IUKA — After a couple of weeks of storm recovery, residents here may be in the mood for a good old-fashioned festival by Labor Day weekend.

Planners of the Iuka Heritage Festival have good news for the citizenry: The festival will go on despite the storm. Last year’s festival was canceled because of the pandemic.

Festival Committee Chairman Brian Grissom had been in conversation with the mayor and aldermen and the car show organizers on Tuesday about whether to proceed.

“We all feel it would be best to go on with it as planned, providing there is not some sort of government-issued mandate that we cannot do it,” he said.

Fingers are crossed that Covid will not twice be a spoiler, especially after weathering a tornado, as well.

The organizers hope the two-day event will provide a boost to the community after the struggles of Covid and the Saturday storm.

“Everybody is ready to see things start happening again,” said Grissom.

Much of the event centers on Mineral Springs Park, which was spared by the EF1 twister. Still, some cleanup is needed there, and the organizers are considering having a cleanup day and asking the community to volunteer with tasks such as pressure washing and painting.

“Our city employees are going to be tied up fixing water lines, gas lines and storm debris cleanup,” said Grissom.

Set for Friday, Sept. 3, and Saturday, Sept. 4, the festival will kick off with gospel singing at the park with a variety of local performers on Friday. Saturday will have a full day of activities, including the 33rd installment of the Wheels of Northeast Mississippi Car Show in the Jay Bird Park area along Front Street. The show boasts $3,000 in cash prizes and will benefit local charities and automotive scholarship.

Live music will be performed throughout the day, and aspiring stars can hit the stage for the Iuka’s Got Talent show from 3 to 5 p.m. Other festival fare will include vendors of a huge variety of arts and crafts and food, a petting zoo and a silent auction. The day will wrap up with a “dance in the park.”

The ongoing Covid threat is a concern, and the organizers will ask people who attend to be cautious. Grissom said social distancing and masking will be encouraged, and all of the events will be outdoors.

The planning committee met Monday evening.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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