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The South Franklin Catfish Festival will be held May 1 in downtown Wisner.

The first-ever festival boasts more than 70 vendors, including arts and crafts, clothing and accessories, food and other items.

Additionally, the festival will include a vintage car show along Natchez Street (the service road along La Hwy 15), vendor booths lining Fort Scott Street, food vendors along Hope Street. It will also offer entertainment the entire day.

South Franklin Catfish Festival Chairman Elliot Britt was enthusiastic about the event coming together.

“We’re excited about the response, and also trying to deal with the logistics of a growing festival,” Britt said. “This is our first festival and safety is a priority. We plan to do our part and ask for the public to exercise care and good judgment as well.”

The idea for the Wisner festival was born when the parish’s signature event – the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival in Winnsboro – announced the end of its run last fall. 

Wisner Mayor Marc McCarty and the Town Council was working on revitalization efforts in Wisner and received a lot of encouragement to start a new catfish festival. Wisner is home to Haring’s Catfish, the parish’s only catfish processing plant, and catfish ponds.

“It just made sense for us to host something new, something definitely smaller, but a fun outdoor event for the community,” McCarty said. 

A committee of volunteers started meeting and planning the event and it grew from there.

Meanwhile, entertainment has been announced for the festival stage and includes: Jon Brakefield, 9:30 a.m.; Hands On, 10:30 a.m.; James McCann, 11:15 a.m.; The Blues Machine, 12 noon; Smackwater, 1:30 p.m.; Footloose cast from the Princess Theatre, 2:35 p.m.; and the Bible Belt Buckles at 3:30 p .m.,  closing out the event.

“We feel like we’ve got something for everyone in our music line-up,” Britt said. 

Country, classic rock, blues, top 40, folk – it’s all represented.

“We started this festival from scratch – zero,” Britt said. 

Businesses, individuals and organizations stepped up to offer some sponsorship funds to get the event off the ground, according to Britt. 

Festival t-shirts will also be available for $20 at the event or from Wisner Town Hall, the Wisner branch of Franklin State Bank and the Gilbert branch of WSB.

For more information about the event, visit the website: southfranklincatfishfestival.com or look for updates on the festival’s Facebook page.

“We want to invite everyone to the festival this Saturday in Wisner,” McCarty said. “It is going to be a fun day for the entire family.”

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