As a teacher, I dread the beginning of school because of the whirlwind craziness. Thank goodness it only lasts for a couple of weeks. Then I'm in my routine, and everything is much more relaxed. On the plus side, I get so excited to know that fall—my favorite season—is just around the corner. And just like football, this is also the time of year when some great festivals happen. Get your calendars and Sharpies out, and start marking yours like I have mine.
Sept. 9 through Sept. 11 is the 20th Annual CelticFest, held at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. This year will be my first year in attendance (sad, ain't it?). I cannot wait for all the activities and music that are on the schedule for the weekend. I'm looking forward to getting my "Irish" to soothe my Mal's St. Paddy's Parade hankering I've had since the parade ended in March. To see what the Celtic Heritage Society has planned this year, visit celticfestms.org.
If Irish isn't your thing, head over to Pelahatchie Sept. 10 for the Muscadine Festival, featuring bluegrass badass Ricky Skaggs performing at 3 p.m.
For blues lovers who love road trips and music festivals like I do, head on up to Greenville for the 34th Annual Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival Sept. 17 with Willie Clayton, Bobby Rush, Grady Champion, Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots, plus many more acts. For the festival schedule, go to deltablues.org.
Attend this year's WellsFest Sept. 24, hosted by Wells Memorial United Methodist Church. The music lineup is always stellar, and I'm sure Raphael Semmes, WellsFest music coordinator, will not disappoint. This year's festival benefits The Mustard Seed, a local nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities engage in the arts, such as pottery and music. Visit wellsfest.org for more information.
Make a big circle on your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 1. The Town Creek Arts Festival at the Mississippi Museum of Art will host 40 artists and craftsmen from the Magnolia State to show off their masterpieces. The new Art Garden stage will feature "homegrown Mississippi musicians" throughout the day's festivities. For information, visit msmuseumart.org.
Two more events Oct. 1: Unity Mississippi hosts OUToberfest, which will have live music and speakers in Smith Park (downtown, across from the governor's mansion) from noon to 7 p.m.; take a trip to downtown Hazlehurst for the Rockin' Railroad Festival featuring blues man James "Super Chikan" Johnson. If you go, check out the birthplace of our state's most famous blues man, Robert Johnson.
With fall comes the Mississippi State Fair Oct. 5 to 16 at the Mississippi Fairgrounds on High Street. I have already started my countdown for fair food and music. The Oak Ridge Boys, Corey Smith, 3 Doors Down with Theory of a Deadman and Pop Evil, as well as many other acts perform this year.
Head to downtown Meridian Oct. 8 for the 59Twenty Music Festival, featuring North Mississippi Allstars, Sonny Landreth, Cary Hudson and Wes Lee, just to name a few.
Local filmmaker and weatherman Edward St. Pé puts on the Second Annual Mississippi International Film Festival at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium Oct. 21 through 23, which will not only celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders with the movie "Freedom Song," but will also turn Jackson into an Elvis Presley Fan Club with a 50th anniversary screening of Elvis' movie "Blue Hawaii" and the rockabilly music movement. Check out http://www.mississippifilmfest.com for the lineup of movies and bands playing.
Have a great week, and if you see me out and about, please say hello!