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Charleston festival brings local music, art and food to residents

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Charleston, Miss., may be a viable option.

The Gateway to the Delta Festival is bringing local music, unique art and good food to Charleston’s historic town square.

This year’s band lineup features only artists based out of Mississippi. The bands all started in Mississippi and tour both state and nationwide.

“We thought that if you live in the birthplace of America’s music, why not showcase the diversity of high-quality music we have right here?” Cal Trout, chairman of this year’s event, said. “This year’s lineup is of Mississippi, by Mississippi, for Mississippi. We hope people from all over the area will come out to support the Gateway to the Delta Festival and take note of the authentic and original talent this state has to offer. It is going to be a really, really good time.”

The Oxford-based band Kudzu Kings will be performing the last set at 8 p.m.

Along with music, there will be around 60 art and food vendors set up for visitors.

Ed Meek, who The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media is named for, is also involved with the festival. Meek worked at the university for 37 years as the assistant vice chancellor for public relations and marketing and as an associate professor of journalism.

“Ed Meek is a native of Charleston and (has) been instrumental in working with us to expand the scope of the festival by providing resources, advice, promotion and an unparalleled optimism,” Trout said. “We are so happy that he has taken such an interest in his hometown’s well-being and growth.”

This year, the festival has taken on a “healthy living” platform. Events include the Healthy Delta 5K at 9 a.m. and a Healthiest Dish Award, which will be given out at 5:45 p.m.

The festival is also hosting the Tallahatchie Wellness Challenge, a weight-loss competition. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

“Given our bottom-tier rankings in health nationwide, we didn’t expect much of a response, but we had 170 people enter,” Trout said.

The SonEdna Foundation booth will present a healthy cooking demonstration by Josh Marks at 10 a.m. Marks was a finalist on the third season of the Fox TV show “MasterChef.”

Gates open at 9 a.m., and live music will play from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information on the event, visit http://charlestongatewayfestival.org.