Adamsville revenues rise after Buford Pusser Festival

Andrew Alexander

The Buford Pusser Festival held at Buford Pusser Memorial Park in Adamsville during the last week of May saw a phenomenal turn out, earning over $5,000, and bringing tourism dollars in from as far as Indiana, Illinois, and Georgia, according to event coordinator Dwana Pusser-Garrison.

“As a city we don’t see proceeds until June sales tax returns come in,” said Adamsville Mayor David Leckner. “but the festival is great, the kids love it, and people get out. It’s a great escape for a weekend for families, and it’s something the community looks forward to every year.”

At the monthly Adamsville City Commission meeting held Monday, June 20 the financial report showed a $7,000 revenue increase for the month of May compared to the numbers from April, and a $2,000 increase when compared to the figures from May of 2010.

“I’m sure it was the festival,” said Pusser-Garrison.

While those figures cannot be directly attributed to the Buford Pusser Festival, Pusser-Garrison feels the rise in revenues were definitely a product of the festival bringing people into the community.

The total cost of putting on the four-day festival was $8,992.25, and that covered rides, live entertainment, sound systems, trophies, t-shirts, judges for contests, etc.

Pusser-Garrison said she is still waiting for several checks from sponsors but the current total of sponsorship revenue was over $14,000. 

“There is no way to put on a four-day festival without the help of our sponsors who allow us to make all the entertainment free for the public,” said Pusser-Garrison.

The proceeds from the event will go towards, “preserving and protecting the Buford Pusser Museum, the historic county jail at the McNairy County Courthouse, and other historic Buford Pusser sites in McNairy County,” said Pusser-Garrison.

The Buford Pusser Foundation Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning it is a non-profit organization that is exempt from some federal income taxes.

The Buford Pusser Foundation’s board delegates to Pusser-Garrison where proceeds from events like the Buford Pusser Festival should go to preserve the museum and other sites of importance in McNairy County.

Board members include Paul Wallace, Mike Smith, Steve and Sherry Sweat, and Atoyia Barnes.

In the past proceeds have gone to supply the museum with computers, cleaning equipment, and a new roof. This year nearly ten thousand brochures were purchased for the museum. 

 Other plans for this year’s proceeds include surveillance capabilities being installed in the jailhouse of the historic courthouse in Selmer so that it can be opened to the public for viewing on a regular basis.

Pusser-Garrison sees the jailhouse as an attractive tourist location for visitors of our area claiming, “It is an untapped resource for tax dollars for Selmer. I believe that tourists would love to go to the old jailhouse.”

Pusser-Garrison feels that our area would undoubtedly benefit from tourists visiting the Rockabilly Highway, Sheriff Pusser’s office and jailhouse in Selmer, and the Buford Pusser Museum in Adamsville, along with the Walking Tall Trail across West Tenn., while staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants.

Pusser-Garrison claimed that hotels in Adamsville and Selmer were close to completely booked over the Memorial Day weekend while the Buford Pusser Festival was carried out.

This claim was confirmed by the managers of all five hotels within Adamsville and Selmer city limits with their numbers showing that only a handful of  rooms we left vacant over the Memorial Day weekend.

“It was a hectic weekend,” said the Manager of the Southwood Inn Motel in Selmer, Mary Sue Conner. “We were busy, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we were glad to have them.”

On top of the festival causing vacancy signs to shut off, the festival spent money in the community to cater and promote their event, with lunch during the Friday tour being provided by Sharon Whitten and Subway in Adamsville, and shirts and signs for the festival being produced at All City Communications in Selmer.