My friends, Keetha and Jeffrey, are festival junkies. So far this year, they have attended the Oxford Film Festival, the Italian Fest, the World Catfish Festival, and the Crosstie Festival. That, folks, is four weekends at some sort of festival – definite dedication to “festivaling.”
Recently, I have pondered Mississippi’s plethora of festivals and picked out a few favorites.
Gautier Mullet Festival: Named for ray-finned fish that live in the gulf.
For those who have no knowledge of fish (like myself), I thought this was a celebration of the most infamous hairstyle ever. I, of course, checked to see if famous mullet-sporters would be in attendance – Billy Ray Cyrus, every member of the band Alabama, Andre Agassi in his younger days.
I was wrong and seriously disappointed.
Wizard of Oz Festival: This festival is in Lucedale. My question: why?
Slugburger Festival: A slugburger is a deep-fried patty made of a beef mixture and soybean grits. I had a friend who went to this festival. When asked what a slugburger was like, he only had one word to describe it: “chewy.”
This makes me think of a giant food fight for some reason.
Wing Dang Doodle Festival: Forest’s celebration of “chicken and the blues.” What a great name! I don’t know how much one can celebrate poultry, but I am willing to try just to get a t-shirt.
Migration Discovery Festival: This is another festival in Gautier. The name sounds like a documentary on the Learning Channel. I would definitely not care for a t-shirt.
Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival: There is a great story behind this Starkville festival. While in Starkville for a concert, a very intoxicated Johnny Cash woke and decided to go pick flowers in the middle of the night – naked. He was arrested and spent the night in the Starkville City Jail.
Today, festivals honoring celebrity stupidity might be called Third Stint in Rehab Festival or the Quickie Vegas Wedding Festival. It just doesn’t have the same ring, huh?
Recently, I have come up with a few of my own festivals to truly celebrate the culture and quirks of Mississippi.
* Gravel Road Festival: A celebration of shocks.
* Disgusting Food Festival: A celebration of chitterlin’, frog legs, cracklin’, and boiled okra (slimy!).
* Gumbo Mud Festival: The slogan can be: “Better than Super Glue. It ain’t ever coming off.”
* House Fly Infestation Festival: Self-explanatory. Also, that plastic bag of water with a penny inside hanging over the doorway so does not work.
* Squashed Bug Coated Windshield Festival: Take a trip from Cleveland to Vicksburg, and then try to connect the dots.
* Festival of Festivals: A festival celebrating festivals in Mississippi. Exactly how many times can a face be painted?
Seriously, I love being a Mississippian. Where else will entire communities celebrate a watermelon, the juke joint, or the sweet gum tree? Relish in your individualism, Mississippi, and keep appreciating the little things that make a life in our fair state rich.