There’s a natural rhythm and a richness here. The Mississippi Delta stretches along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, south from Memphis through fertile fields and welcoming communities. There is a wealth of stories being told here, through longstanding traditions, over meals and in the music for which the region is most famous.
In places where the flat Delta farmlands seem to go on forever, the depths of the traditions are evident. In the small towns where Blues music is celebrated, the breadth of the influence is obvious. From dinner tables to roadside tamale stands, to neighborhood gathering places, and elegant Southern settings, the flavors of the past and present are steeped together and served with a smile.
The Mississippi Blues Trail is bursting with stories of the music that was born here and the people who brought it to life. The menus at cafes and diners are dotted with the stories of traditional recipes, born of necessity, that are now sustaining body and spirit for those who love this region. The streets of the towns are filled with stories of families serving a community they love through businesses they’ve built by hand. And the songs that echo throughout the region give voice to musical stories old and new and make the Mississippi Blues an experience for all.
Gaming is a popular experience here, too. Those who want to roll the dice have ample options for placing a bet and many Delta casinos have entertainment and dining venues, as well. Away from the bright casino lights, visitors can also tour the hallowed grounds where Civil War battles were fought and the small towns where the civil rights movement caught the attention of the nation.
Unique lodging options add to the memories made during a Mississippi Delta visit. Visitors can connect with the Delta at a bed and breakfast – whether in an Antebellum home or a country inn, at a roadside collection of restored sharecropper shacks, or within the walls of a refined downtown hotel. These one-of-a-kind accommodations throughout the region add their own unique story to every stay.
Online suggestions for customizing a visit to the Mississippi Delta can be found at VisitTheDelta.com. Desoto and Yazoo Counties, the cities of Tunica, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Indianola, Greenwood, Greenville and Vicksburg and all the communities of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area are filled with stories and folks ready to tell them. They serve them up with a smile and an invitation to stay a while. Whether it’s music, food or hospitality, there’s always more to enjoy.
- Tunica Rivergate Festival, April 11-13
- Gateway to the Blues Concert, October
- Crawfish, Corvettes and Camaros, April
- Delta River Cruisin Car Show, September
- Viking Half Marathon & 5K, March 23
- Greenwood Gravel Grind, April 27
- Que on the Yazoo BBQ Competition, May 4
- Bikes, Blues & Bayous, August 3
- Jerry Clower Festival, May
- Bentonia Blues Festival, June
- Yaz Summer Blast, June or July
- Yazoo County Fair, October
Panola County, Mississippi
- Sardis Fest and Car Show, April
- Spring Fest Batesville, May
- St. Jude Bass Classic, May
- Square Market, June- October
- Southaven Annual Springfest, April
- Annual Tri-State Blues Festival, August
- Annual Mid-South Fair, September
- Annual Southern Lights, November
- World Catfish Festival, April
- Unita Blackwell Freedom Trail Marker, Year-Round
- Mules and Blues Festival, October
- Juke Joint Festival, April 11-14, 2019
- Red’s Old-Timers Blues Fest, May 25, 2019
- Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Fest, August 9 – 11, 2019
- Tennessee Williams Festival, October 17 – 19, 2019
- Crosstie Arts and Jazz Festival, April 13, 2019
- Otherfest, Either Sept 27/28 or Oct 4/5
- 37th Annual Octoberfest , October 11-12, 2019
- 50 Nights of Lights , November 9, 2019-January 2, 2020
Fast Facts & Trivia
- The flooding water and rich, fertile soils of the Delta grew more than cotton. Inspiration and creativity in all forms abound in the region.
- Writer Richard Ford called the Delta “the South’s South.” In the 1990s, historian James Cobb referred to it as the “most southern place on earth.”
- The Delta is often considered the cradle of America’s music. The blues, born in the cotton fields, are an original American artform that gave birth to many other genres of music.
- The Delta is 200 miles long and 87 miles across at its widest point, encompassing circa 4,415,000 acres, or, some 7,000 square miles of alluvial floodplain.
- Writer David Cohn said, “The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.”
- The region’s culinary legacy is reflective of the melding of cultures, mostly agricultural in origin.
- The first franchised Holiday Inn was located in the Delta city of Clarksdale.
- Mound Bayou is a community founded in the Mississippi Delta in 1887 by descendants of Davis Bend, a utopian slave community established by Joseph Davis, older brother of Jefferson Davis.
- In the Mississippi Delta, Highway 61 is known as the Blues Highway – a hallowed path where gospel, field chants and folk merged and Robert Johnson sold his soul in exchange for mastery of the music that made him a legend.
- According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the longest stretch of highway in the U.S. with no horizontal or vertical curves (completely flat) is a 29.8 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 61 beginning just south of Tunica to just north of Clarksdale.
- The Chicago Cubs had spring training in Vicksburg in 1908 (the last time the Cubs won the World Series until 2016).
- Vicksburg National Cemetery is the second largest in the nation
- The first bottling of Coca-Cola was in 1894 at the Biedenharn Candy Company in Vicksburg.
- Greenwood is home to Viking Range Corporation, where visitors can enjoy demonstration- style or hands-on lessons in a complete Viking kitchen at the Viking Cooking School.
- There are more engineering Ph.D.’s per capita in Vicksburg, Mississippi than any other city in the United States.
- Vicksburg National Cemetery is the second largest in the nation
- Vicksburg is home to the most haunted house in Mississippi—McRaven
- Vicksburg is home to the most public art in Mississippi.
- The artwork in the Vicksburg National Military Park is estimated to be worth over $4 billion.
- Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor sold shoes for the first time as a pair in 1884 in Vicksburg.
- 1902 While on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County (just north of Vicksburg), President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous teddy bear. This is documented at the Onward Store in Onward, Miss.
- The tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the new year began in 1863 when the town of Vicksburg ran out of food while under attack, but the residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered “lucky”.
- The first European to see the MS river was Hernando deSoto in 1541 in DeSoto County.
- Hernando MS was once known as the Wedding Capitol of the World due to all of the marriages preformed there.
- John Grisham began writing his first book A Time to Kill while sitting outside the court room doors at the Hernando Court house.
- John Grisham gratuated from Southven HS and was practicing law in Southaven when he wrote his first book A Time to Kill
- Brussels’s Bonsai in Olive Branch MS is the nation’s largest grower and importer of bonsai trees
- Elvis and Pricialla Presley spent part of their honeymoon at their Circle G Ranch in DeSoto County they had purchased in the late 1960’s
- The band, North Mississippi Allstars, was formed by two brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson. They graduated from Hernando HS.