36th annual New York Mississippi Picnic held this month in NYC's Central Park

36th annual New York Mississippi Picnic held this month in NYC's Central Park

 This is a news release from Visit Mississippi

Mississippi writers and artists, musicians and delicious Southern cuisine are all on tap for the 36th Annual New York Mississippi Picnic, which will be held Saturday, June13, 2015, from noon – 6 p.m. in New York City's Central Park. The location of the picnic will be Center Road at the 72nd Street and 5th Avenue entrance to Central Park, which is between the Naumberg Bandshell and Sheep Meadow.

This year's picnic, themed Elvis is in the Park will pay tribute to 80 years of the King of Rock & Roll, as well as other music that helped make Mississippi known as the birthplace of America's music.

In line with the theme, musical performers will be Elvis tribute artist Brandon Bennett, the New York City Slickers, Jimmie Rodgers tribute artist Britt Gully, musical theater performer Caroline Lyell, and bluesman Jon Paris.

"The New York Mississippi Picnic in Central Park is a unique way for Mississippians working in the New York area, as well as native New Yorkers, to enjoy a taste of Mississippi food and experience the hospitality our state is known for first hand," said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough. "This event has showcased our state's vibrant culture in New York for the past 35 years, and we look forward to celebrating this authentic tradition again this year."

Treating the crowd to some Mississippi flavor, the Mississippi Catfish Cooking Team will be preparing 500 pounds of southern fried catfish and 120 pounds of hushpuppies from Simmons Catfish (Yazoo City) for picnic-goers to enjoy. McAlister's Deli (Ridgeland) will be serving its famous sweet tea. Pirouline Cookies (Madison), Sarabella's Sauces (Jackson) and Sugaree's Bakery (New Albany) will be serving their delicious desserts and products to those in attendance.

A Best Elvis Look Alike Contest will be held for those that want to slick back their hair, grow side burns and wear a white leisure suit or showcase their take on the King's style. Mississippi artists and authors also will be on hand to showcase, sign and sell copies of their works. In addition, exhibits will be set up to showcase tourism and retirement destinations in Mississippi, state colleges and universities, The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation and other areas of interest. The 2015 Mississippi Picnic commemorative poster and T-shirts will be available.

"This picnic is a way for those residing in the New York City area to connect with Mississippi," said Rachel McPherson, New York Mississippi Picnic co-founder. "Those who are from Mississippi can reconnect to those things familiar from home. Those who are curious about Mississippi can come to learn about the things Mississippians are most proud of—the food, the music, the culture and our people."

Representatives from Mississippi universities and alumni associations also will be on hand to provide information about their schools to picnic-goers. Several of the schools have coordinated alumni gatherings and use the event as a recruiting tool in the northeastern United States.

As a pre-event treat, The National Arts Club will celebrate Mississippi's rich cultural heritage with "An Evening at Moon Lake" on Thursday, June 11. From 6:30-10 p.m., guests can enjoy Mississippi-inspired music by Tamar Korn. The evening features a tribute to Mississippi-born playwright Tennessee Williams with a rare opportunity to see performances from three of Williams's most noted works: "A Streetcar Named Desire" at 7 p.m., "Eccentricities of a Nightingale" at 7:30 p.m., and "Suddenly Last Summer" at 8 p.m. Performances will be directed by noted Williams scholar Karen Kohlhaas. There is no charge for the event, and attendees are encouraged to come as their favorite Williams character or in period dress for a festive night. Space and seating for the performances are limited. The National Arts Club is located at 15 Gramercy Park South.

Other events and activities can be found on The New York Mississippi Society website at thenyms.org or by calling Rachel McPherson at 718-832-1852.

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