New Albany, Miss. – The Tallahatchie Riverfest, New Albany’s Arts, Music and Literary Festival will be changing venues for the arts market this year. In years past, the arts vending markets have been located on the courthouse grounds, the library parking lot and, as of last year, the middle of Bankhead Street. This year the market will be moved Farmers’ Market field adjacent to where the concert was held last year.
“There are a number of reasons for the move,” reports Sean Johnson, New Albany’s Tourism Director and organizer of the festival. “But the main reason is to keep the all the events in easy walking distance from one another. Last year we had the arts on the courthouse lawn and music and food at the other end of downtown by the river. While many did like it that way, we received an equal or greater number of complaints about the distance required to walk between events.”
The arts market will now be situated around the tree at the Farmers Market area. Organizers say that around 70 arts and crafts vendors will be on site.
The vending component of the festival this year is being managed by the Tallahatchie Arts Council. The arts council agreed to take over management of the vending component of the festival in return for the vending fees. The idea, according to Johnson, was to allow the arts council to help produce the festival and generate seed money with which they could produce other events.
According to Johnson, moving everything closer together will cut down on the production expenses incurred for multiple stages and musicians during the day and that savings will be parlayed into a fireworks show to end the festival with Paul Thorn’s celebrated encore, “Mission Temple Fireworks Stand”.
While downtown merchants enjoyed increased foot traffic last year because of the Bankhead Street set up, Johnson expects they will continue to have the traffic this year despite the actual booths being located on the riverside. “People will still be parking downtown and walking through town to the festival and a number of shops will be having large sidewalk sales that day, plus, Saturday will also see music at the Trailhead during the day, so we expect a full downtown.”
The festival begins on Friday night with the opening of the Community Ford Ferris Wheel and a hometown music showcase featuring the SpunkMonkees, Allison’s Rage and Cadillac Funk, all from Union County. Saturday morning begins with the BNA Tallahatchie River Run and then around mid-morning the market and kids activities (including pony rides at Park Along the River) will open up. Noon will have Music on the Trailhead downtown with various musicians, including The Eisenhauer Band, Paul Tate and others. The evening’s musical entertainment, featuring Paul Thorn, Raelyn Nelson and Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, will kick off around 6pm on the CSpire River Stage down by the river and a professional fireworks show will conclude the festival at around 10:30 pm.
“Fireworks, a Ferris Wheel, free concerts and arts on the banks of the Tallahatchie River? It’s going to be a great river fest,” says Johnson.
For more information on the festival, visit www.tallahatchieriverfest.com or find the festival page on Facebook for the latest updates.