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Tooting our horn: Thomson takes center stage of tour

Thomson officials impressed a visiting contingent of 45 dignitaries from across the state at the Heart and Soul Tour last Wednesday.


Jim Breedlove, director of external affairs for BellSouth Corporation, tries to blow a horn to rally the fox hounds during the Heart and Soul Tour stop at Hickory Hill.

"We were delighted to be included on the tour," said Mayor Bob Knox of the annual road trip that brings officials from around Georgia to view downtown revitalization and historic sites in selected cities.

"We gave them a good show about what our city is all about. They were very receptive, and I think they enjoyed themselves and enjoyed seeing our community," he said.

Highlights of the tour to Thomson included trips to Hickory Hill and the Watson Brown Foundation as well as a recap of current plans to revitalize the downtown area. In addition, tour members visited The Depot and got a brief history lesson on the historic site.

State officials, business leaders and philanthropists were traveling to see first hand some ways cities are breathing new life into downtown areas, according to Gerald Baygents, Thomson McDuffie tourism director.

As an added distinctive twist during their Thomson stopover, visitors were introduced to the sport of fox chasing that has brought both recognition and visitors to the area for many years.


Beverly Blake, Program Officer for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, smiles among the hounds.

Tour members were invited to be photographed atop a hunt horse and could observe the accompanying hounds that happily milled around and played in front of Hickory Hill.

"I thought it was a wonderful event," said Don Powers, executive director of Forward McDuffie, at a recent Tourism Board Meeting.

"The horses and hounds went over well. It was totally unique and fun," he said.

The tour organizer even told him, "This one stands out," Mr. Powers said.

The state officials left for Augusta Thursday morning to continue the tour which focuses on the importance of successful downtown development and the role it plays in supporting economic growth for communities and regions.


Epp Wilson helps Becky Taylor, manager of the Georgia Municipal Association, get acquainted with the hounds.

The Georgia Cities Foundation which sponsors the tour is a non-profit subsidiary of the Georgia Municipal Association.

During this year's tour, dignitaries visited Thomson as well as Augusta, Elberton, Hartwell, Lyons, Metter, Monroe, Sandersville, Social Circle, Statesboro, Swainsboro, Vidalia, and Waynesboro.


Epp Wilson leads the hounds up a stone walkway at Hickory Hill.

Web posted on Thursday, April 28, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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