Port Gibson Main Street Heritage Fest hits new heights

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2001

More funding has led to a bigger, better festival for 2001, said Cathi Dodgen of the annual Port Gibson Main Street Heritage Festival opening on Friday.

&uot;Our budget has increased by about $20,000, and we have enlarged our site to accommodate more musical stage areas and more booth spaces,&uot; said Dodgen, co-chairman of the ninth annual event.

&uot;We’ve received a $7,500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission, and our sponsors have been very generous,&uot; she said.

The fund-raising event, which assists the Main Street program in its economic development activities, has its biggest day on Saturday, said Dodgen, who also is Port Gibson’s city clerk.

That day begins at 8 a.m. with the Dilla Dash, a 5K walk/run winding through the residential areas of Port Gibson.

The day’s events continue with dealers across the region displaying their arts and crafts in 150 booths in the city’s downtown area.

&uot;And of course we’ll have our Mississippi Cultural Crossroads quilters with their wonderful display,&uot; Dodgen said.

&uot;We still have some booths available and would love for some more artists and craftsmen from Natchez to come,&uot; Dodgen said.

Products available for purusal and purchase will include such items as jewelry, furniture and plants.

Activities during the day will cater to guests of all ages and tastes, Dodgen said. Entertainment for children will include a clown, a moonwalk, pony rides, a petting zoo and a rock climbing wall. Young artists will perform on stage, as well, including choirs, dancers and bands.

&uot;We’ll have an African drummer who also makes African drums,&uot; she said. &uot;And we’ll have Star Indian Dancers from Philadelphia performing.&uot;

Foods of all kinds will be for sale, including sandwiches and barbecue; and a highlight of the day will be the Original Mississippi Venison Cook-off, with cooks vying for a top prize of $1,000.

For history buffs there will be guided tours of several historic sites in the Port Gibson area, including the Windsor ruins and the nearby historic Shaifer House. The tours are every hour on the hour beginning at 9 a.m. An additional historical event will be a living history enactment at Grand Gulf Military Park.

&uot;The festival will conclude on Sunday with gospel singing, a wonderful lineup of singers,&uot; Dodgen said. &uot;The arts grant has spurred us on. We’ve grown tremendously and have expanded from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. We’ll have a whole block of crafts demonstrators on Saturday, including a potter, quilters and the Alcorn University syrup-making team.&uot;

Other than a $3 admission to the musical performance area, the festival is free to the public, Dodgen said.

More details about the festival are available at the Web site, www.portgibsonmainstreet.com or by calling Dodgen at 601-437-4234 or the Main Street office at 601-437-4500.