From local beginnings: How Market Street Festival began

COLUMBUS, Miss (WCBI) – Downtown Columbus looks calm now but more than 40,000 people are expected to swarm the streets in a few days. But have you ever wondered how one of the largest festivals in Mississippi began?

“Because we moved up here it helped start Market Street Festival,” said WCBI General Manager Derek Rogers.

Rogers remembers how the station’s original owner’s love for music transformed an entire city’s culture.

“That was just something that Frank decided to start and then handed it on to the Main Street that had been developed and let them run with it. So we take a lot of pride in knowing we had something to do starting that festival, one of the top events in the southeast,” said Rogers.

Frank Imes had seen the band War in concert and wanted to bring them to Columbus.

He realized a good outdoor show could also bring people from all walks of life together.

Market Street Festival coordinator Amber Brislin said that sense of community still lives on, note for note, almost 30 years later in the annual, two-day event.

“On Friday night, everybody, come down to the soccer complex for Market-Rita-ville for our tribute to Jimmy Buffet’s band. They’re called Bluffet. It’s going to be a great time. It starts at 5:30. So dress festively,” said Brislin.

Visitors can look forward to a parrot-head contest, limbo contest, and lots of shopping with over 250 vendors with food, drinks, and gifts.

The event keeps downtown Columbus beautiful and historic, but also modern.

Brislin and Columbus Main Street Director Barbara Bigelow agree the festival is a sign that spring has officially sprung in the Friendly City.

“Market Street Festival, over the past 28 years, has grown to be not only a Columbus tradition but something people really look forward to. It’s almost like the kick-off to spring,” said Brislin.

“It’s a real family-friendly event. For children of all ages, there’s tons for them to do. Adults can find a lot of entertaining things to do,” said Bigelow.

Street closings will begin as early as Friday morning at 6 a.m., starting on Third Street, and stretching to Fifth Street.

Check out this link for other road closings and times:

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and X

Categories: Featured, Local News