Thursday, July 30, 2015

Life Lessons Learned from Elvis’ Time in Tupelo

1. Elvis wanted a rifle but got a guitar instead. (Sometimes you don’t get what you want but everything happens for a reason.)

For Elvis’ 11th birthday, his mother, Gladys, took the young boy to Tupelo Hardware to purchase a birthday gift. Originally, going in, Elvis was going to get a bicycle, but when he got inside he saw a rifle and he just had to have it. His mother told him she wouldn't buy him the rifle, but Forrest Bobo, a family friend that worked at the store, let Elvis strum a guitar to help persuade him into something else. After some persuasion, Gladys ended up buying her son a guitar and the rest is history.

Many people fear what the future holds and make plans in attempt to control the future. However, those attempts rarely go how we envision. Once he got into Tupelo Hardware, Elvis knew what he wanted to walk out of the store with. A flood of exciting scenarios had likely entered his mind once he saw the rifle from taking it through the woods to showing it off to his friends. 

Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but everything happens for a reason. Elvis got that guitar because it was his destiny to be one of the most legendary artists of all time. So, next time your plans go astray – don’t worry! There’s a reason everything happens, so when one good thing doesn’t work out, hold on because something great may be coming soon.

2. Elvis placed fifth in a local talent show but later became a Grammy award winning singer. (Never give up and always keep bettering yourself.)

After impressing one of his teachers, a 10-year old Elvis entered the talent show at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair & Dairy Show, the yearly fair in Tupelo. Elvis performed one of his favorite songs, “Old Shep,” but ended up placing fifth in the competition. However, Elvis would later go on to win three Grammy awards in his lifetime.

We all have dreams and aspirations in life. Motivated by our passions, we seek to achieve greater success in the things we love, although sometimes, we fall short of our own personal goals. Despite falling short, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. There is no aspect of our dreams that doesn’t have room for improvement. You can always do something to better yourself and your skills. There may be difficult times when you fall down, but always get back up and keep trying.

3. The Presley family was poor during their time in Tupelo but relied on their neighbors and community to help in the difficult times. (There’s no problem too large for a community to support.)

During their time in Tupelo, the Presley family had difficulty making ends meet and Elvis’ father, Vernon often bounced from one odd job to the next. They relied on the help of their neighbors and the surrounding community to help for any kind of support they could find.

Elvis’ childhood friends, Guy Harris and Sam Bell, still live in Tupelo today and attest to how the community would surround the Presley family, and other disadvantaged families, during difficult times to provide help in any way. Often times, it wouldn’t be financial help, it would be something as simple as sharing food, watching someone’s kids while the parents worked or even a car ride to get where they were going faster.

There is no task too large for a community to offer a helping hand. Tupelo has seen this first hand in how our community came together after the 2014 tornado that hit Tupelo. Although, in a time of need anything helps, offering assistance doesn’t have to be monetary or anything big, it can be as simple as being a listening ear to a friend in a time of need. Coming together as neighbors and fostering community is what makes a neighborhood or a city strong. It strengthens the bond between people and helps make life a little bit less heavy.

4. Elvis returned to Tupelo to perform for his hometown. (Never forget your roots.)

In 1956, Elvis was hitting his stride as a performing and recording artist. As part of the Mississippi-Alabama Fairy and Dairy show, Elvis agreed to return to his hometown and perform two-shows. Banners, a parade, cameras, reporters, and hundreds of adoring, screaming fans greeted him. And again, in 1957, he returned to perform a benefit concert to help build a Youth Center and park in Tupelo.

Elvis never forgot where his home was. Even after his family moved from Tupelo when he was 13, Elvis still visited Tupelo when given the opportunity. Guy Harris, one of Elvis’ childhood friends in Tupelo, recalls the Presley’s driving to Tupelo on Sundays to spend the day with friends and family, even after Elvis’ success had really taken off. The last time Harris saw Elvis was in 1970 when Elvis was visiting Tupelo. 

You’re never too big to remember from where you came. Your hometown will never change. It’s a part of the story you've been given and it’s the story that you get to live. Embrace your roots and be proud of it, because no matter the circumstances, there’s always something to be proud of. For most people, their hometown is still filled with people they love and care about. Never deny where you’re from or your roots, because any negative light cast on that town can be changed by one person’s positive outlook.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

#MyTupelo July Photo Blog

For more images and to see if any of your photos have been featured visit:

If you'd like an opportunity to be featured, share your photos of Tupelo using #MyTupelo on Twitter & Instagram.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Events in Tupelo


4-7: Tupelo Elvis Festival
6: Dulcimer Day; Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center
9: Introduction to Chalk Paint; Farmhouse
12-14: GumTree Classic; Veteran's Park
12-14: Tupelo Flea Market; Tupelo Furniture Market Buildings
13: Wildflower Walk; Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center
20: Ujima 16th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival; GumTree Park
27: 2015 Father Daughter GumTree Ball; BancorpSouth Arena


4: All-America City Family Picnic in the Park; Ballard Park
9: Down On Main Summer Concert Series; Fairpark
10-12: Tupelo Flea Market; Tupelo Furniture Market Buildings
11: Dulcimer Day; Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center
25: Disney Live! 3 Classic Fairy Tales; BancorpSouth Arena


7-9: Tupelo Flea Market; Tupelo Furniture Market Buildings
8: Campfire Program; Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center
13: Down On Main Concert Series; Fairpark
29: Boots, Bluegrass & BBQ - A Benefit For Sanctuary Hospice; The Antler

For more events & information:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What is #MyTupelo?

Lee County Courthouse
Everyone has a story. Some have stories of grandeur, others have stories of prevailing, and some stories are wonderfully simple. Like everyone else, the South has a story to tell. We have a rich history of inspiration, progress, and tradition. While containing similar storylines, no town in the South has the same story to tell, and Tupelo, Mississippi, wants the world to know its story.

With advances in technology, people are now able to share their story with people from all over the world. Most people who know of Tupelo associate our town with its most famous son, Elvis Presley. We're very proud of the legacy and accomplishments of Elvis, but our story doesn't stop there. Tupelo has continued to progress and inspire and that spirit is what we want people to know about. It’s a community spirit that can’t be experienced anywhere else.

Downtown Tupelo
The South is known for its hospitality. We like to say, “Yes sir” and “No ma’am,” because it's part of a tradition that we love to keep alive. It is that same hospitality that builds our communities where people come together to enrich each other’s lives and care for one another. Our community is unlike any other in The South. Tupelo has been able to maintain a small, Southern-town charm that hosts many of the metropolitan amenities, from our Downtown district that is a picturesque Southern downtown Main Street with many locally owned eateries and boutiques to our progressive Barnes Crossing area that has many of the nationally recognized stores.

Our story lies within our attitude to be a city that has a mindset focused on progressing but to also never lose our roots. That balance is what makes Tupelo a town where anything is possible. The inspiration is here, it’s your job to discover it. We’re a town that fostered and inspired the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, started an entire economy around an Irish Bull, and continues to delight with our sweet Southern charm.
Assembly of God church located on the
Elvis Presley Birthplace grounds.

From here we want people to begin exploring our story, because within our story are countless other stories. We have a community of storytellers who have been inspired by the unique offerings of Tupelo. It’s a town where anything is possible if you set your mind to achieving your dreams. It’s a town where we boast our strong sense of community and willingness to support a neighbor in times of need. Our town is one that we want to share with the world.

During the next few months we’ll share some of our favorite Tupelo stories and images of what we feel makes our town so special. But, of course, these things are just a glimpse into the rich culture that resides in our little Southern city. We invite you to come experience these with us. Until then, you can keep up with Tupelo by following us on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. We’ll share our posts using #MyTupelo and ask you to do the same. Whether you’re visiting or a local, please join us and show the world what #MyTupelo is to you.