Pre-Conference Tours & Reception

Monday, October 21, 2024

Optional Excursions

Both excursions are available at no cost, but space is limited so reserve today.

Morning Excursion (October 21)

White Squirrel Winery Limit: 60

10 a.m. departure – 1 p.m. arrival back at hotel

Shuttle pick-up and drop-off in front of Holiday Inn Express and Suites

Grown in the rich soils of a small Northwest Tennessee farm, the Sanderson family brings you wines made with their personal touch and distinct flavor. Their wines are made from fresh fruit grown on Sanderson Family Farms where they farm eighteen acres of grapes, fruit from the orchard and bramble bushes. During this special tour and lunch created just for 2024 Rural Tourism Conference, a selection of their wines will be sampled along with lunch. Included in the experience will be a tour of the vineyard and an opportunity to learn more about the soap and candles also produced on the property.

Afternoon Excursion (October 21)

The Ultimate Reelfoot Lake Experience Limit: 90

2 p.m. departure – 4:30 p.m. arrival back at hotel

Shuttle pick-up and drop-off in front of Holiday Inn Express and Suites

Experience one of the oldest traditions at Reelfoot Lake by boarding a pontoon boat piloted by an experienced State Park naturalist. It’s the best way to view Tennessee’s only large, natural lake with views of cypress trees, bald eagles, white pelicans and more. Also included in the experience will be a guided tour of the new R.C. Donaldson Museum and Nature Center, located at Reelfoot Lake State Park, and a walk along their boardwalk. The short, one-of-a-kind trek through cypress groves and lily pads features impressive views and opportunities to experience the nature of Northwest Tennessee up close and personal.

Opening Night Reception (October 21)

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The Pavilion at Houser Creek Crossing

Located adjacent to Holiday Inn Express and Suites

Experience food and entertainment under the onsite, one-of-a-kind pavilion featuring the largest fireplace in Northwest Tennessee. From sampling local delicacies and adult beverages to enjoying music from a much-celebrated local band, it's a great way to celebrate rural tourism with old friends and associates while connecting with new ones. One complimentary drink ticket will be provided in your conference welcome packet

Tuesday, October 22, 2024

8:30 – 9:00 Welcome

Mayor, Scott Williams, Lindsay Theobald, State Rep/Governor, Josh Issac (song)

9:00-10:00 How to Tell and Sell Your Story

Valerie Luesse, Author and Writer (Southern Living)

10:00-10:30 Intro of Vendors & Vendor Break

10:30-11:30 Are You Working Under the Influence

Kristin Luna, Journalist

11:30-1:00 Lunch

1:00-1:50 From Rural to Reel

Shan Stout, Director of Tourism, Cookeville-Putnam CVB

1:50-2:40 Growing Crops, Kids and Dreams, Harvesting Amoozing Success

Ellie Holt, Holt Family Farms

2:40-3:00 Vendor Break

3:00-4:15 From Rural Eyesore to Tourism EyeCandy

Moderator: Scott Williams, Discovery Park

Panel: Sonia Outlaw-Clark, West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center

Randall Clemmons, Banker & Wilson County Fair

TBD, Brushy Mountain


Progressive Dinner Reception (October 22)

6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Discovery Park of America

While much of our day will be spent engaging in sessions, this evening reception will allow you to break free and soak in the full experience of Discovery Park of America! Enjoy a taste of Northwest Tennessee during our progressive dinner, with sample stations strategically placed throughout the various exhibits that our host venue has to offer. Whether grabbing a bite with a bear, or desserts with the dinosaurs, you are sure to enjoy this night out at the museum! To top off the evening, enjoy networking with other attendees while you sip a local Obion County craft brew or wine! One complimentary drink ticket will be included in your conference welcome packet.

Wednesday, October 23

8:30-8:40               Announcements

8:40-9:30               Peas and Slaw the Perfect Recipe for Rural Success

                                   Melissa Woody, Tourism Development, Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce

                                Sharon Marr, Executive Director, Main Street Cleveland

9:30-9:45                Vendor Break

9:45-10:35              Have You Seen Me? Is Google Better Than a Milk Carton

                                       Camila Tato, Hardin County Tourism

10:35-11:15            Pitch Contest

11:15-12:00            Agnes Zaiontz Award

                                    Evaluation Forms – Drawing for $100

                              Pitch Winners

                          Spirit Pull and Silent Auction Results

                            Announce 2025 Location

12:00          Adjourn

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