MEADVILLE — Country music legends Marty Stuart and Ronnie McDowell will headline this year’s Homochitto River Festival, which features three stages with 20 musical acts plus lots of activities.
The festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 26, in downtown Meadville.
“The Homochitto River Festival takes great pride in presenting such a large and diverse group of talent appearing in Franklin County and Meadville, and in southwest Mississippi,” said entertainment chairman Larry Wallace. “Country, blues, easy listening, Americana, gospel, bluegrass, R&B and soul music will be professionally presented on our south, east and west stages. National, regional, state and local musicians will appear.”
Limited seating will be available at each stage, so spectators are advised to bring folding chairs.
Activities include a kayak/canoe race and foot race, girls’ beauty pageant, cooking contest, magic show, pet events and more.
“Above all, the Homochitto River Festival in downtown Meadville is a festival of music,” said Mayor Lane Reed. “It is the only musical event in Southwest Mississippi to boast three stages of music with no entry fee.”
The east and west stages have been enlarged this year and will feature music all day. The south stage is new and will have music, the Little Miss Homochitto Pageant and two magic shows.
The Franklin County Chess Center will put on a chess exhibition from 10 a.m. to noon on North Oak Street featuring a grandmaster and student alternating moves while playing multiple games against festival attendees.
The cookoff has expanded with additional categories, and the kids area has new activities on the courthouse lawn.
There will be a trunk-or-treat and parade of pets in which anyone may enter their pet.
The Franklin County Library will host a local art exhibit, musical petting zoo for kids and a book signing for adults.
The vendor committee expects to have over 100 vendors in downtown Meadville.
“Food trucks will be aligned along the south side of Main Street,” Reed said. “Local restaurants will be open all day.”
Registration for all events can be handled online at homochittoriverfestival.org.
Reed noted that Ronnie McDowell has strong ties to both Elvis Presley and classic country music. And Marty Stuart, who hails from Philadelphia, Miss., “is a national treasure,” Reed said.
Stuart, who performs at 6 p.m., is a five-time Grammy-winner, platinum recording artist, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Americana Music Association, Grand Ole Opry star, country music archivist, photographer, musician and songwriter.
Since starting out singing gospel as a child, Stuart has spent over four decades celebrating American roots music. His teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the 1970s were followed by six years in Johnny Cash’s band in the ’80s and a chart-topping tenure as a solo artist in the ’90s.
Stuart hosts RFD-TV’s “The Marty Stuart Show,” which began airing in 2008 sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Tourism. Each episode features music by Stuart and his band, The Fabulous Superlatives, as well as his wife, Connie Smith, old-time banjo-picker Leroy Troy and various guests.
Stuart was also one of the main commentators on Ken Burns’ recent “History of Country Music” on public television.
McDowell, who performs at 4 p.m., charted a string of hit singles and albums for Epic Records between 1979 and 1986. Every release with the exception of one became a Top 10 hit, including “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation.” Other hits during his Epic years included “Watchin’ Girls Go By,” “Personally,” “You Made A Wanted Man of Me,” “All Tied Up” and “In A New York Minute.”
Moving to Curb Records in 1986, his current label , McDowell scored a Top 10 hit with “It’s Only Make Believe,” a duet with Conway Twitty. He recorded another Top 10 hit with his version of the pop standard “Unchained Melody,” which also became a No. 1 country music video.
He toured with artists such as Twitty, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn before headlining his own shows.
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• 7 a.m.: Culinary explosion cookoff check-in; tasting at 1 p.m. Cajun, BBQ and Soul categories. $500 cash prize; $25 entry fee
• 8 a.m.: Homochitto River Kayak/Canoe Race and 5K Run (Camp Ridge Point, 710 Homochitto Campout Road SE, Meadville); registration at 7 a.m.; $25 for one race, $40 for both (www.franklincountynow.org/product/river-race-fee)
• 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Booths open
• 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Library art exhibit, book sale, book signing (Jarvis King’s “Ya’ll Ain’t Gonna Believe This: Southern Short Stories with Mississippi Flavor”)
• 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Magic show
• 10: Pet parade
• 10 a.m. to noon: Chess exhibition, Oak Street
• 11 a.m.: Kids jumpers and play area
• Noon to 2 p.m.: Musical petting zoo at library
• 4:30: Trunk-or-treat
• 8:30 a.m.: New Grace
• 9:25: Answered Prayer Gospel Band
• 10:20: The Trustys of Davo Crossing
• 11:15: Southern Rain
• Noon: Race winners announced
• 12:10 p.m.: King Edward
• 1:05: Big Jeff Nunnery Band
• 2: Hannah Belle
• 2:55: REB — Ralph, Earl and Bart
• 4: Ronnie McDowell
• 6: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
• 9:00 a.m.: Johnny Wayne Dillon & Friends
• 10:00: Brothers in Christ
• 11:00: Young Duncan Band
• Noon: Blake Bullion
• 1 p.m.: Brooks Derryberry & Becky Morris
• 2: Sherman Lee Dillon
• 3: Wright Cousins Band
• 4: Brian Barfoot
• 8:30 a.m.: Landmark Praise Singers
• 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Magic show
• 10 a.m. to noon: Little Miss Homochitto River Pageant for sixth grade and below (call 601-384-6589)
• 1 p.m.: Jerry J. Moon