2016 Summer Festival Guide
Hit the road for food, fun and freedom this summer at nine of the South’s hottest festivals
Mize, MS • August 5-6
Photos courtesy of Zandra Walker
Watermelon is a way of life in the South-even moreso in nearby Mize, Mississippi, the home of the yearly Watermelon Carnival. This family-friendly affair includes a car show, crafts vendors and plenty of food. And speaking of food, guests are treated to all the watermelon they can eat upon entering the park. For those with a competitive streak, this year’s festival features Watermelon Eating, Seed Spitting and Biggest Watermelon contests. Live music for the 38th annual event includes hit music from acts like Exile and Darryl Worley.
Corinth, MS • July 7-9
Photos Courtesy of Corinth Main Street
This yearly festival celebrates Corinth, Mississippi’s claim to fame — the Slugburger, a deep-fried pork and beef burger that has been hailed as a Southern-fried favorite since its creation in the 1950s. The eponymous Southern delicacy that gave the festival its namesake was originally created to stretch the thin meat supply using meal and grain, but has since become a regional favorite for folks like Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, who earned his place as the Slugburger eating grand champion in 2014 after consuming 43 in just 10 minutes. Other attractions include live musical entertainment, carnival games and rides, dozens of craft vendors and a “Slug Idol” singing contest.
Choctaw Indian Fair
Choctaw, MS • July 13-16
Photos courtesy of Fred Willis
The 67th annual Choctaw Indian Fair in Choctaw, Mississippi, celebrates the heritage and homeland of one of Mississippi’s oldest native people. Visitors will experience the cultural journey of the Choctaw through historical displays, social dancing, tribal arts and crafts and Choctaw stickball — a pastime known to some as “the granddaddy of all field sports.” This year’s theme is “The Choctaw Spirit Lives On.” Other attractions include the Choctaw Indian Princess Pageant, carnival rides, live music, and a taste of traditional Choctaw food.
Biloxi Seafood Festival
Biloxi, MS • September 10-11
Photos courtesy of Rachael Seymour
Biloxi Seafood Festival is a celebration of the coastal heritage of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This two-day festival features live entertainment, activities for kids, arts and craft vendors and, of course, plenty of seafood. Now in its 35th year, the annual festival boasts plenty of fresh shrimp, oysters and crawfish. This year’s festivities include the Gumbo Championship, a local favorite. For an additional afee, visitors can sample gumbo from professional and amateur competitors and choose a favorite for the Peoples’ Choice Award.
North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic
Waterford, MS • June 23-25
Photos by Candise Kola
This two-day event celebrates the music made great by hill country aficionados like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Otha Turner, among others. This year’s lineup includes local favorites like Luther Dickinson, Jimbo Mathus, Little Joe Ayers, and Rev. John Wilkins. In addition to a variety of food vendors and an Artists' Village, visitors are invited to participate in harmonica and guitar workshops taught by great performers like Garry Burnside, David Kimbrough, Jr. and Watermelon Slim.
Mid-South Renaissance Faire
Memphis, TN • August 20-21, 27-28
Photos by RB Macdonald Studios
Jousting, jesters, and the Queen of England reign supreme in this four-day trip back in time spread across two weekends that transform Memphis’ Shelby Farms Park into “Shelby Shire”. Guests are invited to laugh with the fools, pillage with pirates, learn traditional Elizabethan dances and spectate jousting matches. This year’ theme celebrates the reign of Queen Elizabeth I with period-authentic clothing, food and a chance to be ceremonially knighted by the Queen herself.
Bike Nights in Blues Alley
Holly Springs, MS • June 30 – September 1
Photos by Grace Bonds
Every Thursday night this summer, the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber will block off the Historic Square for a flood of bikes, food trucks and live music. This free event is open to the entire community and beyond. This year’s musical selection will showcase local favorites like Kenny Brown and 2016 Grammy Nominee and Marshall county native, Cedric Burnside. Other performers include Lightnin’ Malcolm, The Blues Doctors, Young Petty Thieves, Don McMinn, and more.
Hill Country Freedom Fest
New Albany, MS • June 25
Photos courtesy of Sean Johnson
Summertime in New Albany, Mississippi, brings a smorgasbord of events and entertainment, beginning with the Levitt AMP New Albany Summer Concert Series in early June leading up to the annual Freedom Fest, which celebrates American heritage against the banks of the Tallahatchie River. Visitors can check out arts and crafts at the makers market, view a riverside fireworks show or take in some free musical entertainment courtesy of Confederate Railroad.
Cookeville, TN – September 2-5
Photos by Cody Hilder
The Muddy Roots is a big, stomping, musical good time with an overarching objective of fueling a nationwide roots music revival. Blues, bluegrass, rockabilly and punk combine and swirl in this eclectic three-day festival, which is held on the June Bug Boogie Ranch in Cookeville, Tennessee. Visitors are invited to camp out on the grounds to enjoy the pleasant sights and booming sounds of this year’s lineup, which includes The Melvins, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Trixie Trainwreck, Julian Davis, and dozens more.