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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

Group leaders savor stopover in Sikeston

Sunday, September 21, 2003

I want to let everyone know how great the Savor the Southeast Festival turned out.

On Aug. 21 Sikeston's Clinton Building was lined with around two dozen tourism-related businesses from the 12 counties of the River Heritage region. These vendors, loaded with brochures and information at their decorated booths along with their specialty foods, were there to advertise their locations and specialties to 44 Missouri Showcase group leaders.

When the Missouri Showcase bus arrived, the group leaders first received goodie bags from the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores stuffed with teddy bears, T-shirts, mugs, cups, magnets and an array of donated items from the counties. Next they visited each booth, where group leaders could fill their plates with all the wonderful food being showcased.

During the meal the vendors told about their attractions or events then after lunch, the leaders had the opportunity to visit each booth again. Several of the leaders located the area they wanted to visit using the 40- by 60-foot floor map. The map and accompanying brochures gave them some great ideas on planning trips and how to hit several attractions while in the area.

Near the end of the festival door prizes were awarded and several group leaders walked away with some pretty awesome gifts.

While the food and gifts were great, one of the main comments from the group leaders was how good it is to see communities work together for the good of all. A leader from Texas urged us to host it again next year for another bus of group leaders and promised he would get in touch with us to schedule it.

The overall festival was a huge success and with everyone pitching in it was quite economical. Now the River Heritage Association is planning to develop several day trips for group leaders with the festival as a great way to kick this off.

We want to extend a special "thank you" to the cities for hosting the festival and commend the parks department for their efforts for the event. Also our thanks to Helen's Florist for decorating the foyer and tables for the occasion - everything looked absolutely top notch.

We received a thank you card from MMG (the advertising agency employed by the State of Missouri). They wanted us to know how much fun they had during their stay for the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo and the Redneck Barbecue. The MMG staff said they were very impressed with the hospitality in the area and plan to return next year.

We are looking forward to some pretty good publicity from these visitors and again want to say thank you Sikeston and Miner - you have proved once again that southern hospitality starts here.