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The information in this guide represents a sampling of the many attractions, hotels, restaurants and other amenities offered in the city of Jackson. Because this guide is ever changing, we suggest that you contact the properties directly to learn of any changes that may not be reflected here.


Intro/Reunion Services


Jackson, MS the “City with Soul”


Planning Timeline


Reunion Planning Committees


Brainstorming Questionnaire






City Information


City Facts


Fun Facts


Industry Partners


Hotels, full service/limited service properties


Indoor, off-site


Outdoor, off-site






Emergency Information

Family Reunion Planning Guide


This Reunion Guide will walk you step-by-step through planning a successful and fantastic reunion. Take a minute to process the guide and you will find it helpful as a general overview of what to expect. The guide will provide budgeting advice and lists of venues and vendors, along with helpful hints.

What does a Visit Jackson reunion expert do to help me plan and execute a reunion? By utilizing strong partner relationships and industry experience, your reunion expert is available to assist you with the following: 1. Provide a comprehensive Reunion Guide which includes venues, budget suggestions, timelines and helpful hints specific for your family and budget.

Family Reunion Planning Guide

2. Assist you in locating a hotel that not only fits your budget, but also meets the needs of your reunion. With a variety of hotels in Jackson, there is one perfect for your event. 3. Help you in finding the perfect meeting facilities, whether your reunion needs an indoor banquet hall or outdoor picnic in the park. 4. Provide information on group activities. Jackson is home to some of the most visited attractions in the south. Whether you enjoy family-fun activities, the history of the Civil Rights or the Civil War, alligators, lakes and hiking trails, theatre, contemporary art and music or authentic Mississippi Blues. 5. Help to coordinate transportation to/from events for your group. There are several options and our reunion experts will be able to help you choose what works best for you. 6. Whether you need a caterer, an organized dine around or a restaurant with space for a large group, you will have plenty of choices in Jackson. Our reunion expert can help you choose from over 300 unique restaurants with an array of different cuisines. 7. Based on the size and location of your reunion, Visit Jackson offers several complimentary service items including brochures, name badges, pens or bags. Our reunion expert will be happy to let you know which item is available for your reunion. 8. Your reunion expert can even request a letter from the Mayor, personally welcoming your family to Jackson.


Grab a glass of sweet tea, find a comfortable spot in the shade and let’s start planning your next reunion!

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Jackson, the “City with Soul”, offers everything you would expect of a vibrant city with plenty of small-town southern hospitality. The capital city is rich with cultural offerings from spirited nightlife, nationally-recognized museums, James Beard award-winning restaurants and soulful music. Beyond that, Jackson feels like home. With its numerous multipurpose facilities and family attractions, Jackson is ready to welcome you and your family.

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Planning Timeline 18 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS • • • • • •

Gauge interest from family members Enlist volunteers to organize the event (committees) Create a private Facebook group or website for family members Contact Visit Jackson to begin assisting with accommodations, facilities and city information Create a list of possible dates and locations and begin to scout out potential venues Start putting together a family contact list, including addresses, phone numbers and email addresses


• • •

Send an initial announcement with a tentative date, time and place. Request RSVPs so that you can get a rough estimate of attendees Determine the budget Solidify the date

9 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR • • •

6 TO 9 MONTHS • •

• •

Create a schedule of activities Send out invitations with finalized date, time, location and other details. Be sure to include accommodations, types of activities and a call for volunteers. Make catering arrangements or a plan for food Arrange for photography, either professional or by a family member

Secure venue Reserve the block of hotel rooms, if necessary Designate responsibilities to volunteers

4 TO 5 MONTHS • • •

Order any keepsakes or party favors, i.e. t-shirts, hats, etc. Confirm reservations with vendors Decide on any decor

Family Reunion Style Guide


2 MONTHS • • •

Send a “see-you-soon” reminder to family members Follow-up on RSVPs Finalize programs and schedules

1 MONTH • •

Family Reunion Style Guide

2 WEEKS • • • •

Make a list of volunteers and their responsibilities Make a “day-of” checklist Review final details Confirm arrangements with the venue

1 WEEK •


Double check your “day-of” checklist Remember to thank all volunteers! RELAX AND ENJOY!

Finalize menu Assemble the items needed, such as name tags, decorations and party favors Confirm hotel reservations with the hotelier

Prepare welcome packets and name tags


Send evaluation form to all attendees Pass on post reunion report to the next host Complete bookkeeping; settle all accounts Send thank-you notes to all volunteers, hotel staff and caterers Start brainstorming about the next reunion


Reunion Planning Committees

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Family Reunion Planning Guide

If your family reunion is more than 25 people, you may need a committee or two from the list below. If the reunion is larger, you may choose to use a few more. Be sure to have ONE designated person to work directly with the reunion expert.

Transportation committee: While every family reunion does not need a committee especially for transportation, larger reunions do. This group of volunteers will be responsible for setting up any necessary transportation.

Accommodations committee: This committee is largely responsible for researching hotels in the city that you are holding your reunion. The research should help them narrow the choices of hotels down to a manageable amount based on your family reunion needs.

Entertainment/activities committee: This committee would responsible for arranging entertainment. For example, if one of the activities during a family reunion is to visit a museum, this group would arrange for the tickets and negotiate group rates.

Communications committee: The person handling this committee needs to have two very important qualities. They have to be outgoing enough to be able to contact and talk to the entire family and be savvy enough to set up a Facebook group or website, brochures and surveys. You may have to split the duties between two people in order to accomplish all the tasks that will be assigned to this committee.

Set up/cleanup committee: Any family reunion requires a crew of people that will help with the registrations, setting up, decorations, signage and clean up.

Finance committee: Assign one person to lead this committee along with two others to lend a hand. This committee is responsible for determining the budget for the family reunion and collecting funds from individual family members to help pay for the reunion itself. Consider using a PayPal app to receive funds. Catering committee: This committee is responsible for researching and deciding upon a suitable location for a banquet. In addition, they will be selecting caterers, negotiating costs, and attending to the details of the banquet itself.

Genealogy committee: This committee is responsible for researching family history, setting up a family tree and giving various presentations that highlight the past. The group should be made up of knowledgeable family members who get along with all sides of the family. Welcoming committee: Have two to three people at a table near the front desk of the hotel to welcome family reunion attendees. The welcoming table should consist of welcome packets (maps, coupons, directions to local attractions), name badges and a family reunion agenda. After you have decided on the committees and the volunteers, address the questions on the following page as a group. Your answers will help ensure that you are all of the same mindset.


Brainstorming Questionnaire

Have you selected possible dates for the reunion?


What type of facilities will you need? (hotel, banquet space, picnic venue, meet & greet location, etc.) How many attendees do you expect? How many overnight hotel rooms will you need? Will any rooms need to be handicap accessible? Will you plan extra activities? (children’s activities, etc.) Will you need transportation? Will you print programs detailing the event? Will you need a photographer and/or videographer? Do you plan to have any keepsakes or party favors? (t-shirts, hats, etc.) Will you need a caterer? Are there any dietary restrictions to be aware of?

Family Reunion Planning Guide

Have you contacted Visit Jackson for assistance?

Family Reunion Planning Guide

Budget Plan your budget carefully. Generally, the goal is to break even on reunion finances. • • •

Establish an operating budget Open a separate bank account or consider using a payment app like PayPal, CashApp, Venmo, etc. Pay close attention to both the projected cost of the reunion as well as the number of expected attendees. These projections will determine the per person cost. Have attendees pay in advance for their reservations. One way to do this is to charge a lower rate for advanced registration.

Suggestions for keeping costs down: • •

• •

Look for family connections. Ask around for family that may own or work for suppliers, restaurants, hotels or other potential reunion sites. These people may be more than willing to arrange a good deal for your reunion. Not only is e-mail a great way to correspond with family, it’s free. Keep in mind that regular mailings are still needed since not all attendees use email or Facebook. Be sure to include the cost of postage in your budget. Work with your reunion expert on identifying free events and attractions in the area. Finally, look for deals and negotiate!



Family Reunion Planning Guide


It is always a good idea to have a few activities planned during your reunion. That could simply mean games and talent shows or organized tours of the host city. Below are a few suggestions to get you going. Be sure to offer options for all ages. •

Family Reunion Planning Guide

It may be fun and useful to have a children’s area. Children of all ages can color, draw and work on crafts or play board games. Ideas for all ages may include; storytelling, taking group photos, creating a family map (either genealogy or hometown locations), puppet shows, time capsules and skits. Don’t forget to get outside and experience the unique activities that only your host city can provide. Jackson, MS has more than 30 museums, including the MS Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, the Agriculture and Forestry Museum, the Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and the two newest museums, Civil Rights and MS History. These museums provide opportunity for play, education and discussion among family members. Be sure to ask your reunion expert for a complete list of Jackson’s award-winning attractions.

Visit Jackson provides numerous self-guided tour options covering topics like, the Civil Rights, architecture, state history and government. Jackson is home to almost 100 blues, Civil Rights and Literary Trail markers. Your reunion expert will be happy to help you develop an itinerary that suits you.

If you are looking for a group guided tour, your reunion expert is able to help! There are a few local tour operators that have come highly recommended.

African American Heritage Tours Clotie Graves 601-260-3337

More Than a Tourist Jane Halbert Jones 601-954-2036

Silver Platter Tour Travel Maureen Watt 601-953-9999


City Information

Family Reunion Planning Guide




166,965 (2017 census)

Over 300 restaurants, many with convention and banquet rooms; cuisine from authentic deep Southern cooking to international fare.



Winter (average) High - 62 degrees; Low - 40 degrees

Family Reunion Planning Guide

Spring (average) High - 78 degrees; Low - 56 degrees

7% sales tax

4% hotel tax

2% restaurant tax

Summer (average) High - 92 degrees; Low - 72 degrees

$0.75 per room night tax

Fall (average) High - 79 degrees; Low - 56 degrees

Location The Capital city is located centrally at the crossroads of Interstates 55 and 20, running north-south and east-west, respectively. The center of the city is a short 15-minute drive from Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International airport.

Hotels 45 properties with close to 5000 rooms, both full service and limited service properties.

Funding of Visit Jackson Visit Jackson is funded by 1% of the hotel and restaurant taxes collected in the city of Jackson. This enables the convention & visitor bureau to have the necessary means to attract, promote and facilitate tourism to and with our market and provide the complimentary services to events taking place in the city, as well as support local quality of life events and industry partners by way of sponsorships.


Fun Facts

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Family Reunion Planning Guide


Jackson, MS is the only Capital city in the United States to sit on an extinct volcano.


The Standard Life building, now converted into apartments and retail space, was built in 1929 in five months and five days. At the time of completion, it was the largest reinforced concrete building in the world.


The Mississippi governor's mansion is the second oldest continuously occupied governor's residence in the United States.


The American eagle atop the Mississippi State capitol is eight feet tall with a fifteenfoot wingspan made of solid copper, covered in gold leaf.


The Bisland Cotton gin located on the grounds of the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry museum is the oldest operational cotton gin in the world.


Smith Park, located in downtown Jackson, is one of the country's oldest city parks, older than Central Park in New York City.


Jackson holds the distinction of being one of only four cities worldwide to host the USA International Ballet Competition every four years. Joining Jackson in this honor are Varna, Bulgaria; Tokyo, Japan and Moscow, Russia.


The first human lung transplant and the first human heart transplant both took place at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.


Pascagoula Street is home to the International Museum of Muslim Cultures. The brainchild of longtime Jacksonians Okolo Rashid and Emad Al-Turk, it is the first American museum designed to show the story of Islamic culture and history.


Jackson is the home of Tougaloo College (1869), Millsaps College (1890), Belhaven University (1883), Jackson State University (1877), University of Mississippi Medical Center (1955) and two campuses of Hinds Community College (1917). Mississippi College (1826) is in nearby Clinton.


Jackson is also home to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, recently acclaimed by ESPN as one of the nation's best museums for American Baseball History.


Industry Partners

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Family Reunion Planning Guide

Full-service Properties The following properties can accommodate larger events with onsite services including, group rates for sleeping rooms, catering, parking, banquet space, etc.

Jackson Marriott 300 rooms 33,000 sf. of event space property currently undergoing renovations *Soon to be Delta by Marriott 200 East Amite St. 601-503-2013

Hilton Garden Inn (Historic King Edward Hotel) 180 rooms 7,000 sf. of event space 235 West Capitol St. 601-969-8506

Old Capitol Inn Fairview Inn boutique hotel, 17 rooms 5,360 sf. of event space 734 Fairview St. 601-948-3429

boutique hotel, 24 rooms, 5,000 sf. ballroom and rooftop bar 226 North State St. 601-359-9000

The Westin Jackson Hilton Jackson 273 rooms 20,626 sf. of event space 1011 East County Line Rd. 601-957-2800

203 rooms, 11,602 sf. of meeting space 407 South Congress St. 601-968-8200


Limited-service Properties The following properties are reunion friendly and can accommodate your attendees by way of group rates for sleeping rooms, parking, convenient locations, etc.

Hampton Inn & Suites

121 rooms 5907 I-55 North 601-948-8650

80 rooms 320 Greymont Ave. 601-352-1700

Cabot Lodge Millsaps

Hilton Homewood Suites Fondren

205 rooms 4,412 sf. of event space 2357 North State St. 601-948-8650

125 rooms *to be completed 2019 2801 State St.

Courtyard by Marriott

Holiday Inn Express

117 rooms 1,248 sf of event space 6280 Ridgewood Ct. 601-956-9991

108 rooms 310 Greymont Ave. 601-948-4466

Fairfield Inn & Suites 77 rooms 5723 I-55 North 601-957-8557

Residence Inn by Marriott Jackson, the District at Eastover 95 rooms 1248 Eastover Dr. 601-362-8003

Family Reunion Planning Guide


Baymont Inn & Suites

Indoor Off-site Properties

This list consists of properties that can host banquets, meet & greets and/or socials. Some of these properties include restaurants with and without event space and a few untraditional locations, i.e. museums, halls, pavilions, etc.

Arts Center of Mississippi

Family Reunion Planning Guide

event space 201 East Pascagoula St. 601-960-1557

Brent’s Drugs restaurant 655 Duling Ave. 601-366-3427

Castle Hill Pavilion event space 285 Old Enoch Rd. Florence, MS 601-845-1445

Cathead Distillery event space, indoor/outdoor 422 South Farish St. 601-667-3038

Central City Complex event space 609 West Woodrow Wilson Ave. 601-352-9075


Char Restaurant

Ice House

restaurant w/private event space 4500 I-55 North 601-956-9562

event space 251 West South St. 601-398-3200

The Living Room at Cultivation Food Hall

Iron Horse Grill

private event space 1200 Eastover Dr., Suite 125 601-487-5197

restaurant w/private event space 320 West Pearl St. 601-398-0151

Jackson Convention Complex Drago’s Jackson


restaurant w/private event space 1005 East County Line Rd. 601-957-1515

330,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space 105 East Pascagoula St. 601-960-2321

Duling Hall

Jackson State University

event space, indoor/outdoor 622 Duling Ave. 601-292-7121

Mississippi e-Center 1230 Raymond Rd. 601-979-5021

Fondren Hall

Lakeover Center

event space 4436 North State St. 601-500-8000

event space 6531 Dogwood View Pkwy 601-981-3996

Hal & Mal’s

Lou’s Full-Serv

restaurant w/private event space, indoor/outdoor 200 South Commerce St. 601-948-0888

restaurant w/private event space 904B East Fortification St. 601-969-9482

Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum

Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center

40 acres of green space and has several buildings with 19,684 sq. ft. of collective meeting space 1150 Lakeland Dr. 601-432-4506

event space 528 Bloom St. 601-960-1457

The Faulkner Mississippi Children’s Museum Education Center

event space, indoor/rooftop 518 East Capitol St. 601-566-1939

event space 2145 Museum Boulevard 601-981-5469

The Rickhouse at The Manship

Mississippi Museum of Art and the Art Gardens event space, indoor/outdoor 380 South Lamar St. 601-960-1515

restaurant w/private event space 717 Poplar Blvd. 601-398-4562

The South Warehouse event space 627 East Silas Brown St. 601-939-4518

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum event space 1152 Lakeland Dr. 601-982-8264

Union Station event space 300 West Capitol St. 601-960-0335

Albert’s at Parlor Market restaurant w/private event space 115 West Capitol St. 601-360-0090

Providence Hill Farm event space, indoor/outdoor 2600 Carley Rd. 601-925-0557

2 Mississippi Museums (2MM – History and Civil Rights) event space 222 North St. 601-576-6800


201 Capitol event space 201 West Capitol St. 601-278-3944 or 601-564-3899

4th Avenue Lounge event space 209 South Lamar St. 855-246-9636

540 Ultra Lounge at Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues


*Please call ahead. These properties may have an age restriction.

Family Reunion Planning Guide

restaurant w/ private event space 538 North Farish St. 601-954-1323

Outdoor Properties This is a list of outdoor venues that provide an area for outdoor recreation and picnic opportunities.

City of Jackson Department of Parks & Recreation

Family Reunion Planning Guide

601-960-0471 *Use of outdoor facilities in all city parks is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additionally, there are several Jackson Community centers available for rental by reservation only.

LeFleur’s Bluff State Park/ Mayes Lake Campground and Day Use Area 3315 Lakeland Terrace 601-987-3923 A public recreation area located on the banks of the Pearl River off I-55. The state park is home to a 50-acre lake, a 9-hole golf course, 28 tent/RV camping sites available, along with a large playground and picnic area.

Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum indoor/outdoor 1150 Lakeland Dr. 601-432-4506

100 Black Men – The Village 5360 Highland Dr. 601-366-8301


Off-site Caterers


Bully’s Soul food

Old Capitol Inn Catering



Country Fisherman Catering

The Pig & Pint Catering



Dave’s Triple B Catering

Savor at the Jackson Convention Complex



Fresh Cut Catering & Floral 601-939-4518

Sodexo at Jackson State University

The Iron Horse Grill Catering

601- 979-0447


Sugar’s Catering Lou’s Full-Serv Catering



4 Top Catering Mangia Bene Catering 601-362-2900


Family Reunion Planning Guide

This is a partial list of caterers in the area. Several of the restaurants listed in the previous sections will also provide off-site catering.

Vendors Entertainment


Face painting Fancy Faces – 601-421-6056 Snap Happy – 601-366-4686

(photographers/photo booths) Blount’s Photography/ Interactive Photo Booth (Vanessa/Henry Blount) – 601-668-8820/601-212-4099 Charles Anthony Smith – 601-927-8271 Jay Johnson – 601-940-3413 Precious Memories Photography 601-983-7868

Family Reunion Planning Guide

Space jumps Bounce-A-Roo – 601-624-8787 Party Time MS – 601-941-9010 Space Jump of Jackson – 601-932-2341 Trivia Challenge Entertainment - 888-987-TRIV

Printing Equipment Rental Fans/generators Greg Odom – 601-906-8300 Portable restrooms Go Potty – 601-709-0620 Party Time MS – 601-941-9010 Sheffield – 601-371-6440

Merchandise (t-shirts, hats, etc.) Dynastic’s – 601-353-1956 Studio Chane – 601-362-3547 TNT Screen Printing – 601-291-8052

(signs/banners/flyers) A2Z Printing – 601-540-4088 Budget Signs – 601-354-4977 Mahaffey’s Quality Printing – 601-353-9663 Sir Speedy – 601-981-3045

Transportation (bus/charter companies) Advantage Tours & Travel – 601-260-4392 B.S.C.I. – 601-684-2900 Cline Tours – 601-605-4483 Fisher Tour & Travel – 601-922-7789


Emergency Numbers *Always dial 911 for immediate emergency help*

Jackson Police Department Precinct Precinct Precinct Precinct

1 – 601-960-1880 2 – 601-960-1467 3 – 601-960-1447 4 – 601-960-1453


Fire Emergency Number – 601-960-1402 Fire Marshall – 601-960-2018 EMS Coordinator – 601-960-2130 Poison Control Center – 601-354-7660

Area Hospitals and Emergency Rooms Baptist Medical Center – 601-968-1776 Baptist Emergency Room – 601-968-1700 Central MS Medical Center – 601-376-1000 River Oaks Hospital – 601-932-1030 St. Dominic Hospital – 601-200-2000 University of MS Medical Center (UMMC) 601-984-1000 UMMC Emergency Room – 601-984-4000 601-984-2000

Family Reunion Planning Guide

Jackson Fire Department 111 E. Capitol Street, Suite 102 Jackson, MS 39201 1.800.354.7695 | 601.960.1827 Fax

Profile for Visit Jackson Mississippi

Family Reunion Planning Guide  

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