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On to the Fair

Picayune, Mississippi’s Street Fair offers a taste of fall this weekend.
by Kayla Smith

too many choices

It finally feels like fall, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than with a visit to my hometown of Picayune, Mississippi, this weekend. Picayune held its first street fair in 1996, and the biannual event has grown ever since. This year, our street fair runs from November 3-4. We’re located in the center of the geographic triangle made by New Orleans, Hattiesburg and Gulfport (its roughly an hour from each), so Picayune makes a perfect day trip for the thousands of visitors the fair attracts.

This weekend, over 300 vendors will line East and West Canal streets, selling arts and crafts, antiques, preserves, jewelry, clothes, and dozens of other gifts. Visitors can see live entertainment on two stages both Saturday and Sunday. All the fair-food favorites will be there, from funnel cakes to kettle corn, chicken on a stick, hamburgers and hotdogs, but Picayune’s Street Fair food options surpass the traditional. I once ate a crab cake pasta with cream sauce that rivals any other seafood pasta I’ve ever tasted.

This year will also be the first annual Chili Cook-Off for the town, held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the corner of Highway 11 and West Canal Street. In addition, there’s a vocal talent contest and the Miss 2013 Street Fair Pageant, ranging from babies less than a year old all the way up to the the Miss 2013 age group, where 16-19-year-olds compete for a $5oo scholarship to Pearl River Community College.

Street fair weekend is also a great time to discover the charming town of Picayune. (Our city motto is “a precious coin in the purse of the South.) Antique stores, gift shops, our herbal apothecary shop, bookstore and restaurants all stay open during the fair. My favorite spot is Paul’s Pastry Shop for dessert and some of the best corn and crab bisque you’ll ever have. I also recommend stopping by MeLinda’s on the fair route for gifts and local art.

Can’t make it this time? The fair comes back the first full weekend in April. Visit the website to find out more.

Photo courtesy of Margaret Coble on Flickr

Kayla Smith is an intern at Deep South. Find out more about her in our Contributors section.

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