The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Pepsi Pops concert is Friday night at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland. Image: Adam + Allie Photography

by Sherry Lucas

It came up every year, so like clockwork it became our annual ritual. There we’d be at Pepsi Pops, relaxing in festival chairs and snacking on our picnic, and that lovely music would waft out over the park and over the water, caressing our ears like the spring breeze at dusk. Then that same music would reach the children at the park, enticing them to dance on the grass in front of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra with the sheer joy of being alive and out there.

We’d turn to each other and one of us would say, “Next year, we’ve got to bring kids.” And the other one would say, “Do you know any we could rent?” And we’d laugh and turn back to the scene that other folks’ tykes were making so delightful.

Watching the children leap and run, wiggle and wave is as much a part of the concert as the soaring melodies and finale of fireworks. So, take the family when you go — especially the little ones.

Also, look closely here — plenty more opportunities for family fun, solo fun and group fun on the weekend landscape ahead.

Find out more about north Mississippi blues and its godfather Fred McDowell at Wednesday’s History Is Lunch: “The Blues According to Fred McDowell,” noon to 1 p.m. at the Winter Archives and History Building. There, Scott Barretta and Joe York will screen  their documentary “Shake ‘Em Down: The Blues According to Fred McDowell,” spotlighting the artist who was a key influence on the music of the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, R.L. Burnside and North Mississippi Allstars. It’s free. The film will also be shown 7 p.m. June 1 at Hal & Mal’s, as part of the “Best of the Oxford Film Festival” event, a collaboration with Crossroads Film Festival.

Fred McDowell, left, is pictured with Johnny Woods. A film on the blues musician is the highlight of Wednesday’s History Is Lunch. Image: George Mitchell

This week’s reasons to visit the Mississippi Craft Center include Let’s Do Lunch! Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with featured speaker Malcolm White sharing the Mississippi story of hot tamales and comeback sauce. Those faves are on the menu, too, so if you want lunch, $20, reserve a spot ASAP by calling 601-856-7546. While you’re there, enjoy the exhibit ‘366 Days: A Year in the Life Artistic” in the George Berry Gallery, a project by ceramic artist Rebecca Ziemer to create a small and smile-worthy clay creature daily in leap year 2016. Her “critter challenge” exhibit’s on display there through June 1.

Daddy Bear is among the many critters created by Rebecca Ziemer in “366 Days; A Year in the Life Artistic,” now on display at the Mississippi Craft Center. Image: Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi

Dinner & a Movie: A Food Truck Festival Thursday is the fourth annual garden party at the Mississippi Museum of Art that puts a full Third Thursday spin on the fun, 5-10 p.m. On the menu: a diverse lineup from the state’s eateries on wheels; 6 p.m. High Note Jam Concert by AJC & The Envelope Pushers; Chef Nick Wallace’s ‘sipp Sourced menu with a “Smokehouse” theme; dusk showing of “The Incredibles.” Entry is free, with food and drink available for purchase.

Dinner & a Movie: A Food Truck Festival is Thursday at the Mississippi Museum of Art

Fondren Theatre Workshop’s “Sordid Lives” wraps up its run this weekend at Scrooge’s, 5829 Ridgewood Road in Jackson, with performances of the outrageous Southern comedy at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Del Shores comedy is presented “cabaret-style” in the restaurant’s banquet room, with beverage service pre-show and during intermission. Go early to get dinner. With profanity and mature subjects, this one’s not recommended for those younger than 17. For tickets, $22-$25, visit

Juanita (Jane Waugh) and Noleta (Deenie Castleberry) have a little fun “gettin’ even” with Odell (J.C. Patterson) in Fondren Theatre Workshop’s “Sordid Lives.” Image: Harriet Matthews

Pepsi Pops at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland Friday, rescheduled to dodge last week’s rain, wraps up the pops season for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra with a splendid outdoor show that’s a family and community favorite. Park gates open at 4:30 p.m. and pre-concert entertainment strikes up at 5:15 p.m. Kids’ fun and games in the Pepsi Playground is 5-7 p.m., and the MSO shines at 7:30 p.m. with pops and patriotic faves, with a fireworks finale for dessert. Tickets are $12 advance ( or 601-960-1565), $15 at the gate, $5 kids ages 4-18.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Pepsi Pops concert is Friday night at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland. Image: Adam + Allie Photography

Jackson Greekfest, three delicious days of Greek food, music, dancing and festivities Friday through Sunday at Holy Trinity — St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church (Pear Orchard at Old Canton Road), celebrates all aspects of Greek culture. Here’s what to find there: authentic Greek food (delivery and drive-through only) 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday and live music 5-10 p.m. Friday; Saturday festivities 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. that include professional Greek dancers and DJ, Greek sweets and treats and authentic Greek food, a Greek marketplace, kids area and church tours, and more of the same 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The festival is free. A VIP event Saturday includes lunch and a Q&A with with “The Bachelor” finalist Corinne Olympics; VIP passes are on sale at

Professional Greek dancers and DJ, Greek sweets and treats and authentic Greek food, a Greek marketplace, kids area and church tours, and more at Saturday’s Greekfest. Image: Jackson Greekfest

Local food grabs the spotlight Friday in a celebration with farmers and chefs at Lane of Lanterns, a farm-to-table benefit for the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum Foundation. Centered in the 1920s-era Small Town, Mississippi, on the museum grounds, the event promises a magical night with some of Jackson’s finest chefs featuring dishes featuring local farm products, with the farmers on hand to share their stories. Grab a signature cocktail, browse the silent auction and enjoy jazz from The Sessions while you’re there. Tickets are $40 advance (visit the museum or, $50 at the gate. Proceeds will benefit rebuilding efforts from the 2014 fire and future museum improvements.

Lane of Lanterns is Friday night at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Image: Ag Museum

Go ahead, monkey around this weekend, and scamper on through the summer. That precious primate Curious George is at the center of fun at the Mississippi Children’s Museum Saturday with the opening of the exhibit “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious.” Through Sept. 10, the exhibit will introduce children to the world of Curious George as well as engage visitors in a fun STEM-based adventure that inspires kids’ natural curiosity. Mississippi Public Broadcasting will bring buddy Curious George to Saturday’s grand opening, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as free books, stickers and more. The exhibit officially opens to the public at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The exhibit “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!” opens Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. Image: Mississippi Children’s Museum

Or, be the dinosaur. Seriously. “Be the Dinosaur: Life in the Cretaceous,” opening Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science fuses video game technology with traditional exhibit components for a complex restoration of dinosaurs and their world. Full-size dinosaur bones, a paleontology field station, Safari jeep and more are part of the fun, as visitors explore the mysteries of a lost world. Artificially intelligent, scientifically accurate dinosaurs with muscle, nervous, sensory and digestive systems are included, with simulation technology and easy-to-use controls. The exhibit remains on display through Dec. 30.

“Be the Dinosaur: Life in the Cretaceous” opens Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Image: Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

The Mississippi Boychoir’s free spring concert, “Celebrating Mississippi with Music,” 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Jackson, showcases the musical styles and Mississippi musicians who’ve shaped our culture and touched the world, in honor of this year’s bicentennial of Mississippi statehood. Jackson State University’s Harlan Zackery will share a presentation on the history of music in Mississippi at the concert. A reception and in-house auditions will follow the free performance.

The Mississippi Boychoir’s annual Spring Concert is Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral. Image: Mississippi Boychoir.

Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 33 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. Reach her at

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