Tourism superstar: Hunt praised in new ‘Real Tennessee Stories’

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Jenny Hunt, mayor of Bell Buckle, is being portrayed as one of the faces of Tennessee tourism through an online state campaign called Real Tennessee Stories.
Photo by Lisa Sceminca

Bell Buckle Mayor Jenny Hunt is officially one of the stars of Tennessee's tourism industry.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will feature Hunt and six others on its website,, and Facebook page starting Thursday, said Jill Kilgore, public relations media manager. Some of the features are available online at

Good for town

"I really and truly hate tooting my own horn, but this is a big deal and subsequently is good for Bell Buckle," Hunt said. "I'm extraordinarily honored."

The campaign is called Real Tennessee Stories. Each department in state government is profiling "Tennesseans who provide critical, often overlooked, public services to their fellow citizens," a tourism department press release said. "The campaign is a collaborative effort extending across state government."

The campaign hashtag is #servingTN.

"Walking through Bell Buckle is like taking a step back to a simpler time and Mayor Hunt fights to keep it that way #servingTN," Kilgore said. "Mayor Hunt ferociously protects the historic character and small town charm, spearheads passion projects like the Bell Buckle Park, while encouraging tourism while controlling growth."

State help

The tourism department helps the town with its RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival and funded the town's television tourism ads with a grant, the press release said.

Hunt said her story will include details on how she started serving the Town of Bell Buckle through the park.

"That is where my heart is," she said of the park. "I hope when I'm dead and gone I won't be remembered for water and sewer but the park."

Hunt's service also includes the town chamber of commerce and historic preservation.

"You see what's important and you address them," she said.