Awarded Columbus Pilgrimage Adds Attraction

COLUMBUS, MS – How to make one of the Southeast¹s most magical visitor
events more magical? For Columbus, Mississippi¹s 73rd annual Spring
Pilgrimage, the answer was simple: Add a touch of a true magician to the
festivities.

This year, the two-week tour and celebration of historic homes and Southern
culture will be highlighted by the grand opening of the Josh Meador Trail,
marking points of interest in the life of the preeminent Disney animator who
grew up in Columbus. Meador lent his magic brush to a veritable roll call of
Walt Disney Studio classics, from helping to create the wondrous workings of
the fantastical Fantasia to engineering the marvels of Captain Nemo¹s voyage
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, for which he won Disney Studios an Academy
Award.

Though Meador did not draw the Disney characters, it was his animating
genius that brought them to life and created such dazzling effects as the
vividly rising waters of The Sorcerer¹s Apprentice. That kind of unique
talent makes Meador a natural addition for an event known for its own
dazzling stagecraft in bringing history vividly to life, from the War of
1812 at Plymouth Bluff to the grand gilded ladies of the Victorian age.

Rather than an artist¹s brush, Pilgrimage works its enchantment through
beautiful historic homes and churches where hosts dressed in period costume
and immersed in period lore step out of the pages of the past to draw
visitors into a world beyond time. Candlelight tours also help to cast a
spell, as do horse-drawn carriage rides through the Downtown Columbus
Historic Districts, while the dramatic graveyard presentations of the
award-winning Tales from the Crypt do their part to enrich the experience,
recreating the lives of noted Mississippians and others interred in the
city¹s historic Friendship Cemetery.

But perhaps one of the most magical elements of Columbus Spring Pilgrimage,
notes Nancy Carpenter, director of the Columbus Convention and Visitors
Bureau (CVB), is the hospitality of the city itself. ³The residents here are
always delighted to welcome guests, and Pilgrimage is such a special time
everyone in the city wants to be involved and play host.²

The hometown enthusiasm is matched by overflow attendance and is the result
of more than just Southern hospitality. Over the years, working in
conjunction with the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation, the CVB has
waved its own magic wand over Pilgrimage, expanding home tours into a
multi-cultural, multi-sensory feast that today draws diverse crowds from all
over the world ready to enjoy fun for every age, at events like Grilling on
the River barbecue cook-off, Noon Tunes concerts, a 10K run through Historic
Southside, the Mayor¹s Unity Picnic and Artisans Alley, where browsers can
shop and savor handcrafted period items and foods.

The Pilgrimage Kickoff Party begins Monday, April 1st at 5 p.m. with a
crawfish boil and live music on the lawn of the Tennessee Williams Welcome
Center on Main Street. The former parsonage turned welcome center is the
childhood home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and conjurer of such
classics as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Streetcar Named Desire.

Carpenter notes that Spring Pilgrimage combines the qualities associated
with both of Columbus¹ famous storytellers. ³Pilgrimage is resonant in the
romance and glamour that was so vital to Tennessee Williams, yet it also
offers the family-friendly quality typical of Josh Meador¹s outstanding work
for Walt Disney. Spring Pilgrimage truly has something for everyone.²