A few sprinkles and a lot of humidity did not dampen the festivities in the Town of Carrollton last weekend at the annual Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day.
Seven historic home were open for the pilgrimage this year, with people coming from as far as Texas to tour the town’s historic homes and churches. On Saturday, the historic Carrollton square was packed with people browsing the arts and crafts booths and enjoying the fares from food trucks.
A Mississippi historic marker was unveiled for Carroll County native Mack Allen Smith and his band, The Flames, in honor of their contributions to rockabilly and country music in the state. Not only was Smith on hand at the Carrollton Courthouse for the marker unveiling, but he drew a packed house as he performed live at the Carrollton Community House live on Saturday evening.
In addition, another Carroll County native was remembered at the dedication of Carrollton’s new VFW Post 12191, named in memory of Michael H. Ball, the only Carroll County soldier killed in the line of duty during the Vietnam War.
Since its rebirth in 2009, the Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day never fails to provide wholesome family entertainment while celebrating the storied history of the community. For the town, that history and the many historic homes, churches, and buildings painstakingly preserved over the years has become one of the largest revenue producers. According to a study done by the Stennis Center at Mississippi State University, the Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day brings in an addition $100,000 in sales tax revenue, directly and indirectly. Not too bad for a town of less than 200 residents!
I would like to commend Carrollton Mayor Pam Lee, who has chaired the annual event for the past several years, and the members of the Carroll County Society of the Preservation of Antiquities who volunteer their time and energy to put on such a successful event. This event would not be a success each and every year – even during the COVID-19 pandemic – if it were not for the time and efforts of these volunteers.
In my opinion, what makes the Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day such a success is its overwhelming support of the entire community. Businesses, civic organizations, elected officials, and even school children play their part in making the event as well as the town itself an ideal place to visit. The entire town is decorated with fall décor, with residents and businesses adding to the festive feel throughout the community.
I would like to issue a very special thank you to the members of the Cherokee Rose Garden Club. Not only do the members of the garden club keep up the public flower beds in Carrollton and North Carrollton, they go above and beyond with their holiday décor for Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day. Their hard work provides visitors a glimpse into the community itself – a community of active and involved citizens of a thriving community.
Kudos also goes to the students of Carroll Academy, who serve as docents at the historic homes and buildings during the pilgrimage. Students participating receive a “living” history lesson each year, and they are taught their roles as future historic preservationists of the community. Their involvement guarantees the future of the event and the very community itself.
To everyone involved in the success of this year’s event, I salute you for a job well done. Other communities should look to Carrollton as a shining example of what is possible when everyone – residents, businesses, schools, and civic groups -- comes together to achieve a common goal.