By NEMS Daily Journal
Today kicks off a weekend of events in Northeast Mississippi that both recall history and relive it.
At Brice’s Crossroads near Baldwyn today, commemoration of the 147th anniversary of that Civil War battle will include an open house and grand opening of the new Mississippi Last Stands Interpretive Center.
On Saturday, re-enactors will bring to life the sights, sounds and smells surrounding the 1864 confrontation in which Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate troops scored a victory over Union forces. A variety of tours will be available for those wishing to deepen their feel for and understanding of this important piece of regional history.
Up U.S. Highway 45 in Booneville, meanwhile, that city will celebrate its sesquicentennial beginning at 6 p.m. today and running through Saturday. Recalling the old days will be the theme of the downtown-centered event.
Booneville got its start the very year Mississippi seceded from the Union and the Civil War began. It was not an auspicious time to start a town, but 150 years later, Booneville can claim a century and a half of civic accomplishment worth celebrating.
Meanwhile, Lee County’s oldest municipality, Verona, will host its annual Heritage Festival starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. One of the elements of Verona’s history that the city has enjoyed celebrating at previous festivals was the marriage of Vernon and Gladys Presley, parents of Elvis, but they’re putting that observance aside this year to concentrate on politics.
From 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Lee County, regional and statewide political candidates will take turns making their pitches to the crowd in a gathering that will be both pertinent to this year’s elections and nostalgic. These old-style rallies, after all, were once the primary ways candidates communicated with voters – and often were considered some of the best entertainment around.
The Verona rally will include musical intervals between the politicking segments, so entertainment will come in a variety of forms.
Each of these weekend events evokes the history that has shaped the character of Northeast Mississippi while offering an opportunity for fun and fellowship among locals and non-locals alike. It’s important that a region like ours, while embracing today’s challenges, remember those elements of its past that have made it distinct – and share them with others.
History is an important tool to introduce visitors to the contemporary side of life in this region as well. Weekends like the one ahead offer ample opportunities for both our own enjoyment and edification and for welcoming those visitors who may be seeing what we have to offer for the first time.