The picnic will offer Mississippi-style food and music.
“It’s like coming home,” co-chair Jenny Gipson said. “Our goal is to provide a piece of home here in Atlanta for Mississippians to be with other Mississippians.”
Gipson said she expects 500 to 700 attendees.
This year, the event will feature cakes from Sugaree’s Bakery in New Albany, Miss., fried catfish from Penn’s restaurants in Mississippi and sweet tea and cookies from McCalister’s Deli, which originated in the Magnolia State.
“You can get all that food but it’s also bring-your-own picnic lunch if you want, and bring-your-own blankets and chairs,” Gipson said.
She said there will be gifts from H.G. Robertson Fine Silver and Gifts of Buckhead, which will be featuring McCarty pottery from Marigold, Miss.
For entertainment, musician Chick Willis from Mississippi and the Atlanta-based ShuffleJunkies blues band will play.
“It’s really a blues band and a blues-y rock band,” said co-chair Steve Ruegger, an alum of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Gipson, an Ole Miss alum, said there will be 10 to 15 Mississippi colleges and universities represented this year.
The society is also raffling off a “Magnolia” quilt made by local quilter Jimmie Turnage. Proceeds from the raffle will fund a $1,000 scholarship for Georgia student who is going to attend any Mississippi college or university as an upcoming freshman, a tradition which started last year.
“The new winner will be notified on June 15, then we will announce it to everyone at the picnic,” Gipson said.
Additionally, there will be event T-shirts for sale. Admission is free and any proceeds go toward the scholarship fund or next year’s event.
Overall, Gipson said the picnic is like a “Mississippi home here in Atlanta.”
But Gipson and Ruegger said everyone is welcome, whether they are somehow connected to a Mississippi or just enjoy sweet tea, catfish and the blues.
“It is designed to mimic other park events in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and L.A.,” said Jim Donald, co-founder of Mississippi in the Park.
“I like to tell people that we are like Georgia’s cousins, we’re very proud of the culture and we just wanted to share and be a source of development for camaraderie,” Donald said. “We’re just coming home.”