Piggott Hosts Welcome Center Workers

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Clay County Judge Mike Patterson (center) speaks to the welcome center staff members who visited Piggott for the FAM tour on Monday. Also pictured are Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce President Nikki Blue (left) and Piggott Mayor Jim Poole.
TD photo/Tim Blair

The Piggott area rolled out the red carpet Monday morning, as a group of state tourism workers visited the community as part of their annual FAM tour. The effort serves to familiarize workers from the welcome centers located around the state on the attractions and activities available in various areas—allowing them to advise visitors to Arkansas on where they should go and what they should see.

The visit to the Piggott area was suggested by Barbara Harmon, of the Corning welcome center, and the tour marks the first time since the early 2000s that a local stop was planned.

“This is the Arkansas Fall Farm Tour and for the Northeast Region we suggested the tour visit Piggott,” Harmon explained. “This is the first time the tour has visited the Piggott area since around 2001.”

Arriving by chartered bus, the group first stopped at Madpie's, on the square in Piggott, for an early lunch courtesy of Piggott State Bank.

Providing words of welcome for those in attendance were both Piggott Mayor Jim Poole and Clay County Judge Mike Patterson.

“We just want to welcome all of you to Piggott, we're sure proud of our city and proud to have you visit us,” Poole offered.

The welcome center staff members touring Piggott on Monday were treated to a performance by the Marching Mohawk Band. Although it was a bit cramped, the entire band and flag line packed into Madpie's for the musical treat—capped with a stirring rendition of “Our Boys.”
TD photo/Tim blair

An avid local historian, he also provided those on hand the background on the building which houses Madpie's, which had formerly been the Franklin Theater.

Patterson also offered a word of welcome to the visitors, echoeing the sentiments of Poole on the importance of tourism to the county.

Much to the group's surprise, the entire PHS Marching Mohawk Band next made an appearance and marched into the business for a brief performance. With numerous cell phones documenting the occasion, they performed several selections for the appreciative crowd.

“We've had police escorts before, but we've never been welcomed by a marching band,” one of the visitors offered.

Following the band's performance the group enjoyed the luncheon, then set-out to see some of the local attractions.

“We have a group of 22 today,” noted tour host Nalley Smith, manager of the welcome center at Little Rock. “They represent all of the welcome centers with the exception of Mammoth Springs, they had a conflict and couldn't attend today.”

Following the luncheon at Madpie's, the group was scheduled to tour several locations in the community including The Inn at Piggott. Stops at both the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center and the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center were also scheduled. Late Monday afternoon the group travelled to Pumpkin Hollow for a tour and a late-afternoon hot dog roast. Afterward, they re-boarded their tour bus to travel to Village Creek State Park to spend the night.

The tours are organized each year as a way of educating the welcome center workers on the attractions available to visitors to the state of Arkansas. This allows the workers to advise tourists which are the best spots to visit based on their interests.

There are a total of 13 center located around the state, and a central center in Little Rock which serves as their base of operations. In addition to the center north of Corning, there are locations along I-55 at Blytheville and West Memphis, along with locations in Bentonville, Harrison, Mammoth Springs, Helena-West Helena, Lake Village, El Dorado, Texarkana, Van Buren/Ft Smith, Siloam Springs and the Red River Center.

The centers are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and remain open until 6 p.m. during summer months. They're closed on most major holidays, including a half day for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Easter and Thanksgiving. Additional information is available online at www.arkansas.com

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