Community looks forward to Red Hills Fest

By Gwen Sisson

Great food…funnel cakes…craft vendors…cars…entertainment…more cars….what’s not to love about the Red Hills Festival set for May 24-25 in downtown Louisville.

Louisville Mayor Will Hill said over the past few years, the Red Hills Festival has grown in number and popularity, due to the efforts of many hard working residents.

“The City of Louisville is grateful for the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce for coordinating the Festival and there are many reasons for people to attend, including: craft vendors, great food, live entertainment, car show, carnival rides, pancake breakfast, 5k run, homecoming festivities, class and family reunions, great shopping with local businesses, and last but certainly not least, to visit with old and new friends alike,” Hill said. “We always hope for clear skies and mild temperatures, but most of all we hope everyone has a great time in Downtown Louisville, Mississippi, during Memorial Day Weekend for the Red Hills Festival.”

He forgot funnel cakes, but not Linda Skelton, director of the Winston County Economic Development Partnership’s Chamber of Commerce. She said funnel cakes are the festival food she can’t wait to have!

Skelton said this year marks the 34th year for the Red Hills Festival. Skelton has only been part of the event for the past 18 years but said it was originally held on the grounds around the Chamber building then moved to Ivy Park and, in 1996, was moved back to downtown where it has remained. During the past 18 years, the Red Hills Festival has been held annually on Memorial Day Weekend.

Skelton said in her 18 years working with the Festival, organizers have brought back the car show and the 5K run.  They have added the carnival and work with the First Methodist Church to hold an Antique Show and Sale at the church on the same day.  There is also an Art Contest/exhibit held at the Winston County Library.

Skelton said several years ago, Darlene Bane, Dale Green and Cheryl Pearson started having a homecoming booth/event and grew it into a wonderful time for people to gather, visit and reminisce.

“The Homecoming event grew to the point that these ladies needed help, so the Anchor Club now assists by collecting door prizes, running the registration table, setting up for the day of the event, etc.,” Skelton said.

This year, organizers are expecting over 120 vendors to be part of the Red Hills Festival, including at least one funnel cake vendor. And organizers are still accepting applications.

The festival will begin on Friday night, May 24, with a band playing while vendors are setting up.  Vendors will be located primarily on South Columbus Ave. and will take up most of West Park and South Court Streets in downtown Louisville.

A new addition to this year’s line up of events will be a “Battle of the Bands” on Saturday night that will be located in the parking lot behind the Court House.

There are so many activities for the entire family throughout the Memorial Day Weekend event, including:

‪·‬ The Junior Auxiliary 5K and Fun Run,

• CARNIVAL,

• Art show at the Winston County Library,

• Live entertainment throughout the day and the Battle of the Bands Saturday night,

• The Annual Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale at First United Methodist Church,

• Winston County Homecoming events,

• And the Red Hills Car Show at First Baptist Church.

Skelton said people say that they look forward to having something to entertain out of town family and friends coming in for the holiday weekend.

“They have plenty of things to entertain  (out of town visitors) with at the festival and just walking around and shopping in our beautiful downtown is great,” Skelton said. “We have wonderful shops in Louisville and Noxapater that is enjoyed by our locals as well as people returning home to visit.”

Skelton said she enjoy visiting with people during the Red Hills Festival Weekend event.

“But most of all I enjoy seeing people with their families just strolling around the festival and meandering around Main Street,” Skelton said. “Another of my favorites is the homecoming event that the Anchor Club helps put together and held in the Court House lobby. People are invited and encouraged to bring any memorabilia that they would like to share with the public to be on display at the event.”

Skelton said as part of the Homecoming event, a video will be playing continually of old and new Winston County.  Everyone is encourage to register at the event and at the end of the day gifts from around Winston County will be given to a lucky winner that that will be drawn from the list of people who register.

For vendor applications or more information about the Red Hills Festival, contact Skelton at (662) 773-3921.