City recruiting two conferences during tricentennial

Published 12:14am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NATCHEZ —Natchez turns 300 in 2016, and Mayor Butch Brown is inviting everyone to attend the birthday bash.

The city is recruiting conferences to come to Natchez to ensure a big turnout.

Two organizations recently announced plans to host conferences in Natchez, helping to fulfill Brown’s plan, the Mississippi Chancery Clerk’s Association’s annual conference and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative conference.

The chancery clerk’s conference will take place July 12-16, bringing approximately 175 chancery clerks, speakers and family members to the area, Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said.

The event will be the third time Natchez has hosted the conference, O’Beirne said.

The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative conference may bring more visitors to the area than the chancery clerks conference, Brown said.

The conference brings mayors from various cities on the river together to discuss common issues. No date has been set for the conference, though Brown said it would happen around the same time as this year’s conference, in late June.

Brown said the conference will generate revenue for the entire Miss-Lou in addition to showing off Natchez to visitors.

“We are talking about 200 to 250 individuals with spouses and exhibitors as well,” Brown said. “The meeting cost alone for this year’s conference was $75,000. The saying is that money turns over seven times before it leaves a community.”

In addition to river city mayors, Brown said he hopes to also include the Mississippi River Caucus — a group of U.S. legislators who represent areas near the river — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other river-related organizations in the conference.

Landing the two conferences is a part of Brown’s larger effort to fill the Miss-Lou with tourists and visitors during the tri-centennial celebration.

The event marks the 300th anniversary of French colonists founding the city in 1716. Brown said the city will host several 300-themed competitions and events to entertain tourists while in town.

“There will be things like a 300 hoops of basketball tournament, a 300-hole golf tournament and 300-pound catfish contest,” he said.

Brown said his efforts are progressing smoothly. He listed several organizations that are planning to host conferences in Natchez in 2016, including the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and The Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.

“We have a period of three to four months that is already blocked out,” he said. “We want to put our tri-centennial celebration on everybody’s calendar.”

The Adams County Board of Supervisors tried to recruit the Mississippi Association of Supervisors conference for 2016 to Natchez, but was unsuccessful. The supervisors said they will continue to recruit some of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors’ smaller events to the area.

Dozens of volunteers are also leading the tricentennial effort.