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Cultural Festivals
Two Popular Jackson Festivals Named "Top 20" Event In Southeast
Two annual and popular Jackson festivals – Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights and CelticFest Mississippi – received the prestigious tourism honor as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS). The Southeast Tourism Society has presented Top 20 Events awards since 1985; the best events across the Southeast compete to receive this prestigious Top 20 designation. “These two festivals definitely deserve this distinguished tourism honor,” said Wanda Collier-Wilson, CEO and president of the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. “These honors demonstrate what Jackson has to offer: fun, family-friendly and diverse events for all to enjoy anytime of the year. They also have a huge economic impact on the city of Jackson bringing in visitors from across the country.”

Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights is an evening street festival celebrating Jackson’s unique Belhaven neighborhood in August of each year. Belhaven’s Carlisle Street is “lit up” with art, children’s events, vendors, one-act plays, musical actions, food and libation. The event drew a crowd of over 3,000 in 2008, creating an estimated economic impact of over $260,000 for Jackson. In September, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry transforms into a festival full of all things Celtic during CelticFest Mississippi. Those attending this festival can immerse themselves in Celtic art, music and culture. This year’s festival, which takes place September 10 – 12, 2010, features educational workshops, family and children’s activities, and of course, plenty of food. The Capitol City netted an estimated economic impact of over $268,000 through CelticFest Mississippi attracting more than 3,100 attendees during the annual event.

“We’re delighted that CelticFest Mississippi has garnered this recognition,” says Don Penzien, a Board member of the Celtic Heritage Society and founder of CelticFest. “CelticFest is a labor of love amongst the all-volunteer crew, and to have our labors appreciated is really gratifying.” To find out information online about Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, visit More information about this year’s CelticFest can be found at The Southeast Tourism Society chooses the Top 20 events in the Southeast for each month of the year, and publishes the list of winners quarterly. The Top 20 Events publication is sent to more than 1,600 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations and AAA publications, reaching millions of people. For more information about the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau, call (601) 960-1891 or visit