like royalty. While the resort is best known for its golf course, it is also a family destination for its pools. Kids will love the outdoor beach-entry pool and its big waterslide. The park-like space is surrounded by towering trees and waterfalls. Inside, the hotel offers a saltwater pool, a fitness center and the Spa at Ross Bridge. Every guest room has a private balcony overlooking the Alabama hills. Other family-friendly features are bike rentals and outdoor fire pits stocked with all the fixings to make your own s’mores. Room prices vary.

marriott.com


AT

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GEYS ER

PA R K

WAT ER

1165 Bratton Road New Albany, Mis sis sippi New Albany’s water park at BNA Bank Park is complete with water fountains, an impressive waterslide and a wading area. Admission is $4 for youngsters ready to get wet. Adults get in free. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. In addition to the water features, kids can choose from a number of small water toys to play with and take a sno-cone break at the nearby vendor.

Opens May 28 v i s i t n e wa l b a ny. c o m / at t r ac t i o n s

FALLS

T HE ME

PAR K

7746, 209 Black Jack Road Philadelphia, Mississippi

R ED BAY FAMILY FUN PARK 650 2nd Street NW Red Bay, Alabama Waterslides for grown-ups? Only about an hour from Tupelo is Red Bay Family Fun Park, where you can slip down two adult waterslides and play in the large pool to your heart’s content; kids can enjoy a smaller slide made just for them. When you’re done swimming, there’s also a playground, a covered pavilion for picnics and gatherings, a skateboard park and a quarter-mile walking trail. Admission to the park, playground and walking trail is free; admission to the water park Monday-Saturday is $8, Sunday $5. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A little over two hours south of Tupelo you’ll find one of Mississippi’s marvels. The Geyser Falls Water Theme Park is a 23-acre family amusement center with 12 major waterslides, a gigantic wave pool, a lazy river, white sandy beaches, palm trees and cabanas for rent. Amenities include a retail shop, food court, ice-cream parlor, snack bar and a stage for outdoor entertainment. Right next to the park you’ll find the Beach Club Restaurant, a full-service restaurant in a beach environment. Adults pay $36.99 plus tax Sunday-Friday and $44.99 plus tax Saturday; those under 48 inches tall pay $26.99 plus tax Sunday-Friday and $34.99 plus tax Saturday; children ages 3 and under get in free.

Opens May 18 geyserfalls.com

PEARL RIVER RESORTS

CITY OF RED BAY

JOE WORTHEM

Opens May 25 c i t yo f r e d b ay. o r g / pa r k s - a n d - r e c / red-bay-fun-park

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Our Art works

A TUPELO ARTIST EXPANDS HIS VISION OF MAKING ART ACCESSIBLE NOT JUST TO OTHERS WITH TRAUMATIC INJURIES AND DISABILITIES, BUT TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNIT Y. WRITTEN BY RACHEL BURCHFIELD

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illiam Heard, founder and director of OurArtworks in Tupelo, has spent nearly 20 years turning the worst experience of his life into his life’s work. His latest endeavor is an outdoor art space in Mill Village that will complement his Tupelo studio. Heard’s journey began 19 years ago during his last semester at Mississippi State University. Just a couple of months shy of graduation, in March 2000, Heard was a backseat passenger in a car that fishtailed on a gravel road and ran head-on into a ditch. Heard, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown forward on impact. The back of his head hit the windshield, breaking his neck and paralyzing him for life. Hospitalized for the next six months, and left without the use of his legs, toes or fingers, the one activity Heard found that

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gave him joy was art — especially painting, which he experimented with a couple of times a week as part of his rehabilitation therapy. He continued to paint after he was discharged, but soon depression reared its ugly head and he stopped. “I wasn’t into it anymore, and I quit,” Heard said. “I didn’t know what to do with my life. My future was bleak.” Several months later, fighting depression and battling anger over what the crash had done to his life, he caught a late-night airing of the 2000 movie “Pollock.” In it, Ed Harris plays painter Jackson Pollock, known for his abstract drip paintings. The movie changed Heard’s outlook forever. “After watching that movie, a lightbulb went on,” Heard said. With a renewed sense of purpose, Heard began experimenting with his own

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

version of Pollock’s drip technique. First he tried spoons, controlling the drip by holding it with a Styrofoam ball. Then he began experimenting with anything he could find around the kitchen — pans, bowls, cups. Eventually he began to feel hopeful again. Painting really gave him back his joy. Heard realized others with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries could feel the same therapeutic benefits he experienced from creating art. He set up shop in his mother’s studio space in Tupelo, teaching art, inviting in friends he made while working at LIFE of Mississippi, a statewide nonprofit that empowers people with disabilities. “I needed to do something, in a sense, to keep busy,” Heard said. Armed with a grant from the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services that continues today, OurArtworks was born.


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“It means the world to them to come and be themselves, to laugh and enjoy great art, to eat popcorn and snacks.” — william Heard

Now, 13 years later, OurArtworks has opened a second location at Mill Village, on about two acres of land donated by Melissa Pounds. Heard and Pounds met when Heard was working on wood furniture in the front yard of a home across the street from what is now OurArtworks’ second outpost. Pounds, who owned the land, told Heard “If you can do something with it, y’all can have it.” And do something, he did. With the help of the community, the Mill Village location opened in April. It features not only art — think painting, clay and ceramics — but also craft projects such as jewelry, beading and woodworking. Eventually, visitors will also be able to garden and practice yoga, and Heard has plans to build a stage where local musicians can play. There will be chickens to feed and picnic tables under big trees where people can stop for lunch in between

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projects. Both locations are open not just to people with a disabilities but to anyone who wants to come join in the fun. “We want to fit as many people as we can,” Heard said. “The studio can only fit so many people. We had 50 or 60 people recently, and we had to go buy extra chairs.” The Tupelo studio will continue to be open Tuesdays and Fridays, while the Mill Village location is set to be open seven days a week as a safe place to create art. “There are a large number of people in the area with developmental disabilities,” Heard said. “This is a place they can enjoy. It is also a place for the community, for anyone who wants to participate and wants to see what we’re doing.” Heard said he expects the Mill Village outpost to serve thousands of people with disabilities.

“It means the world to them to come and be themselves, to laugh and enjoy great art, to eat popcorn and snacks,” Heard said. “You see so many smiles — they look forward to it each week.” Heard said he remembers his darkest hours in the hospital, when creating a piece of artwork felt so monumental — and he wants to give the same gift to others. “It’s just a feeling of accomplishment,” he said. “I remember when I was first starting out painting, even my first painting in rehab, I was just so glad to do something; to just have the independence of creating something on my own was such a good feeling. I had the opportunity arise to do something to help other people — helping other people helps me just as much as it helps them. If I can help our community, that’s what I must do.”


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WITH TOURS, CONCERTS AND REENACTMENTS, PLUS CONVERSATIONS WITH TUPELO’S TOM BROWN, YOU CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE. WRITTEN BY JENNIFER COLLINS

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ILLUSTRATED BY FR ANK ESTR ADA

ach year, for one week in June, a small town in northeast Mississippi becomes a global village. Tourists from all around the world walk Tupelo’s Main Street, peeking through windows, flipping through books and holding up T-shirts and jackets, in search of that perfect memento to take home and remember this visit. They come to honor one man — Elvis Presley. This year, the 21st Tupelo Elvis Festival begins June 5 with the opening Showcase Concert and ends on Gospel Sunday with a down-home gospel sing. In between are Elvis Tribute Artist competitions, concerts, tours and Conversations With Tom Brown and his panel of special guests. Brown, like Elvis, grew up in Tupelo. A diehard Elvis fan, Brown always wanted to be Johnny Carson — and he’s now known as the Johnny Carson of the Elvis world. Brown attended Northeast Mississippi Community College and earned a theater degree from the University of Mississippi before heading out to pursue a career in broadcasting. After a decade as an entertainment reporter interviewing celebrities all over the country, he moved to Los Angeles to work for “RoughCut” on TNT, then spent the next 17 years working for TCM in Atlanta. With Elvis Presley Enterprises, he has hosted numerous productions and the YouTube series “Gates of Graceland.” Now back in Tupelo, he’s program director and morning host for WSYE Sunny 93.3. Brown started the Nashville Elvis Festival and hosts it yearly, as well as the festivals in Memphis and Tupelo. Brown and the tribute artists are big attractions at the festival, but there’s plenty more for both fanatics and the just-curious. Debbie Brangenberg of Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association and Roy Turner of the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club, along with a hardworking staff, are the people behind the scenes ensuring the Elvis Festival is a week to remember for all.

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Take the Elvis T rail Several festival weekend events showcase Elvis’s formative years. Brangenberg and Turner’s team host a living “wax” museum around the downtown area, with local actors portraying various people who knew Elvis, from the doctor who delivered him to the man who sold him his first guitar. “The events we have on Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 are my favorite events during Elvis Festival week,” Turner said. At Tupelo Hardware on Main Street, Elvis’s mother bought her son the guitar that would change the face of American music. Visitors can enjoy a dramatic reenactment of the transaction with young Elvis and his mother, Gladys. From Tupelo Hardware, it’s just a short walk to the Lee County Courthouse, where Mississippi Slim broadcast his radio show on WELO. Elvis performed on Slim’s show at least three times. Across the street from the courthouse is the Lyric Theatre where Elvis would go to the movies with his friend Sam Bell. Elvis attended Lawhon Elementary and Milam Middle School; at Milam, visitors can hear an audio recording of his sixth grade teacher and a fellow classmate reminiscing. Drive by Lawhon where Elvis sang “Old Shep” onstage at the school talent contest and won second prize. Hungry? Stop by Johnnie’s Drive-In. Elvis ate there and so can you. This funky 1945 diner is still in business with much of the same menu, including barbecue, pimento cheese, the dough burger and an Elvis favorite, the toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich. A guided audio tour is available at tupeloelvisfanclub.com.

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Conversations with Tom Brown Brown moderates this gathering of Elvis insiders Friday afternoon on the stage of the Lyric Theatre. He uses his extensive knowledge and considerable charm to guide the speakers from story to story, giving the audience the feeling they are seated in a living room chatting with friends. “As an Elvis fan, I love to sit and talk with those who knew him on a personal level,” Brown said. “It’s not an interview as much as a chance for fans to hear from these people talking about their memories of Elvis, the man — we go wherever their memories take them.” This year, Brown’s guests are Charles Stone, Dick Grob and Sam Thompson. Stone worked for Elvis’s manager Colonel Tom Parker and prepared concert venues for Elvis’s arrival. Grob and Thompson are former members of the “Memphis mafia,” longtime friends who worked for Elvis. Thompson’s sister dated Elvis for a number of years.


Elvis T ribute Artist Competition There are only a few licensed Elvis Tribute Artist Competitions in the world, and Tupelo holds one of them. “I especially love to watch the audience during a tribute artist performance,” Brown said. “Everyone is back to being 16 years old, no matter their age.” Brown, who emcees the Tribute Contest, describes being “blown away” by how hard the artists work to recreate Elvis’s performance on stage, down to the smallest detail. “They research the role,” Brown said. “They know what rings he wore with that jumpsuit. And they are competing against each other but they’re friends. Time and time again I see them pulling for each other.” The competitions follow a strict set of guidelines, and each offers a trophy that represents the area in which it’s held. Tupelo awards a golden Elvis trophy and a guitar from Tupelo Hardware; Nashville’s trophy is a gold record. At the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition in Memphis, this year’s champion will receive the title, plus a $20,000 cash prize and a contract to perform with Elvis Presley Enterprises. Brown says if you were lucky enough to see “the King” live in concert, then hopefully for a few minutes, an Elvis tribute artist will give you that feeling again. “And if you never had the chance to see Elvis live in concert then hopefully when you see a tribute artist you will get to feel what it must have been like,” Brown said. “I see a lot of smiling faces during a tribute artist contest. That’s what the memory of Elvis does for people — puts a smile on their face.”

Concerts For the concert fans, there are both Elvis Tribute Artist concerts and the Fairpark concerts, which have featured both new and classic artists from the late B.B. King to Mississippi’s own Trent Harmon. Fairpark is located on the old fairgrounds, where Elvis held his only hometown concert in 1956. This year’s Fairpark concert headliner is north Mississippi’s own Paul Thorn, who will perform at 8 p.m. Friday on the Fairpark stage. The Fairpark concerts are free. For complete times and ticket information for other concerts held throughout the festival, visit tupeloelvisfestival.com or facebook.com/TupeloElvisFestival.

Finale Sunday, the experience ends with a gospel music sing at the Lyric Theatre. Tribute artists and local gospel singers bring the music that Elvis and his mother loved so dearly to contemporary audiences. Since Elvis started out singing in his family’s church, it’s an appropriate and beautiful end to the week.

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CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

The fourth annual Cherry Blossom Festival took place March 31 at Tupelo Furniture Market, celebrating local Japanese heritage and culture. The family-friendly event was hosted by Tupelo Parks and Recreation and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi. View more photos at invitationmag.com.

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1. Sarah Ryann Fortner, Allison Hanby and Sophie Harrison 2. Miyu Imahashi and Akiko Ishikawa 3. Misae Imahashi, Hiromi Ito and Ayako Fujisaki 4. Terry Stamps and Chris O’Bryan 5. Tomomi Iouanaka, Ryoko Watanabe, Miki Oya and Hiromi Sugino 6. Nishio Kimitaka, Manabu Imahashi and Nobuteru Iwanaka 7. Kosuke and Yasushi Kubota 8. Chloe McClinton, Layla Crawford, Lauren Claire Masley, Elly Beth Syewart and Alex Herford

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GUMTREE ART GALA PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

Gumtree Museum of Art held its annual fundraiser gala, For the Love of Art, April 6 at Tupelo Country Club. The event featured entertainment by David East and the Swinging Lads Band, an art auction and a raffle for an oil portrait by Alison Schuchs. 1

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1. Lauren Stacy, Whitney Pegues-Beck and Allie West 2. Jane Riley with Bob and Jane Black 3. Mary Ann and Piggy Caldwell 4. Kathy McMurry with Janice and Curtis Trawick 5. Betty Caldwell and Dale Pounds 6. Sue and Heywood Washburn 7. Jim and Julianne Godwin 8. Maribeth and Kevan Kirkpatrick 9. Robbie and Bobby Boyd 10. William and Terina Dexter 11. Sarah Young with Bobby and Lucy Gaines 12. Gabrielle and Rick Cooper

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DENIM AND DIAMONDS PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

Crossroads Ranch, a residential community for special needs adults, held its fourth annual Denim and Diamonds fundraiser April 6 at Sheffield Manor in Fulton. The event included live and silent auctions, a raffle, a wine bottle grab and live music. 1

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1. Kevin Knight with Leigh Anne and Philden Stockton 2. Ann Claire Wallace, Chelsea Thomas, Alli Wilburn and Ginger Mitchell 3. Layla Stevens, Kassidy Young and Lexie Dickinson 4. Lacey and Chad Case with Nicole Johnson 5. Sonya West, Leigh Craft and Ginger Bryant 6. Kenny Hankins, Cheryl McDaniel, Mary Ann Elmore and Green Smith 7. Caitlyn Chilcoat and Brandi Abbott 8. Susan Sheffield and Renee Bennett

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SALTILLO GIT DOWN PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

The fourth annual Saltillo Git Down Car and Bike Show took place April 6 in downtown Saltillo. The event included food trucks, contests and children’s activities.

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1. Brian Berryman, Scott Sadowski and Bonez Moore 2. Brice Ann, Bud and Aimee Herndon 3. Curtis and Sandra White 4. Chuck Hopkins and Jake Mears 5. Bob Coom and Terry Whitt 6. Kim and Marc Anrold with Jaylin Copeland and Presley 7. Lindsey Thompson and Lindsey Hines

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ARE A 11 SPECIAL OLYMPIC S PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

Tupelo High School hosted the Area 11 Special Olympics March 29. More than 600 athletes from Alcorn, Lee, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Itawamba counties competed in the events. 1

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1. Susan McBrayer with Christopher and Crystal Rutland, Holden Taylor and Marie Foster 2. Kaylee Maddox, Aiden Strickland, Tony Mays and Roberto Owens 3. Joy Beth Turner, Casey Powell, Sam Dowdy, Ajalauh Caldwell and Emily Hill 4. Anna Brooke Bryant, Ava Credille, Todd Simmons, Gavin Watts and Mattie Grace Downs 5. Lisa Rae, Layla Sweet, Michelle Herring, Aleshia McCoy and Cindy Swords 6. Katie Jones, Haley Tate and Belle Roberts 7. Brandy Garmon, Tracy Wolfe and Michael Southworth 8. Holley Waldo, Sarah Crudup, Karisma Wardlaw and Kally Gazaway 9. Morgan Taylor and Wyatt Morris

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“DON QUIXOTE” PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

Tupelo Ballet presented “Don Quixote” March 30 at the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center. Earlier in the day, area children were invited to attend a tea party where they had the opportunity to dance with cast members. 1

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1. Isabella Posey, Rebecca Johnston, Lucy Gratz and Lacey Little 2. Andrea Brohawn, Pauline Gan Lim, Camille Bautista, Hannah Ruth Culp and Charlea Crayton 3. Anna Grant Kahlstorf, Hope Austin, Autumn Clegg, Ryleigh Owen and Ellabess Paladino 4. Megan Jones, Carrie Rakestraw, Ginny Gray, Maury Johnston and Madison Denton 5. Judd Wilson and Jimmy Grisham 6. Afton Gable, Allie Montgomery and Ella Barber 7. Michael B. Gratz and Kyle Cunningham 8. Hannah Grace and Amanda Michael with LeeAnn Lesley

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LEE COUNTY ART EXHIBIT PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

Artwork by students from several Lee County elementary schools was exhibited April 4-16 at the Gumtree Museum of Art. An opening reception to kick off the exhibit and celebrate the artists took place at the museum April 4. View more photos at invitationmag.com.

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1. Shanna, Sadie and Audrey Downs with Kerrie Gillentine 2. Jerry, Sonja, Cora, Tripp and Leslie Iverson 3. Tucker and Marianna Mitchell 4. Tatum, Keirstyn and Ben Haas 5. Jett, Natasha, Della Ray and Chris Hussey

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6. MaKinley and Marquita Richey 7. Christina Montgomery with Alyssa and Savannah Griggs and Megan Sanders 8. Owen and Graham Austin 9. Liz, Beth and Brooks Jernigan 10. Mariam, Bella and Peyton Hatfield 11. Emma Claire, Farrow Kate, Ashtyn and Misty Thompson

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CORINTH IN NASHVILLE PHOTOGRAPHED BY WHITNEY WORSHAM

The Alliance and Visit Corinth hosted “Corinth Night in Nashville” April 4 at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. The networking event focused on ways for Corinth and Alcorn County natives to stay involved in their hometown communities. 1

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1. Angela Avent with Van and Mary Hedges 2. Fant and Nancy Smith 3. Jack and Catherine Smith Teasley 4. Skip and Sandra Galyean with Pat and Hollis Ashcraft 5. Lauren Little Butler, Kristen Skinner, Kristin Hubbard and Lauren Walker Butler 6. Ben and Clint Tucker 7. Mary Patterson McGaha and Vanessa Sears 8. Dave Brawner and Rebecca Brawner Smith 9. Jane Hedges Douglas with Rachel and Ben Gatlin 10. Francis and Avery Stanley

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OUT & ABOUT VIEW MORE PHOTOS AT INVITATIONM AG.COM

Au s t i s m C e nt e r of No r t h M i s s i s s i p p i Fu nd ra i s e r

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G i rl Ta l k

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Pa rk g at e P re g n a nc y C l i n ic R i b b o n C ut t i n g

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1. Leigh Ann Mattox, Jarvis Hemphill, Amber Register, Jason Wood, Shanta Jines and Houston Yarbrough 2. Kyle Conwill, Rob Kiste and Jake Logan 3. Antonique Jennings, April Johnson, Kaila Jefferson and Dedrick Grady 4. Tyra Floyd and Yesenia Garcia 5. Alania Eddie, Shelesa Curlee and Kennedy Kline Johannesmeyer 6. Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic friends and family

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MISSISSIPPI’S BEST

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P O R K with mango salsa and plantains

KICK OFF SUMMER WITH A MEAL INSPIRED BY SOUTH FLORIDA’S CUBAN FOOD CULTURE. RECIPES BY L AUREN McELWAIN

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n Miami, Florida, heat and sunshine are practically ingredients in the cuisine. On a recent family vacation, Invitation Magazines food blogger Lauren McElwain discovered the flavors of the city, and she’s now testing them out in her own kitchen. “One of the best experiences we had was sampling authentic Cuban food in Little Havana, Miami,” McElwain said. “My weekly cooking routine is now a little more exciting. This Cuban meal is easy to make and everyone loves it.”

SLOW COOKED

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1 bone-in pork shoulder (about 4 pounds) 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon white pepper Juice of 2 oranges Juice of 3 limes Zest of 1 orange Zest of 1 lime 4 cloves minced garlic 2 teaspoons oregano 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional) ½ onion, thinly sliced (optional)

mojo pork

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry, and cut 2-3 slits across the top. In a slow cooker, stir together salt and next 10 ingredients. Place the pork and bell pepper and onion (if adding) in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven, and rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, and remove fat and bones. Pour the juices from the slow cooker over the top. M AY 20 1 9 | I N V ITAT I O N

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P O R K with mango salsa and plantains

fried P L A N T A I N S 6 very ripe plantains 3 teaspoons chili powder 2 teaspoons cumin Juice of 1 lime 1 cup vegetable oil 1-2 teaspoons salt (optional) Peel plantains, and slice on the diagonal into 1½-inch-thick pieces. Place in a bowl, and toss with the chili powder, cumin and lime juice. Heat the vegetable oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the plantains to the hot oil, and pan fry until browned (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and sprinkle the salt evenly onto the plantains, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep in a warm place until ready to serve.

MANGO

salsa

2 mangos 1 orange bell pepper 1 tablespoon minced red onion (or more if desired) 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or more if desired) Juice of 1 lime Chop the mangos and bell pepper into ½-inch pieces. Stir all ingredients together in a decorative bowl, and set aside until ready to serve.

SERVING SUGGESTION To complete this meal, McElwain suggests serving sides of saffron-flavored yellow rice or Spanish-style yellow rice

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and black beans. For extra flavor, add about ¾ cup of the slow cooker liquid from the mojo pork to each while cooking.


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Invitation Magazine - May 2019  

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