Jason Shelton


Oh what a night! Tupelo rang in the new year, decade and our 150th year in a big way! Thousands gathered together in Downtown Tupelo to celebrate this monumental event, with Fairpark and Main Street full of happy adults and children enjoying live bands, kids activities and a spectacular fireworks show. It was an extraordinary example of who we are as a community and what we are capable of achieving. Personally, it has always been an enormous honor to serve as your Mayor, and this special night was one of the highlights of my public service. It was wonderful to see all the happy faces and sense of community. It was inspiring and marked the beginning of our year-long birthday celebration. This will no doubt be an exciting and historic year for Tupelo as we continue to honor and celebrate our Sesquicentennial in 2020, made possible by civic-minded sponsors and a supportive community.

Our 150th celebration has been in the planning for quite some time. The Mayor’s Quality of Life Committee has worked diligently to provide guidelines and information to make this year-long celebration meaningful for everyone. We have a very comprehensive plan, hoping that each of you will explore ways to honor and celebrate our city’s Sesquicentennial. Our goal is to educate, engage, and inspire. We will focus on signature events, activities and projects that focus on our 150 year history and community spirit. Our initiatives will involve Tupelo citizens, citizens of the region, community organizations and Tupelo/Lee County schools. Specifically, there are four primary pillars of emphasis – Education, Celebration, Participation and Inspiration. Education will consist of workshops, classes, speaking engagements and online seminars. Celebration will include events, exhibits and cultural projects to celebrate and embrace the spirit of Tupelo’s culture. Participation will be encouraged in the name of improvement and increased civic pride through community projects and ideas that spark change. Inspiration will include inspirational projects and aspiring activities to launch our next 150 years of success. If you wish to participate in an event, activity or project that falls under one of the four pillars of focus for the Sesquicentennial year, please visit www.tupelo150.com to learn more about opportunities including a grant program to help fund your ideas.

A better you makes a better community, and service to others has always been one of Tupelo’s greatest strengths. I encourage everyone to take the Tupelo 150 Challenge. Start 2020 by making a resolution to improve your life and that of others. Commit to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of community service in 2020, along with a personal commitment to a healthier lifestyle of better nutrition and exercise. In visiting tupelo150.com, you will find several causes and non-profits in our community which can benefit from your generosity and volunteer service, along with 150 ways to volunteer your time and talents.

Each month of our Sesquicentennial year will have a specific focus:

January – Kick Off to a New Decade

February – Black History Month

March – Community Service

April – Entrepreneurial Spirit

May – Celebration of the Arts

June – Celebration of Music

July – Tupelo Homecoming

August – Education

September – History and Culture

October – Health, Wellness and Sports

November – Southern Food and Hospitality

December – The Holiday Spirit

Each month brings opportunities to celebrate! I encourage you to consider participating in already planned events, as well as ways you can participate with your business, organization, church or school.

We had quite a kickoff to our Sesquicentennial on New Year’s Eve, and we are committed to celebrating all year this historic birthday for Tupelo. Each of us is an integral part of this story – the incredible story of Tupelo. We are woven together in 150 years of triumph, trials, opportunities and challenges. WE are the Tupelo Spirit. At every moment when we are called, we answer with faith, optimism and determination to make our city the very best. I am extremely proud of Tupelo and our citizens. I have no doubt that this, our 150th birthday, will be our most outstanding year.

Happy 150th Birthday, Tupelo! Let’s celebrate!

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

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