Mississippi lovers will come together this weekend at Mississippi in the Park in Buckhead. The Mississippi Society of Georgia is celebrating the event’s fifth year with golf, catfish, sweet tea and the blues.
“It really is a cultural renewal of sort, in the sense that we are your Georgia cousins,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. James Donald, Mississippi native and chair of the society’s golf committee.
Festivities will kick off Friday with the event’s newest addition, the Mississippi Society Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Wolf Creek Golf Course.
“We’re getting a number of people who are now driving all the way from Mississippi for the weekend. We were concerned we needed more opportunities and variety added into the weekend to make the trip worthwhile,” Donald said.
Donald said the tournament will be followed by a group trip to the Braves game at Turner Field.
Saturday, the festivities continue with the picnic in Chastain Park, which will include catfish and chicken combo plates for $20 each, and other treats from Mississippi-native companies, including Penn’s restaurant, McAlister’s Deli and Sugaree’s Bakery.
The premiere entertainer will be “down home blues singer” Bobbye Doll Johnson, of Meridian, Miss., and her band. Together they are called Bobbye Johnson and 2.
“She’s a tiny little thing with a robust voice,” Donald said.
Also on the entertainment line-up is the ShuffleJunkies, an Atlanta-based rock and blues band.
“What I look forward to most are the fabulous people,” said event co-chair and Mississippi native Jenny Gipson. “Mississippi is known as the Hospitality State for good reason and I love having a day right here in Atlanta to celebrate that special Mississippi connection.”
Gipson said the society hopes to make enough money to cover event costs and to fund scholarships for rising college freshmen.
“What’s really great about the weekend is, it is a scholarship opportunity for young men and women who want to attend Mississippi schools,” said Donald, who attended the University of Mississippi. “They present a great alternative for Atlanta’s children to go to.”
He said society funds two scholarship efforts, including one which is now possible because the golf tournament is predicted to generate $15,000.
“We invite all the golfers who play to designate at registration what school’s scholarship funds should be recipients of revenue from their participation in the tournament, Donald said.
The tournament costs $100 each, he said, and the society will use the profit earned for administrative costs and donate the remainder to the selected Mississippi schools’ scholarship funds and leave it up to the schools to choose local Atlanta students.
Traditionally, the society selects one student every year to award scholarship money to attend a Mississippi school in the fall. The winner will be announced Saturday at the picnic.
“We select someone who has a great need, and we are constantly replenishing the one who won the previous year,” Donald said.
Ten Mississippi colleges and universities will be represented at the picnic this year, and will provide information for interested parents and students.
“We want our attendees to experience the gift of celebrating their Mississippi connections right here at home in Atlanta throughout the weekend,” Gipson said. “It’s basically just a big family reunion.”
If you go:
o What: Mississippi in the Park
o When: Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
o Where: Chastain Park in Buckhead
o Tickets: Free admission to picnic and $20 each for food
o Information: www.mssocietyofga.org