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Wesson chamber plans bigger Founders Day

There will be room to dance, songs to sing and more than enoughto eat in Wesson in three weeks when the 21st annual WessonFounders Day festival fills up the town’s streets.

Members of the Wesson Chamber of Commerce are in their fourthmonth of organizing the festival, still nailing down times andevents for what is expected to be one of the bigger and betterfestivals in the event’s history. Chamber vice president andfestival chief Marilyn Britt said a few changes have been made inpursuit of the perfect Founders Day, with high expectations for theresults.

“Pretty much the overall festival has changed,” she said. “Theentertainment has been changed and improved, we’ve got more vendorscoming and more involvement from the local schools. We’re justtrying to do more and do better.”

Some of the rearranging will be evident, but the overallfamily-oriented feel of Founders Day will remain the same. Thefestival begins on Friday, April 30, around 5 p.m. and goes intothe night before starting anew the next morning and going all dayand all night again. There is no charge for admission.

Around 50 vendors of all types are expected to participate, andthe festival will be augmented with gospel singing and other music.There will be arts and crafts of all types, antique displays,street dances and other performances, a parade and a flea market.Further activities are still being finalized.

Founders Day will also feature a couple of large, involvedevents that proved successful last year – a hometown version of theTV game show Deal or No Deal, complete with a Howie Mandelcharacter, and the Backyard BBQ Cook-off. Deal or No Dealparticipants could win up to $1,000, while those who sweat it outover a fire to craft the perfect barbeque for judges could winprizes and cash.

Tickets for Deal or No Deal are $5, and can be found at severalWesson businesses. The entry fee for the cook-off is $45, and setupbegins at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 1.

Rules, regulations and information on any Founders Day event canbe obtained by calling the chamber at 601-643-5000. The chamber isalso still accepting vendors and looking for sponsors.

There will be no shortage of events for festival attendees tosee during the more than 20 total hours of Founders Day, butperhaps the most important thing to be seen there are the people,Britt said.

“People just come out to visit each other,” she said. “We’re asmall town, and everybody wants to come see each other, even peoplefrom out of town. People just come out of the woodwork, people youhaven’t seen in years.”

Chamber president Stephen Ashley said people are what makeWesson, and he hopes it’s the people who benefit most from FoundersDay.

“It gives everybody a taste of the atmosphere in Wesson andgives exposure to our town and local businesses,” he said. “Thepeople are what make this community, what makes it special.”