Mississippi in New York Picnic canceled indefinitely - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

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Mississippi in New York Picnic canceled indefinitely

Mississippi In The Park was an annual event that has been cancelled forever. Source: WLBT Archives. Mississippi In The Park was an annual event that has been cancelled forever. Source: WLBT Archives.
NEW YORK, NY (WDAM) -

The annual Mississippi Picnic in New York has been canceled forever.

The New York Mississippi Society released a statement on their website announcing its decision to cancel the event.

It says:

"The 36 years of the Mississippi Picnics has been wonderful and a positive thing for all those involved but with the competition of funding sources and the rising costs and complexity of putting this event together, The New York Society regrets to announce that there are no plans for any future picnics."

According to its website, the goal of the picnic was to preserve the culture and heritage of Mississippi by supporting and promoting artists, authors, musicians and culinary artists.

The first picnic took place in 1980.

This is the second year the event was canceled.

The group cited the state's Religious Accommodations Act as the reason for canceling last year’s event.

The New York Mississippi Society says in part, due to the controversy, the protests, and our own intensely felt dismay over House Bill 1523, we deeply regret that the Mississippi Picnic cannot go forward. 

They released the following statement last year regarding their decision: 

"We, the founders of the Mississippi Picnic in Central Park and the New York-Mississippi Society, are officially canceling this year's picnic in its 37th year.

As a result of the unfortunate adoption of House Bill 1523, we have been informed that several concerned groups in New York City intend to demonstrate in protest of the passage of this law. Due to the controversy, the protests, and our own intensely felt dismay over HB 1523, we deeply regret that the Mississippi Picnic cannot go forward.

Our mission back in 1980 was to showcase a positive image of the state of Mississippi, and over the past 36 years, we have celebrated such cultural icons as writer Tennessee Williams, food critic Craig Claiborne, and opera singer, Leontyne Price. This year we were planning to honor the great blues musician, B.B.King.

For almost four decades, The Mississippi Picnic in Central Park has consistently celebrated the best of Mississippi, without regard to race, religion, or gender orientation. We took pride in sharing our rich heritage and diversity with the rest of the world through these annual gatherings. Any law such as HB 1523 that discriminates against even a single member of our community cannot be tolerated, and therefore we have decided to stand up for all Mississippians by canceling the 2016 picnic in the park."

Gov. Phil Bryant released the following statement regarding the decision to suspend the picnic:

"The picnic was a great way to showcase the best of Mississippi's food, hospitality and culture. While I am disappointed it will not continue, I understand it had become cost-prohibitive," Gov. Bryant said.

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