By J. Lynn West
It’s once again time for the annual Tallahatchie RiverFest, a free two-day event produced by the Union County Development Association including a variety of entertainment arts, crafts and other events. RiverFest will again be held on the city parking lot by the library and the surrounding area. Some related events will still be elsewhere, in the locations they have used in years past.
The musical focus of this year’s RiverFest is again on country. Wisconsin country star Josh Thompson, whose latest single, “Cold Beer with Your Name on It,” is seeing strong airplay, will headline the festival Saturday night. Going on before him will be Mississippi native Skylar Laine, familiar to many for her appearances on American Idol.
Topping the line-up Friday night will be the popular Brian Randle and Southern Justice. Randle, from the Blue Springs area, was a popular performer last year.
The festival will begin at noon Friday, Sept. 20, with the William Faulkner Literary Luncheon. Mississippi writer Neil White will be guest speaker and awards will be presented in the annual Faulkner novel, short story and one-act-play writing contests.
The festival will move to the parking lot between King Street and Carter Avenue that evening for music starting at 6 p.m. “Reckless” will open, followed by “Legends of the Blues,” then “Bonfire Orchestra” followed by Brian Randle.
Saturday events begin with the annual BNA Bank Tallahatchie RiverRun, with signup in front of the bank and on the courthouse lawn. The half-mile fun run starts at 8 a.m. and the 5K again begins on the west end of the Tallahatchie River Bridge at 8:30. New this will be a one-mile run for youngsters in co-sponsorship with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County to help promote healthy lifestyles.
Back at the parking lot, vendors will open at 9 a.m. and the children’s area, with a variety of activities, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At about 11 a.m., judging will be done at the Smoke on the Water Barbecue Contest, held in the Park Along the River. Although new this past year, the event drew good participation and is expected to grow more this year. UCDA Executive Director Phil Nanney said a few slots are still open for the barbecue contest and reminds entrants that the barbecue must be cooked on site.
At noon, before the music starts, a new event will be a donut-eating contest sponsored by Daylight Donuts. Prizes will be awarded and entry forms are available at Daylight Donuts and the UCDA office in the old post office.
Music will begin on the main stage at 1 p.m. with “Eric Nanney and 20 Mile.” They will be followed by The Mink Brothers, Mitch Lankin, “Allison’s Rage” and “Mississippi Moon.
Skylar Laine will perform at 7:15 p.m. and Josh Thompson will take the stage at 8:30 p.m.
One lucky person will be able to watch the concert from a front-row seat on a new sofa. Rusty Berryhill of Kevin Charles Furniture is again donating a sofa to be given away for “The Best Seat in the House.” Go to the hospitality booth to register for the sofa drawing; entrants must be 18 or older.
A variety of other activities will be going on at the same time as the festival, including New Albany Main Street’s “Paint the Town” at the Magnolia Civic Center and the Tallahatchie Arts Council’s Rock Bottom River Run, which is a motorcycle poker run to raise money for the organization.
Tallahatchie RiverFest 2013 Schedule of Events
Friday, Sept. 20
Noon Literary Luncheon
6:00 p.m. Reckless
7:00 p.m. Legends of the Blues
8:00 p.m. Bonfire Orchestra
9:00 p.m. Brian Randle and Southern Justice
Saturday, Sept. 21
5:00 a.m. Arts and Crafts Vendors Load-In
8:00 a.m. BNA Bank Fun Run (followed by 1-mile and 5K at 8:30)
9:00 a.m. Booths open
10:00 a.m. Children’s Area opens (open until 2:00 p.m.)
Noon Donut-Eating Contest (Sponsored by Daylight Donuts)
1:00 p.m. Eric Nanney and 20 Mile
2:00 p.m. The Mink Brothers
3:00 p.m. Mitch Lankin
4:00 p.m. Allison’s Rage
5:00 p.m. Break for Vendor load-out
6:00 p.m. Mississippi Moon
7:15 p.m. Skylar Laine
8:30 p.m. Josh Thompson