By Terry Harpole
For the WPT
MATHISTON — Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” but this is not what the people of Mathiston did Saturday.
After only six short weeks of planning, the first-ever Mathiston Muscadine Festival was held at the former Red Kap parking lot on U.S. 82 west of Mathiston.
The number of people who came to the festival was unknown, but Mathiston Town Marshal Roger Miller, who was on duty, said, “There have been lots of people come through here today.”
The festival was sponsored by the Mathiston Development and Support Council, which comprises Judge Jerry Jones, Lavelle McAlpin, Ashleigh Flora, Gary and Janice Gardner, and Robert Huffman. The committee decided to come up with a plan to bring people into town and raise needed funds for a memorial to be placed in the town park honoring 18 men from Mathiston, who died in wars. The monument is in the process of construction.
The name muscadine used for the festival, which is in the planning to be held each year, came to be used because of the many muscadines grown in the area. By much advertising and word of mouth by the council and the people of Mathiston, the day was a big success.
Thirty-two vendors were on the grounds selling their crafts and foods. The festival included an antique car show that was the project of the Rev. Michael Mann from Guntown and the Mathiston Church of God, which he pastors.
This was a day for the whole family to come and enjoy, as many activities were available for children, including an inflatable slide and other things. Many music groups and individual musicians were on hand all day for entertainment, which everyone enjoyed.
Near the end of the day, the name of a winner was drawn for the items in the tasting booth, which Mrs. Gardner and others manned. Local people had prepared food items such as muscadine cobblers, jellies, potato breads and other things for the tasting booth.
People came by the tasting booth and paid only $1 to sample each item and then voted on their choice. Winners were chosen from the items brought, and one of the winners just happened to be Jones. One of his awards was for his muscadine cobbler, which he is known for.
All proceeds from the tasting booth and vendor booth rental space, and other monies taken that day will be used to build the Mathiston Veterans Monument.
For people who missed the festival, and wish to do so, contributions for the memorial may be mailed to Mathiston Development & Support Council, P.O. Box 160 Mathiston, MS 39752-0160.