28 Years of Tupelo Main Street
One mission - to sustain and enhance the downtown experience.
Downtown has long served as Tupelo's epicenter, but in the late 80s it faced new competition from a mall built seven miles away. In order to sustain the downtown area, public and private leaders turned to the Main Street program. With the support of the Mississippi Main Street Association and the National Main Street Center, Downtown business owners and city officials formed Tupelo Main Street in 1990.
Almost 30 years later, Downtown Tupelo is still the city's center of business and commerce, buzzing with activity and breaking the boundaries of progress. Its streets guide you from the warm heart of downtown to the very house Elvis was born in. Its walls shout the stories of a city rich in history, from the King of Rock 'n' Roll to the Great Chief of the Chickasaws, Piomingo. The heart of Tupelo is here in downtown.
The transformation of Downtown began with The Fairpark District, now known as “Tupelo's Front Porch." Fairpark houses government offices, financial institutions and downtown living. It offers free Wi-Fi; provides room to picnic with benches and umbrellas; and offers a playground and a splash pad. Fairpark was the spark that ignited a thriving downtown, which now includes specialty boutiques, art galleries, 22 restaurants and a flourishing Farmers’ Depot.
Downtown is also home to the BancorpSouth Arena. The arena seats 10,000 and has sold out shows for Elton John, Aerosmith, and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. The arena also hosts the internationally known Tupelo Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition, Disney on Ice and public ice-skating. Next door is the BancorpSouth Conference Center, a sought-after venue for more than 300 events and conferences annually. This all sits beside the Hilton Garden Inn, which offers 158 rooms. Just steps away, the Tupelo Automobile Museum displays 140 classic cars, the largest private automobile collection east of the Mississippi River.
Our Main Street office strives to keep downtown buzzing with activity year-round, which is why we host as many as 15 different events throughout the year. Whether it’s a wine tasting, a chili cook-off, or the internationally attended Tupelo Elvis Festival, these events account for 80,000 visitors annually in downtown. This allows us to showcase Tupelo’s culture and heritage, placing emphasis on the Americana Music Triangle and the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area.
How could anyone properly sum up 28 years of historic preservation, continual economic development, millions in public/private investment and countless hours spent sustaining and enhancing the downtown experience? Downtown Tupelo is the physical embodiment of these 28 years of progress, made possible through the tireless application of the Main Street Four-Point Approach. Tupelo is where Elvis began his legacy, and downtown is where Tupelo begins its own legacy.