Catfish Alley festivities kick off in Columbus, ready for Saturday

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Events are going on throughout the area all weekend. One that is reeling in people’s attention in Columbus is Catfish in the Alley.

What used to be one of the biggest African American hubs in the state is still being celebrated.

Black dentists, chefs, and other entrepreneurs would come to Catfish Alley for good food and fellowship.

The CEO  of Visit Columbus Nancy Carpenter said she enjoys hosting catfish in the alley to try and keep its history of it alive. For over 10 years people have come out to listen to music and eat and enjoy good food during the annual Catfish in the Alley celebration, but what was Catfish Alley?

“Catfish Alley was actually one of the most prolific most famous African American business districts in the state of Miss. It probably compares to the fair street in Jackson so it’s one of the oldest definitely,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter said that the Alley was filled with black entrepreneurs’ food and music.

She said the name isn’t a coincidence either.

“African Americans particularly but others also would go to the river and would catch catfish and they would bring them back to the alley and cook them and they said that the aroma of catfish cooking would just permeate the air and it was so they said this is like catfish alley,” said Carpenter.

Now catfish in the Alley takes place every spring – right in the middle of the historic landmarks the event celebrates. This year carpenter expects over 20 vendors to be out and live music from entertainers from across the twin states.

And although she doesn’t feel like it will grow to what it used to be. They will still keep the name alive.

“It’s never going to be a huge event that’s going to draw hundreds and thousands of people and that’s really not our intent even though we do feel like we have the opportunity to bring people from out of town,” said Carpenter.

Vendors will be out and live music will start Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

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