Jason Shelton


As we get older, birthdays don’t always come with the same excitement as they did when we were younger, but it is still nice to be remembered each time you celebrate your special day. Here in the city of Tupelo we have two very special birthdays that we will be celebrating all next year, beginning with our first ever New Year’s Eve celebration in Downtown Tupelo.

The year 2020 is the sesquicentennial of Tupelo’s founding which was on July 20, 1870. An easier way to say that is Tupelo’s 150th birthday is in 2020 and we are going to celebrate the occasion with many wonderful events throughout the year. Next year will also mark what would have been Elvis Presley’s 85th birthday. We will shake, rattle and roll more than ever as we welcome people from all over the world to celebrate the life, legacy, and music of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The New Year’s Eve celebration will feature two live music stages featuring a diverse lineup of incredible bands, special children-friendly events, a Toyota Corolla giveaway, fireworks, and a ball drop to coincide with the countdown to ring in the New Year. There will be something for everyone and we hope that you will join us here in Downtown on that magical evening. There is also a special New Year’s ticketed concert at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and a limited ticket event at the privately held Silver Moon Club which will attract guests from all over the country.

The downtown restaurants and other businesses will be part of the celebration and each will add their own unique twist to the evening. With your help, the success of this inaugural event will lead to this becoming an annual event for the City of Tupelo.

There will be special events at the Elvis Presley Birthplace the first week of January to commemorate the birthday of the King, and the 2020 Elvis Festival in June will be bigger than ever. Along with a fantastic musical performance lineup, we will have special appearances by those who personally knew Elvis and will welcome guests from all over the world. Travel groups from Norway, Germany, and Austria have already announced they will be in attendance and more groups will be joining us in Tupelo as we celebrate this special annual occasion.

There will be numerous events announced at a later date to celebrate our sesquicentennial, and our longstanding events such as the Blue Suede Cruise, Gumtree Arts Festival, July 4th Celebration, Down on Main Concert Series and others will play special roles throughout the year.

The story of Tupelo is the story of America itself. Once the capital of the great unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation, our area is the headquarters of one of America’s oldest known roads, the Natchez Trace. We were part of the French and Indian War, the Civil War, home of the first paved road south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Civil Rights movement, FDR’s “New Deal” as America’s first “TVA City,” and many other wonderful accomplishments.

Tupelo is the story of how a small and impoverished southern city, in what was then the poorest region of the United States, has transformed into a thriving hub for economic activity in Northeast Mississippi. We are the smallest city in the nation to be the home of two banks valued at over 10 billion dollars each and home to the nation’s largest rural health care center.

We have a great deal to celebrate and we want you to be a part of the celebration. Make plans now to get involved and participate in the festivities celebrating the successes of our All-America City.

On behalf of the city of Tupelo, I also would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tupelo’s own Swae Lee of the group Rae Sremmurd, nominated for two Grammy awards – Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. If you don’t know Rae Sremmurd, ask your children or grandchildren to tell you about the most famous singers to come from Tupelo since Elvis Presley.

JASON SHELTON is the mayor of Tupelo. Readers can contact him at jason.shelton@tupeloms.gov

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