Square, street closings start Thursday for festival

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Partial closing of the Batesville Square will begin Thursday at 5 p.m. when the street that fronts the offices of Panola Partnership and Caldwell Insurance on the north side, and everything east of the railroad tracks will be blocked to allow time for setup in preparation of the first annual Up in Smoke Food and Music Festival this weekend, May 12-13.

The streets closings Thursday are necessary for stage construction and marking off areas of the Steak-Off cooking teams, which will compete in the area that was reserved for carnival rides under the old Springfest plans. Batesville’s signature spring festival, called Springfest for more than 20 years, has been replaced with a more family-friendly event beginning this year.

Shortly after school buses have left for their afternoon routes on Friday, the rest of the Square will be closed off for the Friday night and Saturday festivities. New this year will be the closing of Eureka Street on the south side of the Square at midnight Friday. It will not be reopened until the festival is over Saturday, probably at midnight when the final band has played.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Parking for festival goers will be in the Batesville Clinic lot, the First Security Bank lot, and the Thomas Street lot behind Smith Cleaners. All of the lots, and other areas of the Square will have additional light towers for this year’s event. Parking will also be available along the railroad tracks, the same as when the Christmas Parades are run.

Click here to see Bus Routes map

Click here to see Friday Morning School Drop Off map

Click here to see Friday Afternoon School Pick Up map

Click here to see Public Parking map

Security will be a main focus for organizers who said all bags and backpacks will be subject to searches by security. There will be no coolers allowed, although soft drinks, waters, and beer will be sold. 

Food trucks that have confirmed for the festival include Doe’s Eat Place from Greenville, Pick Thai from Oxford, and Cousin’s Maine Lobster from Memphis. The Panola County Cattlemen’s Association will also be selling their signature steak sandwiches. 

The festival will be purposefully different this year, with a focus  on the competition hosted by a nationally sanctioned Steak-Off  Friday and Saturday.

Other competitions will be the Anything Sherin Sauce event, the Cathead Vodka Bloody Mary contest, and best dessert prizes.

There will be a Color Me Happy Kids Color Fun Run Saturday morning and JA Kids Korner on the Square. Absent this year will be the carnival rides, a move that planners hope will result in a more family friendly atmosphere. Pony rides will be available for children part of the day Saturday.

 Great music is lined up all weekend. Friday night starts with Casey Lipe featuring Tony Bain & the Chain Gang, and The Voice winner, Peyton Aldridge. Saturday music will begin at noon and closing the night will be Mustache The Band. 

 At 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Hosanna Family Worship Center Praise Team will give an interactive performance at the Kids Korner location.

The Mississippi Cornhole Classic has continued to grow in popularity and competitors will begin  throwing bags at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Cornhole teams from across the South and Midwest are expected to attend, as players with hopes to enter national tournaments travel to smaller venues hoping to earn competition points for bigger events.

 Saturday night will close with a fireworks show.