By Carlie Kollath
Tishomingo County and Oxford took home state tourism awards from the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism for the second year in a row.
The Oxford Convention amp& Visitors Bureau won the large festival/event of the year for the 2008 Double Decker Arts Festival.
The 13th annual Oxford Double Decker Arts Festival was in April 2008. The festival is held on the Oxford Square every spring as a daylong celebration of music, food and the arts.
Last year, the Oxford CVB won best small festival for its Town BBQ Throwdown.
"It's nice to be recognized statewide ... because we attract people from all over the state," said Hugh Stump, executive director of Oxford's CVB.
Tishomingo County Development Foundation's Tourism Council was given the tourism achievement award for its Trash amp& Treasures Along the Tenn-Tom. The two-day event in October 2008 was billed as the state's longest yard sale and lined 234 miles of highways through five Mississippi counties from the Tennessee State line and south through Lowndes County, then crossed into Alabama and included another three counties.
Last year, Iuka resident Martha Segars was honored at the Governor's Conference as the community volunteer of the year for her work with the tourism council, which included helping to launch Trash amp& Treasures in 2007.
The Governor's Conference, co-sponsored by the Mississippi Tourism Association and the tourism division of the Mississippi Development Authority, was held in Hattiesburg from Feb. 15-17 and attended by innkeepers, restaurateurs, community tourism officials, tourism attraction operators, state agency officials, tourism educators and other representatives of the hospitality industry.
This year's conference was centered around the theme of "a cultural masterpiece" and featured sessions on eco-friendly tourism, destination weddings, culinary tourism and agritourism, among others.
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Along with getting additional training, tourism attractions and convention and visitors bureaus attend with the possibility of getting a pat on the back from their peers in the industry.