Porter hopes to bring ‘largest expo in South’ to Natchez Convention Center

Published 2:45 pm Sunday, April 15, 2007

Big plans are in store for the Natchez Convention Center toward summer’s end, as Mark “Country Boy” Porter and the First Natchez Radio Group get ready to present the Great Southern Outdoors Expo Aug. 31-Sept. 1.

Porter said he has big plans for the expo that include hosting some of the biggest names in the hunting world.

“It’s going to be a big ordeal,” he said. “In the next couple of years, it could grow into the largest expo in the South.”

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Porter said this event is not to be confused with outdoor expo that was put on at the convention center by the Friends of St. Catherine Creek Refuge. He said this event is completely different, and is expected to grow.

So far no names have been released because Porter and First Natchez Radio Group are still in the preliminary booking process, but they have begun working with the city to promote the event.

“We are trying to drive up tourism for Natchez,” Porter said.

Along with having some of hunting’s biggest names on hand at the expo, the event will also have an archery competition, activities for the kids, as well as vendors, food and beer sales.

Porter said space is still available for venders, and those interested should contact him or Rene Adams at 601-442-4895 or visit www.thegreatsouthernoutdoors.com.

The expo will wrap up Saturday night with a concert in the convention center auditorium. Porter and his band will perform first and will be followed by Jo-El Sonnier and Daryle Singletary.

Sonnier has been nominated for a Grammy for “Best Traditional Folk Album,” and was also named “Male vocalist of 1999” and won “1999 Song of the Year” at the Golden Music Awards.

Singletary hit the country scene in the mid-1990s, releasing two hit singles in “I Let Her Lie,” and “Too Much Fun.” His latest CD was released this year, and is entitled Straight from the Heart.

“The concert is a done deal and is booked,” Porter said. “This is a big ordeal. We are putting a lot of money in it, and we want it to be a huge success.”

Along with the first ever Great Southern Outdoors Expo, Porter said he also gearing up for Country Boy’s Mud Mania 2007, which will be held June 9. Mud Mania is a truck race on an off road track. It is described on its Web site, www.mudmania2007.com, as the “biggest redneck party on earth.”