Grenada’s Downtown Jubilee makes its return this Saturday and the event promises to be fun for the entire family.
The annual festival is scheduled for Sept. 11, and is a day-long event inviting both young and old to historic Downtown Grenada for arts and crafts, food, entertainment, games for all ages and fellowship. The festivities begin at 9 a.m. on the Downtown Square.
A year after the cancelation of the Jubilee, Damon Tipton, director for the Grenada Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the Chamber Board got off to a hot start planning this year’s reboot of the downtown festival and promises residents and visitors it will be an event that they don’t want to miss.
For years the Downtown Jubilee has served as the city’s largest festival attracting thousands as the official kickoff to the fall season. The event has proven to be so big that organizers make attempts each year to schedule it during college football teams’ road games, so even the diehard fans can enjoy the festivities.
“That’s the significance of it,” Tipton said. “It promotes Downtown Grenada and the Square. The fact that we’re coming off a rough year just builds the morale with this huge family event.”
The Downtown Jubilee got it’s start in 2004 when members of the Chamber of Commerce wanted to give Grenada it’s own fall festival. In the early days, Virginia Fulton headed the event and had a number of volunteers assisting each year.
Kim McRee has served on the Downtown Jubilee Committee since the festival’s inception. She said that following last year’s cancelation having the festival back on schedule is good for Grenada.
“Finally,” McRee exclaimed. “I can’t tell you how excited I am about having the festival back this year. The Downtown Jubilee has always been a family event that attracts people from all over Mississippi.”
The attraction for festivalgoers is the wide variety of vendors that setup all around the historic Square. McRee said after last Wednesday’s deadline, more than 70 vendors have signed on to be at the event selling and marketing their wares.
“We’re talking foods, arts and crafts, pottery, jewelry, Christmas gifts, door hanging décor, baby gifts and candles; you name it we will have it,” McRee said.
Musical performances have also been a long-standing tradition at the Jubilee with school choirs, church groups and solo performers taking the microphone under the gazebo.
Among the other attractions at the Jubilee will be the Crossroads Cruisers Antique Car, Truck and Bike Show; face painting; a dunking booth; a video game truck; various inflatables and bungee jumping. A cornhole competition has also been added to the mix.
“This just adds to the fun,” Tipton said. “Having the cornhole contest gives it that family reunion feel.”
Also returning to Downtown Jubilee this year will be swamp tours at the Lee Tartt Nature Preserve.
Robin Whitfield, director of the Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp, invites visitors to the swamp tour, which is free and for all ages. She said that each tour takes approximately 30 minutes, which includes a hayride over the Yalobusha River into the southern edge of the swamp. She said participants will be invited to take a five minute walk, but are welcome to stay on the hay bale seating generously donated by Cross County Seeds.
From there, Whitfield said Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp naturalists will tell stories that reveal fascinating ecological connections found in swamps and bottomland hardwood forests.
“Experience the beauty of Lee Tartt Nature Preserve from a covered wagon during the Jubilee,” Whitfield said. “Wagon loads will be smaller this year to make sure everyone can be safely distanced.”
Whitfield said visitors can find the Swamp Tour booth on the north end of the Square to reserve a time slot from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Downtown Jubilee will make its return on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.
In recognition of the tragic day, the Downtown Jubilee Committee will honor all of the area’s first responders.
Each year, at the Downtown Jubilee, a Hometown Hero is honored for his or her service to the community. Recipients of the Hometown Hero in the past were Dr. Trina George, who was appointed by President Barak Obama to run the state USDA Rural Development, country music artist Charlie Worsham, Gov. William Winter and Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer Eddie Willis.
“What makes this so special is that we will honor all of our first responders this year,” Tipton concluded. “It’s been 20 years since that day and we want to honor them, so we’re asking that their families come to take part in it.”
Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) will be the guest speaker for the event. He will take the podium at noon.