One-hundred-and-twenty diners enjoyed a unique al fresco meal Friday night on the Tallahatchie Bridge in New Albany. Not the one in Bobbie Gentry’s iconic song, but the bridge over the Tallahatchie River in the Park-Along-the-River.
It was the first ever Farm to Table dinner, and was the kick-off event for the annual Down From the Hills Bluegrass Festival sponsored by the Union County Heritage Museum. Chef John Stokes of Oxford, with help from local businesses and many local volunteers, planned and served the meal, which featured foods harvested from nearby sources. The menu featured an onion and garlic rubbed bruschetta, a salad made of locally grown tomatoes and salt cured red onions, grilled quail served over delta grits, crispy hog jowl potato salad and succotash made of boiled peanuts and butter beans.
New Albany Master Gardeners helped procure ingredients for the meal. Popular New Albany caterer Tallahatchie Gourmet assisted with the event, and dessert provided by Sugarees Bakery of New Albany put a delicious final touch to the meal.
Down From the Hills is the bluegrass championship event for the state of Mississippi, and more than $8,000 in prizes will be awarded to competing musicians on Saturday.
Breakfast at the Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market will start the festival events Saturday morning. The bluegrass music competition will begin at the stage in the Park-Along-the-River starting at 10 a.m. The festival will have local arts, a petting zoo and other fun for the kids, as well as a variety of foods, including Bar-B-Q and shrimp/crawfish boil. and local arts.
The weekend festival will close out with a free concert by The Cakewalkers and the Eisehhauer Band on the stage at Park Along the River.