PHOTO SUBMITTED / Kay Burton, representing Brookhaven and Hometown Mississippi Retirement Communities, poses for a picture with New York Central Park rangers at the Mississippi Picnic in New York City Saturday. Burton said the cookies she brought for the event were a big hit with the rangers.
PHOTO SUBMITTED / Kay Burton, representing Brookhaven and Hometown Mississippi Retirement Communities, poses for a picture with New York Central Park rangers at the Mississippi Picnic in New York City Saturday. Burton said the cookies she brought for the event were a big hit with the rangers.

Way Up North: Burton promotes city at picnic in NYC

Published 8:45pm Saturday, June 14, 2014

Each year, the Mississippi Picnic is held in New York’s Central Park to serve as a type of homecoming for Mississippi natives living in New York and to battle negative perceptions of the South common among New Yorkers and others from the Northeast.

Kay Burton, representing Brookhaven and Hometown Mississippi Retirement Communities, was busy Saturday working a booth at this year’s picnic. Burton said the event focuses on the art and music of Mississippi along with a lunch of catfish.

Picnic goers Saturday ranged from Mississippi natives to regular visitors and New Yorkers who had never visited, Burton said.

“I promoted Brookhaven as a great place to visit and a great place to live,” she said.

Burton met a New Yorker at the picnic two years ago who returned this year to talk to her. He said since he had first spoken with her, he had visited Brookhaven and will be moving here in two weeks.

“I’d just had no idea he’d been to Brookhaven and visited since that time,” she said.

This year marked about the fifth time for Burton to attend the picnic, and there was a big crowd this year. “I had a really good day.”

Burton said the iced cookies from Janie’s Pastry Shop and Bakery that she took to hand out were a big hit.

“Pretty much every park ranger has come by to get a cookie,” she said Saturday afternoon. “The governor’s wife seemed to enjoy it,” she added, referring to the cookie she gave to Phil Bryant’s wife, Deborah.

Also among Burton’s visitors Saturday was a man who had visited Mississippi and stopped by to tell her how much he enjoyed it.

“He said we seem to be a smiling people,” she said. “You never know what people are going to say.”

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