Blues fans celebrated the Fourth of July weekend at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, Miss.
The festivities began Thursday when a Mississippi Blues Commission Blues Trail Marker honoring the Mississippi Hill Country was unveiled on the Holly Springs town square.
The trail is designed to preserve the state's musical heritage through more than 100 historical markers and interpretive sites. The Hill Country was the birthplace and residence of many of the state's most accomplished bluesmen, including the late performers R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough.
Party Line and Michael Donahue attended the Comcast Firecracker 5k run benefiting St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Watch »
Some people say the blues began in Indianola, but Holly Springs Mayor Andre DeBerry told the gathering, "We think the blues actually started in Holly Springs."
To commemorate the occasion, R.L.'s son, Duwayne Burnside; Junior's son, David Kimbrough; and Kenny Brown, founder of the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, played "Shake 'Em on Down" on guitars.
The music lineup at the two-day picnic featured almost 30 performers, including Duwayne and David, Luther, Cody and Jim Dickinson, Bobby Rush, T-Model Ford, Jimbo Mathus and Alvin Youngblood Hart. A portion of the proceeds benefits MusiCares, the Recording Arts Academy initiative that helps ensure that musicians have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
Jonathon Hill, who brought his friends and family from Ocean Springs, Miss., said, "My dad came last year and told me it was a happening and you can't miss it. He said it was the ultimate blues festival."
"This event is a prime example how music can bring people together," said Joshua Edwards.
Asked why he traveled from Jackson, Miss., to Potts Camp for the festival, Joshua said, "I just thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate the independence of America."
Nearly 3,000 turn out for Firecracker 5K
As participants crossed the finish line at the 10th annual Comcast Firecracker 5K, the Jimmy Church Revue sang the appropriate line: "Get ready 'cause here I come."
The band performed at the postrace party Thursday night at the Racquet Club of Memphis. Almost 3,000 people took part in this year's run/walk to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
In honor of the July Fourth holiday, John Licause and A. J. Bernstein ran in red, white and blue outfits. John wore blue soccer socks, red running shorts and a red, white and blue plastic lei around his waist. A. J. wore red socks and blue shorts. The guys, who are on the Houston High School cross country team, also wore Uncle Sam hats, plastic American flag capes and had "U.S.A." painted on their bare chests and stomachs.
The only drawbacks to running in their costumes, they said, were wind resistance from the capes and the hats almost blowing away.
Art auction raises $10,000 for Orpheum
A total of 130 art works by 70 artists were featured in the Orpheum's 13th Annual Art Auction.
Artists participating in the auction get to keep 75 percent of the profits from the sale of their art, said Kate Hackett, patron services manager with the Orpheum at the recent event.
The auction raised more than $10,000.
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Contact Michael Donahue at 529-2797 or e-mail email@example.com.