International Conference on the Blues • October 1-3, 2017
Smithsonian Magazine ranked Cleveland the second-best small town in the U.S. to visit.
Cleveland, Mississippi, a town of approximately 13,000 citizens, is the agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, medical, and educational center of Bolivar County and the Central Mississippi Delta. The Mississippi Delta is a crescent- shaped, largely agricultural region situated on the Mississippi River, in the north- west corner of the state of Mississippi. It is home to some of the most fertile soil in the world, and is a world leader in farming such crops as cotton, rice, soybeans, and corn. In addition, the Mississippi Delta is rapidly developing its cultural tourism possibilities, which is centered around the Delta’s rich literary heritage, its historic role in developing Blues and other forms of American music, and its pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement.” Cleveland is widely known as the “Crossroads of Culture in the Delta.”
In 2013, Smithsonian magazine ranked Cleveland the second-best U.S. small town to visit, noting its concentration of museums, art galleries, performing arts venues, and historic sites, and its Delta Blues heritage, with Cleveland being part of the“Cradle of American Music” along U.S. Highway 61. [Bear Pen Park in Cleveland, Mississippi] Delta State University’s many artistic, cultural, economic, and community out- reach entities include performing arts complexes, development centers, academic facilities, and public venues, which, in concert with Cleveland’s cultural attractions such as the restored Ellis Theater and the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum, provide a wide range of cultural attractions. Cleveland is also home to the annual Crosstie Arts and Jazz Festival and the Delta’s largest Octoberfest. In addition, Cleveland’s recreational facilities are exceptional, with Delta State’s state-of-the-art, Olympics-style Aquatics Center, as well as multiple municipal parks, walking trails, ball fields, golf courses, and tennis courts. Complementing a wide variety of public, family-friendly recreational opportunities are Delta State University’s athletics programs, with many regional and national titles across a range of women’s and men’s sports. In every area of civic life, city officials, the Cleveland-Bolivar Chamber of Commerce, and Delta State University work in unison to continue Cleveland’s growth and development.