CVB hires expert to plan celebration

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission has hired a consultant to help market the city’s 2016 tricentennial celebration.

Tourism Director Connie Taunton said the CVB hired marketing expert Jennifer Barbee of Dallas to map out the marketing plan for the yearlong celebration.

Barbee and her team will first outline an organizational plan to market the tricentennial, which Barbee will present to the city this month, according to her proposal.

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The plan will include recruiting corporate sponsorships for tricentennial events, fundraising and marketing existing events like the balloon race in conjunction with the tricentennial.

According to Barbee’s proposal, she and her team will complete a full, comprehensive study of every option available to Natchez for legacy events, tourism and sponsorships leading up to 2016.

“First we have to have some big enough events that will warrant a corporation sponsorship,” Taunton said. “Jennifer will be outlining those type of events.”

Barbee led a meeting of the tricentennial committee last month for free and was hired after presenting her proposal for services to the promotion commission, Taunton said.

During the tricentennial committee meeting, the committee tossed around event ideas for a 300-hole golf tournament, cultural street festivals and a biscuit contest.

The committee also discussed riverboat dinner cruises, a documentary film festival, events for children, partnering with other cities for special travel packages for visitors, video and online marketing and other ideas.

Barbee’s fee is $35,000, of which Taunton said the CVB has already paid $17,000. The remainder will be paid at a later date, Taunton said.

The fee, Taunton said, could be offset by Barbee’s fundraising efforts.