About 35 city residents and leaders will head to KC next week to compete in the All America City competition. Tupelo is among 26 finalists from across the United States; only 10 will win the coveted designation.
The group, which represents a tapestry of ages and races, will perform a front-porch skit explaining what makes Tupelo great.
Among the reasons they list are its recent health and education initiatives like the Mayor's Marathon, the redevelopment of the old fairgrounds into downtown's Fairpark District, and the nationally recognized Greenhouses senior living facilities at Traceway.
Members of the team put the finishing touches on the routine during a practice session Thursday at the Link Centre.
"We're becoming healthier and smarter, we're taking great care of our elders, and we're holding onto the spirit of a small town in the midst of our growing city," said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. during one part of the 10-minute skit. "Our youth, our elderly, our future - our Tupelo."
The group leaves Monday for Kansas City and will perform for judges Thursday. Winners will be announced the next evening.
If Tupelo earns a top spot, it will be the third fourth All America City designation it has earned since 1967. It also had won in 1989 and 1999.
"We're so proud already to have made it to the finals," Reed said. "We're the only city in the South, so we're representing our entire region."
Tupelo had been selected as a finalist in April.
Other finalists range from urban cities to rural communities, including Ann Arbor, Mich., South Bend, Ind., Buffalo, N.Y., Fayetteville, N.C., and several areas in California.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or email@example.com.