The 2019 Tallahatchie Riverfest is around the corner, and its committee has been busy planning a weekend of fun. Thursday, September 26th kicks off with the Union County Heritage Museum’s Faulkner Literary Luncheon. This year’s guest speaker is Joe Crespino, historian and author of ATTICUS FINCH. Later, the New Albany Garden Club will host An Evening of Blues in the Faulkner Garden. The Faulkner Garden at the Union County Heritage Museum will be the backdrop for live music from GMC (General Musician’s Club), art with Katie Sappington, and appetizers and drinks catered by Tallahatchie Gourmet.
On Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, New Albany and Ripley Main Street programs will join forces to create unique events that celebrate the rich history of two resident Fa(u)lkners. William Cuthbert Faulkner of New Albany, and his great grandfather, Colonel William Clark Falkner of Ripley.
“For this year’s Tallahatchie Riverfest our goal was to incorporate events specific to New Albany’s native storyteller William Faulkner”, Billye Jean Stroud, Community Development and Main Street Director. “Through a grant from the Hills Heritage Area Alliance, we are excited to be bringing in Mississippi Arts Commission artists, Pat Carreras and Rebecca Jernigan, for storytelling workshops at the New Albany and Ripley middle schools.”
Friday evening will showcase a storytelling competition and dinner at Ripley Sports Grill. Dinner, drinks, some good ole storytelling, and Fa(u)lkner fun are in store for guests. Saturday morning’s featured events are a tour of historic downtown Ripley, a cemetery walk, light lunch, and a bourbon tasting at Silver Springs Wine & Spirits. Barkley Travel buses have been reserved to transport folks from New Albany to Ripley and back for Friday and Saturday’s events.
Saturday morning in New Albany will kick off with the 30th BNA Bank Tallahatchie RiverRun at 8am. Once the runners clear Bankhead Street, Arts Market and Marketplace vendors will begin setting up for a 10am-3pm street market through the historic downtown shopping district. Dress Your Pet Contest and Parade sponsored by the Union County Humane Society, HOOPFEST sponsored by Perkins Dental and Kohl’s Cares, Friends & Family Play All Day at the farmers’ market, sponsored by Rutledge Davis PLLC, Super Saver Drugs, and Creekmore Clinic, with a Main Street Midway sponsored by Eaton, Babb, Smith, Fidelity National Loans. Main Street Linen Company, and New Albany Health and Rehab are events that will be going on throughout the day.
New Albany Friends & Family Play All Day is an event that will be held at the city’s farmers’ market area at Bankhead and Main Streets. There will be bounce houses, pony rides, games, and more! Wrist bands are $10 and allow the wearer access to the Play All Day area on Friday, September 27, 5-10pm or Saturday, September 28, 11am-10pm.
“We hope everyone will join us for this long loved tradition of Faulkner and fun”, noted said Tracy Vainisi, “It will be a great time for anyone who loves literature, art, and music.”
Saturday’s concert at the Riverview Stage, sponsored by Imperial Trading, Metal Impact, and Toyota will start with Tombigbee Divide. The featured headliner is husband-and-wife duo Keifer and Shawna Thompson, Thompson Square. This dynamic duo have been awarded two time ACM “Vocal Duo of the Year”, CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, CMT Music Awards “Duo Video of the Year”; two time Grammy-nominated “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Country Song” for “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”.
Opening for Thompson Square is Tennessee native Natalie Stovall, powerhouse vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, who has been playing professionally since she was ten. Considered to be a fiddle phenom, Natalie made her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 12, and has performed everywhere from the White House to The Oprah Winfrey Show and was named one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country’ and was recently awarded “Best Female Artist” and “Best Music Artist” by Campus Activities Magazine.
There is a lot going on for this year’s Tallahatchie Riverfest weekend. If you need more information, tickets to any of the Faulkner events, wrist bands for the New Albany Friends & Family Play All Day, you can email email@example.com to or contact Billye Jean Stroud at (662) 534-3438.
-Tracy Vainisi, New Albany Main Street