Okra, corn and peas make first festival a success at Natchez Market Place

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 22, 2001

Okra, corn and peas!

The combination of vegetables made for a successful day Saturday at the Main Street Market Place in Natchez.

During the first-ever Okra, Corn and Pea Festival, marketplace manager Pat Bacon said the turnout and sales were better than they expected.

&uot;It’s been a great day,&uot; she said.

By 8:15 a.m., a crowd of people already had gathered at the marketplace, she said.

She estimated that the merchants sold about eight 50-pound sacks of peas, 200 pounds of okra and eight bushels of corn – all grown in nearby Mississippi counties.

&uot;It was better than expected,&uot; Bacon said.

About 175 to 200 people attended the festival, which included a game of &uot;hot corn&uot; for about 10 young people.

The game is like &uot;hot potato,&uot; but played with an ear of corn, Bacon said.

Ella Henderson, one of several cooks at the Main Street Market place, sold about 50 plates of food Saturday – a record for the regular meals they sell there.

&uot;It’s the first time we sold out of everything,&uot; she said.

The meal included meat items but vegetables were the big sellers Saturday.

&uot;Today people bought a lot of vegetables,&uot; she said, grinning.

These included all the foods featured at the festival, such as cornbread and fried corn along with squash and tomatoes.

On a normal day, the cooks usually sell about 15 to 20 plates, Henderson said.