Community attends Markets show

Published 12:04 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Addison Adams gets a taste of sausage during the Markets Food and Lifestyle show Saturday afternoon at the Vidalia Convention Center.

VIDALIA — Hoards of people made a lap or two around booths stocked with chips, ice cream, sausage and more at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center Saturday for the Markets Food and Lifestyle Show.

The 12th-annual show gave grocery shoppers an opportunity to sample items carried in The Markets before checking out a package of the product at the grocery, The Markets co-owner and director of retail operations Barry Loy said.

Meg Freeman of Natchez said she stashed an empty bag of the Golden Flake jalapeño-flavored potato chips, so she can remember the label next time she shops.

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Freeman’s friend, Lea Ann Mingee, said her son won the food show’s grand prize a few years ago, which is a year of free groceries.

“(The chance to win the prize) was a good incentive to bring me back,” Mingee said.

Mingee’s niece, who attended the show with Mingee, sported a Redd Pest Indian feather headband, which the pest control company distributed to her and dozens of other children who wore them as they grabbed samples.

Mingee said she enjoyed tasting samples and collecting free trinkets, such as chip clips, pencils and magnetic grocery list writing pads.

“I have several coupons and all kinds of knick knacks,” she said.

Mingee said she hoped to come back Sunday with her mother and sister.

Loy said he thought the turnout Saturday was better than previous years.

The Vidalia convention center staff did a great job getting ready for the event in the middle of cleaning up from the flood, Loy said.

Loy’s father and The Markets owner, Harley, said the event was a good opportunity to get the community together and mingle with the vendors.

“I’ve seen lots of (people) I’ve known for 40 years,” Harley said.

Tangea Anderson said her five children ages 1 to 11 always enjoy the food show.

Her son, Lafayette Anderson, 10, bragged to his mother and siblings about the piece of pizza he scored.

Lafayette’s favorite samples Saturday were ice cream sandwiches and sausage, he said.

Tangea, Mingee and Freeman said they skipped lunch Saturday in preparation of filling up on samples.

Barry Loy said the event demonstrates The Markets commitment to community service. But he suspected the heat outdoors and air conditioning inside might have had much to do with the great turnout.

“Nobody wants to do anything outside,” he said.