Meridian, Miss. After a long awaited five years, the 48th Annual National Council of Meridianites Picnic and Convention is headed back to Meridian. The picnic travels the country each year with roots that date all the way back to the 60s.
"The National Council of Meridianites is a national organization that started in 1964 with people who are from Meridian in the Detroit area," Meridianites Picnic, Co-Chair Otis Gowdy, Jr. says. "They started have family gatherings based off of a funeral that they went to of someone who was from the area."
Just what is a Meridianite? The Council of Organizations defines it as anyone who has ties to Meridian.
"A Meridianite is a person who passed through Meridian one time," Meridianites Picnic, Co-Chair Mable Oatis says. "A Meridianite is a person who worked in Meridian. We want everybody to know they are welcome. There is no such thing as anyone will be excluded."
The picnic will feature many twists this year as a concert will be held in downtown Meridian at Dumont Plaza, a free health fair with numerous free health screenings and the usual picnic full of family and class reunions held in Highland Park this weekend. Although the picnic begins this weekend, the celebration has been going on for almost a year.
"This picnic has been good because we started celebrating this picnic officially last year at our heritage brunch in August," said Otis. "The idea was to really and truly get Meridian, the people who live in the city of Meridian and the Lauderdale County areas to start celebrating now."
By the end of the event, 5,000 people are expecteed to come to the Queen City.