First Porchfest draws visitors, good reviews

Published 5:03 pm Saturday, November 3, 2018

Balloons and barricades blocked off sections of Drummond Street Saturday to allow residents in the Fostoria neighborhood to entertain some guests.

The neighborhood’s first “Porchfest,” which organizers said is the first in the state, was a festival of music, arts and crafts, brought people from other areas of the city to the historic neighborhood to hear different genres of music, visit the booths and enjoy a hamburger, gumbo, or a favorite alcoholic beverage.

“We have 20-plus musicians performing on all the porches,” said Fostoria resident Launo Moore, who wore a flamingo hat and handed out leis to passersby. “We have all kinds of food being prepared by the Knights of Columbus, the Gumbo Pot and Martins at Midtown. The city has been great; we went to Mayor (George) Flaggs and he said do it, and has supported this.”

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Vicksburg resident Harry Craft passed his judgment on the festival.

“This is a good, wholesome event for all ages,” he said as he listened to one group perform.

“The music is good, and there’s all different types.”

Tommy Gerache, from Jacksonville, Florida, was in town attending his nephew’s wedding and visiting relatives.

“This was going on, and we decided to go see it,” he said, adding his niece, Christie Beasley, was performing with one of the groups.

As the performers serenaded the residents and visitors, people walked among the booths set up along the street looking over the selections of ceramics, woodwork, jewelry, artwork and other items for sale by the vendors. In one area, a children’s section featured bubbles, hoops and games.

Some people took advantage of chairs and tables set out the homes to sit and eat, or to just rest a bit.

“I wish I could take credit for this,” said Elizabeth Nelson, who organized the event. Porchfest, she said, began in Ithaca, New York, in 2007.

“I thought I’d bring it here and give it a shot,” she said. Nelson brought it to the Fostoria residents, who embraced the project and planned it.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout, and the city has gone over and above to help us and provide barricades,” she said.

Mark Buys, who grew up not far from Fostoria, said he was glad to see the neighborhood receive attention.

“This is an old neighborhood and it had gone down, but now it’s coming back, and I’m glad to see it’s getting noticed. It was a longtime coming.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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