We can’t say we speak for all of Fondren, but we’ll try.

And what we want to say should come as no surprise. You know as well as we do what a funky little ‘city within a city’ we have here. It is Jackson’s hippest neighborhood.

This past weekend’s Zippity Doo Dah® festivities illustrated that loud and clear. Where else could you have found the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, one of THE most recognized ‘brand marks’ in all the world, AND a group of ladies (and some men) who call themselves queens of a tasty orange potato?

And then there was the Mississippi Mass Choir, crammed on to a tiny stage, emanating anything but a tiny sound. There were stores who rolled out the proverbial pink carpet to welcome visitors from, literally, across the globe. And, there were games and prizes and a contest where only the strong survived (we’re, of course, talking about the Sal & Mookie’s pizza eating contest.) We mention all of these things to say it was a diverse and wonderful weekend. And we mean that in so many ways.

All throughout the weekend, we found young and old, black and white, gay and straight and rich and poor – all sharing a street corner to hear The Bouffants and the Delta Mountain Boys. We witnessed countless occasions of random acts of kindness: a spectator who answered the call from the stage to run an errand or make sure something was done. People pitched in – and in major ways. YOU gave, and gave generously, to help the children of Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital. We can’t wait to share a final total with you, but we can already say it is a gift from the heart that we will present to these children and their families very soon – on your behalf. As THE Sweet Potato Queen herself would tell you, it was “all for the chirren” and the weekend began and ended with that in mind.

Whether you bought raffle tickets for a ride on the Clydesdale wagon (congrats Kresty and Nancy!) or took a chance on winning a Patty Peck Honda Civic (Yay, Judy!), you spent your hard earned dollars to make Batson a better place. But you did more than that.

You came here – and you made Jackson a better place. Just your being in our capital city makes us smile. We like to think we have something very special in Jackson and it’s something you have to find for yourself. We can tell you over and over that you should visit, but when you do, you fall in love with this infectious place.

The Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend further illustrates that we so much to offer our state – our world – that is worth your time, your money and your attention. Fondren is a major player in Jackson’s renaissance and we were thrilled to help you discover a taste of what we have to offer. We hope you felt as special as in your experience as we felt in bringing it to you. Our shops and restaurants enthusiastically planned for your visit and, as we heard many times over the weekend, our hospitality was apparent to you.

What’s we’ve found is that “working together works.” As our organizations and businesses planned for this weekend, we pulled ideas and suggestions from last year to make this an even better second year. We hope you saw the fruits of months of planning and many sleepless hours of execution in the concerts, carnivals, luncheons, signings, sales, promotions and the parade.

Our hats are off to the Zippity Doo Dah® committee, Fondren Renaissance Foundation, Fondren Association of Businesses and the many sponsors who made the weekend happen. While others try to create community in the planning rooms, we continue to build a strong one, one decision after another, every day.

Zippity Doo Dah® 2013 is already on the calendars for March 21-24, 2013. We hope you will enthusiastically find a place on your calendars and plan to join us next year. Better yet, don’t wait until then to come back to Fondren.  Week in and week out, we roll out the red carpet for you, welcoming, inviting and waiting to show you more of what we have to offer.

Our businesses thank you – and we thank you. We hope you will always say that you ‘find it in Fondren.’