Arts, JRMF Talent Showcased

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One of the biggest attractions to the Meridian area is the annual Arts in the Park Festival, and the weather definitely cooperated this year.

Highland Park saw droves of people bright and early. The festival drew artists from all over the southern United States to Meridian to showcase their artwork.

"I have had a good response. The crowds have been good and sales are steady," said Yvonne Brown, an artist from Biloxi.

Sponsored by the Meridian Council for the Arts, the two-day event brings thousands of people to Meridian.

From jewelry to pottery, from pictures to glass hanging art, you could find it all.

"I love art and different types of jewelry and painting and stuff like that. I get a thrill," said Anderson Nash.

"I needed a chance to make some money and I thought it was a great place to do it," said local artist Katy Iverson.

Another attraction to the event is Jimmie Rodgers Talent Competition held in conjunction with the festival.

"Three years ago, we combined the talent contest show with Arts in the Park to collaborate with another agency, to provide better entertainment in our community," said Jimmie Rodgers Festival organizer Betty Lou Jones.

The first kickoff event for the 2005 festival, the youth talent contest,
featured thirty young singers in the ages 3-17 division. An adult category and gospel category are also part of the remembrance of
The Father of Country Music, Meridian's own Jimmie Rodgers.

The overall winner in the youth competition was Bailey Viverette of Union.

The winning act in the adult competition was a duet, the team of Cary Lane and Kimberly Gayle, both of Deer Park.

WTOK-TV is a title sponsor of the Jimmie Rodgers Festival.