HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The second annual Hattiesburg Stink Fest kicks off Friday, April 24, in hopes of raising awareness to the ongoing issue of the city's struggle to repair its waste waster treatment and meet EPA standards.
"I think it brought a lot of attention to a really bad problem, but that really bad problem has gotten much better," Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley said of last year's inaugural festival, which is organized by locals. "We don't have the smell that we had. Occasionally, you'll have a little smell there, but you know, the folks are looking for a reason to come out and have a good time, and I'm about a good time, so I think it's good."
Stink Fest 2015 is presented by Southern Beverage, as well as Southern Prohibition Brewing Company, The Keg and Barrel, and Glory Bound Gyro Company. The festival comes in the midst of looming deadlines for the city to find a waste water treatment facility option, and Bradley said an original plan that was then terminated is now back on the table.
"The idea of a land app [application] system has come back with the city building it and operating itself, owning it itself from the beginning," Bradley said.
The other option of the mechanical plant, which has taken the lead recently, is 20-25 million more dollars than the land application system, according to Bradley. After legal battles with the land application contracting company and another one million dollars of plans for the mechanical system, Bradley said it appears the city could be moving forward again, although he does not believe it will meet a September 2018 deadline of having a facility up and operating, which will result in more fines.
A news release from Stink Fest organizers said one dollar from each purchased ticket for Stink Fest will be donated to the city "to aid in the improvement of the lagoons system." Hattiesburg's Chief Financial Officer Sharon Waits said that money will be placed in the general fund and will need specific directions for it to go toward a particular effort.
The release also stated 35 bands confirmed to perform at various venues including the Thirsty Hippo, Marlin's Bar and Grill, The Keg & Barrel, Benny's Boom Boom Room, and Brewsky's. The full lineup of bands and schedules for venues are available on the festival's Facebook and Twitter pages.