For more than 60 years,
a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is December 13, 2019

Homochitto River Festival

Headlining Marty Stewart and Ronnie McDowell - Meadville, Saturday, October 26

By Elissa Fulton

Homochitto River Festival

It’s an event that we are really proud of, and we are ready to show our town off to our visitors. -- Mayor Lane Reed

Many towns have community events and festivals that celebrate the culture and history of its people. For Franklin County, one of its attractions is the outdoors and the beautiful Scenic Rivers environment of southwest Mississippi. The town of Meadville began celebrating the Homochitto River region by hosting the Annual Homochitto River Festival — and according to Lane Reed, the town’s mayor, the festival was started by the Junior Women’s Club and has evolved into a popular event and tourist destination.

In recent years, the small community has had a revival of townspeople who have volunteered to take the festival up a notch and offer an event that will draw a crowd 20 times larger than the population of Meadville. As the event continues to grow each year, organizers are expecting nearly 10,000 attendees on their beautiful Main Street this October 26.

“This year, we have had a number of sponsors that have recognized that we are on solid footing with our third festival,” said Reed. “The Chamber of Commerce is our actual sponsor, but we’ve had so many people step up and put their money and their efforts behind this festival. It’s an event that we are really proud of, and we are ready to show our town off to our visitors.”

The Chamber of Commerce staff, who are all volunteers, along with Reed and many other community volunteers work year-round to host this special day in the City of Meadville. This year, the festival committee has upped their game with the headline entertainment, including Mississippian and multiple Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter Marty Stewart. Also headlining is country music artist Ronnie McDowell, who is best known for his 1977 song “The King Is Gone,” a tribute to the late Elvis Presley. There will also be local talent that will play on three stages throughout the day.

Other events are planned for the big day with activities that are sure to entertain the whole family. The town’s annual Trunk-or-Treat will begin at 4 p.m., and there will also be a Kid’s Zone for the little ones, as well as a beauty pageant. Arts and crafts and food vendors will line Main Street, and there are plans to include an Outdoor Alley for the avid sportsmen. There will even be a Pet Parade for the fur-babies of the family. For athletes, the Homochitto River Race will be held at Camp Ridge Point on the Homochitto River. Brad Jones, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of Franklin, said, “There will be a 1-mile fun run for kids, a 5k walk/run and a 5-mile canoe and kayak race down the river. You can do the run, the boat race or even the combo race.”

Also on the agenda is the Tandem Simultaneous Exhibition chess game that will be played near the Franklin Chess Center on Main Street. The center’s teacher, Ohio native Dr. Jeff Bulington, and Master Chess players will be competing in several matches concurrently. Franklin County was put on the map with a “60 Minutes” television episode spotlighting chess in this rural community being used as an extremely successful academic tool for young students.

Ashley Johnson, a local attorney, is chairing the festival’s annual Culinary Cook-Off. “Barbeque, Cajun and Soul food will be our three categories this year,” she said. “The taste-testing will begin at 1 p.m., and we will have five out-of-town judges. There will be prizes for the Judges’ Favorite, the Voters’ Choice Favorite and finally, an overall award that is a combination of the Judges and Voters’ Choice. We will only sell 100 tickets to the cook-off this year, and we are expecting nearly 50 teams.”

“This is really a big thing for our town,” added Reed of the festival. “I can’t say enough about our Board of Aldermen, our volunteers, local police/sheriff and fire departments, local businesses and sponsors. We couldn’t do any of this without them.”

Visit www.franklincountynow.org or call 601-384-2280 for more information.

Site designed by Marketing Alliance, Inc.