This year's theme is "Big Easy Beans-Laissez Les BEAN Temps Roulez" (Let The Beans Time Roll). Judges will award prizes not only for the best beans, but also for the most creatively decorated booths, while the Peoples' Choice award will be decided by the voting public. As always, children are encouraged to dress up in costume and come prepared to trick-or-treat.
Each year, dozens of congregations, professionals, and individuals vie for the coveted title of the Best Red Beans & Rice in town, and over a thousand people from around the metro area turn out to sample the competitors' beans, listen to the bands and enjoy the festivities. The celebration includes kid-friendly activities such as face painting, space jumps, a costume contest and trick-or-treating at the cooking stations. College football fans can even take in televised games on the park's giant outfield screen.
The festival provides a great way for businesses, neighbors and even congregations to enjoy an afternoon of fellowship while supporting a great cause. Stewpot is a 28-year-old interfaith agency that provides assistance at no charge to individuals and families who are in need of food, shelter, clothing, love and encouragement.
Hosting the event at the park provides a rain-or-shine venue for the food, kid's activities, music and all of the other fun and festivities. "The last three years have demonstrated that Trustmark Park is a great festival venue and a way to attract even more metro-area supporters," said Frank Spencer, executive director of Stewpot Community Services.
In 2009, Stewpot served more than 140,000 meals in its Jackson Stewpot Kitchen and its Meals on Wheels program, or through one of the four Stewpot shelters. More than 1,200 families and individuals were provided safe overnight shelter, and more than 6,000 were provided emergency grocery supplies through the Stewpot Food Pantry.
Adult tickets are $10 at the gate and $8 in advance. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $5, and those under 6 are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at Trustmark Park, all metro-area Trustmark offices, Bebop and McDade's Markets.