Ballard Park patrons enjoy first Green Festival

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Everything was green at Ballard Park on Saturday.
The city of Tupelo and the Girl Scouts hosted the city’s first Green Festival and hundreds of people came through to show their true color, green.
Natalie Wilson, coordinator for the Northeast Mississippi Green Festival, said Saturday’s turnout was a great sign for the future of the environment.
“It’s fabulous to see the community of Tupelo come together to support protecting our environment,” said Wilson. “We all can do our part in protecting our environment but we don’t. So seeing so many people here for this good cause is wonderful.”
Wilson said the Green Festival was also a great opportunity for parents to teach their children about what the meaning of being green is.
“It starts with parents letting their children know what the importance of protecting our environment is for everyone,” she said.
Kay Santori of Tunica is as green as a cucumber when it comes to recycling. In fact, she makes a living doing it. As owner of Gypsy Gumbo, Santori makes and sells everything from body oils, soaps, signs, art and clothes. And everything she makes she either finds the materials, recycles old material or grows it in her garden.
“All my art is painted on recycled wood that I find laying around,” said Santori. “My soaps and oils are made from herbs and organics that I grow in my garden. Even the price tags on my items come from recycled cereal boxes. Recycling is very important to me and to the environment.”
Julian Allen of Tupelo and his family attended the festival. Allen said he never really was big on recycling until two years ago when his son had a school project on recycling. Now Allen reuses anything that can be reused and he makes sure his family does the same.
“It amazes me how wasteful people are, including myself,” said Allen. “We get rid of things that we can reuse every day and it’s causing our landfills to fill up. So now I use and reuse. Old jelly jars are drinking glasses at my house. No need to throw them away when they can be used. I spent a lot of my past being wasteful but I’ll make sure not to make that a mistake moving forward.”
Booths from several city, county and state organizations were set up to promote green. The Natchez Trace Parkway, Waste Management and the city of Tupelo were a few of the participants.
Going green does not exclude having fun, and several activities were on hand for adults and children alike. Arts and crafts, bouncing apparatuses and archery were a few of those things. A live band entertained the crowd and various food vendors provided lunch.
Wilson said from now on Tupelo will be home for an annual Green Festival.
“Tupelo is perfect for it,” she said.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or

Click video to hear audio