Oleput festival could return this spring

town_tupelo_greenBy Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – It’s been more than a decade – closer to two, actually – since the popular Oleput festival was held.

The festival, which gets its name from “Tupelo” spelled backwards, was a Mardi Gras-themed event that drew thousands to the All-America City.

It disappeared in the late 1990s, but there’s been talk over the years of reviving it.

Last fall, Mayor Jason Shelton casually mentioned Oleput would make a return.

Turns out, the festival is several steps closer to becoming reality.

Don Lewis, the city’s chief operating officer, has helped put together a volunteer committee that has met several times. They meet again Thursday in hopes of settling on a date and hammering out details.

“A lot of people want it to happen, and we’re working to do that,” he said.

The festival this year wouldn’t include floats or a parade as in the past simply because it’s logistically impossible at this point.

“It’ll probably be a free ticketed event, where the money is made off food and drinks,” Lewis said. “We want to put a focus on local musicians, local bands and build the festival from there. This is just a starting point for down the road.”

But there’s a potential snag in the name of the festival. Apparently, previous organizers of the event say they own the rights to the name of the festival.

Lewis said negotiations continue.

“This may become a festival that doesn’t have a name, or we put it out there and get people to come up with a name,” he said. “It could be ‘the festival formerly known as Oleput;’ we’ll have to see what happens.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page, Oleput – Tupelo, MS, has garnered more than 3,100 likes since Thursday.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com