Homochitto River Festival Origins and History
The Homochitto River Festival engaged in 2011 when the Homochitto Heritage Club partnered with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce to re-start a yearly festival, then located on the Courthouse Square in downtown Meadville, Mississippi. Sonny and Debbie Hood; Southern Praise; Brian Barfoot; Baleigh Larkin; Trudy Cline Pickett; Greater Faith Choir; Hannah Southerland; and New Grace all performed with headliner, The Chris Gray Band.
The 2012 event featured the Redemption Story and The Colonels. The 2013 Homochitto River Festival, held June 1, 2013, featured the largest number of vendors to date along with new Pet Show. Cool spring weather greeted festival goers on May 2, 2015 as local entertainment performed, a new giant kids slide was unveiled, and the trade theme was introduced.
The Homochitto River Festival, actually traces its roots back to the Homochitto Valley Festival begun in June, 1980. The first Homochitto Valley Festival featured the Homochitto River Race; a run; a pie and cake contest; go-cart races; a biggest and best vegetable contest; a scavenger hunt for the children; an antique car display; and music.
The 2016 festival was held over two days in October to coincide with a popular children’s event. Friday night featured Alan Sibley and the Magnolia Ramblers and the Mickey Man Blues Band. Saturday featured rock music with Trase and Stonewater.
The Homochitto River Festival, with a sharpened focus on music and a two stage street format, enlarged in 2017 with headliners HanaLena and the world famous, Jesse Robinson. In 2018 the festival featured Parish County Line and saxophone legend, Ace Cannon. The festival expanded again to three stages of music in 2019, while featuring now Country Music Hall of Famer, Marty Stuart and Country Superstar, Ronnie McDowell. While the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 Homochitto River Festival that was to feature headliners, Sawyer Brown and B.J. Thomas, the 2020 Homochitto River Race did occur as planned. In 2021 the festival again expanded featuring headliners on two of the three festival stages. Janie Fricke, T.G. Sheppard, Moe Bandy, T. Graham Brown, Ronnie McDowell and the Kentucky Headhunters all appeared in downtown Meadville, Mississippi.