The 2005 Jimmie Rodgers festival promises something for everyone.
The festivities kick-off April 2 and 3 in Highland Park with "Arts in the Park" and the Annual Talent Competition, which has been moved to the Trolley Station Stage this year, located behind the Dentzel Carousel.
"We'll have the youth contest Saturday morning at Arts in the Park and then we'll have the adult contest that afternoon," said organizer Betty Lou Jones.
A crawfish boil follows Saturday evening and a dance, featuring Al Harris and the Night Trippers, at the Frank Cochran Center.
The new gospel portion of the talent competition will be held at Highland Park on Sunday, Apr. 3.
Also new this year is a barbecue cook-off at Singing Brakeman Park on Front Street in downtown Meridian during Jimmie Rodgers Days, May 20 and 21. It transforms "Pickin' in the Park" to "Pickin' and Piggin' in the Park."
"We have a Memphis in May sanctioned barbecue contest, May 20 and 21, a yodeling contest, a hog calling contest, a car show, arts and crafts, food and beverages," Jones said.
Live entertainment will feature the band Santa Fe, Brandon Bennett as the King, the Taylor Grocery Band and the Original Rolling Stones.
"Our entertainment this year is all from Mississippi and we're real excited about that," said Jones.
Festival activities also include two gospel concerts. On May 6 is the Southern Gospel concert at Northcrest Baptist Church with The Florida Boys and Legacy Five. Contemporary Christian music will come to Northcrest on June 3 with Big Daddy Weave.
The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation presents the Jimmie Rodgers Festival each year to perpetuate the memory of Meridian's own Jimmie Rodgers, known as "the father of country music".
Other than being an entertainment and cultural event, organizers say it enhances tourism and boosts the economy.
WTOK-TV is a proud sponsor of the Jimmie Rodgers Festival.