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Itawamba County’s oldest festival will return for its 33rd year this weekend.

Mantachie Fest 2019 will kick off this Saturday, Sept. 21. As it has for years, the event will feature hours of live music, the return of the popular pet show and health fair, and enough food to feed 33 years’ worth of bellies (or, at least, pretty close to that). There will be dozens of handmade arts and craft vendors and games and inflatables for kids.

This year’s annual fish fry, another longstanding Mantachie Fest tradition, is sponsored by the Mantachie High School Softball team. Plates are $12 and include fish, French fries, hushpuppies, slaw and dessert. They will be available from 3-7 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraisers will help the team travel to Orlando, Florida, to compete in a national tournament.

Like a dog that’s dashed through an open backyard gate, the return of the Mantachie Fest Pet Show will be greeted with open arms (and wagging tails). Open to all types of animals and featuring a number of different categories, this event always draws huge crowds of both contestants and spectators.

Registration for the show begins at 11 a.m.; the show is set to begin at 11:30 a.m.

Those who love the artistry of quilting will want to head to the Bonds House Museum to check out Quilts: Past and Present. This special display of quilts, both modern and historical, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until noon.

Music lovers will have plenty to fill their ears. This year’s lineup includes Brianna and Toedy Kingsley, Sean Austin Williams, Bob “Mr. G” Gilliland, Crossing Dixie, Michael Breedlove and others.

Bro. Cody Crum will serve as guest preacher on the event’s faith-focused second day. Gospel music will kick off at 5 p.m., Sunday. Crum is scheduled to take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday’s live music will include performances by Blake Buchanan, Alyssa Moore, Matt and Lisa Hudson and Ozark Baptist Church’s choir and praise team.

The Mantachie Fest celebration fireworks display will close out the festival on Sunday night. The display is set to begin at 8 p.m.

Longtime Mantachie Fest planning committee member Tyler Camp said the festival always feels like a homecoming for the people of Mantachie. It’s been that way for more than a generation.

“The day provides as an opportunity for the entire family to be involved thanks to all of our outstanding food and craft vendors, musicians, contest organizers and amazing volunteers,” Camp said. “It is a day designed for everyone.”

Twitter: @admarmr

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