Ridgeland re-brands spring festival at Renaissance

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RIDGELAND — As outdoor activities begin to return statewide, officials here say they are looking forward to an art and wine festival slated for late April and early May.

The Ridgeland Tourism Commission, the city of Ridgeland and The Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced Art, Wine and Wheels will take place April 30 through May 2 at the Renaissance at Colony Park. 

Ridgeland Tourism Commission Executive Director Chris Chapman that they will be launching the weekend with a rebranding. She said the weekend includes the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival hosted by the Ridgeland Tourism Commission and the Natchez Trace Century Ride hosted and put on by the city. The Sante South Wine Festival benefiting The MIND Center UMMC has been postponed until 2022, but will also have a presence that weekend in the form of sampling kiosks sponsored by the event.

“We are so excited to not only unveil a new look for the weekend but to also be one of the first returning festivals in the state this year,” Chapman said. “We look forward to safely welcoming both visitors and locals to enjoy the best Ridgeland has to offer — all in one weekend.”

The weekend was announced Tuesday, March 9, at a press conference that included Ridgeland Mayor Gene F. McGee, Chapman and others.

“Over the last 12 years, this all-encompassing weekend in Ridgeland has grown to include fine arts and wine festivals with live music and great food, a 5K race and a bicycle ride that brings in hundreds of folks from all over the U.S.,” McGee said. “This is a wonderful event for the city of Ridgeland and offers such a variety of activities for people of all ages.”

Visit Ridgeland Director of Marketing & PR Savannah Tirey said that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, event partners are focused on safety. She said this comes with some changes. All events will be outdoors and socially distanced and masks, though not mandatory, will be encouraged and provided.

“The city of Ridgeland follows state guidelines, so masks will not be mandatory, but are encouraged,” she said. “We will be providing masks and hand sanitizer throughout the festival for whoever may be in need. We also have an amply spaced and open-air footprint to ensure social distancing is maintained.”

The arts festival portion has been around for about 12 years and has often been accompanied by other events, such as the Century Ride. Tirey said the event has attracted thousands of people from all over the United States.

New outdoor activities will include a kick-off party and concert on that Friday night, a pups park and food trucks. Live music for the kick-off party will be provided by Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster Band on April 30, marking the first time the event will start on a Friday evening.

Tirey said that the Sante South Sampling Palate kiosks will have a presence during the Ridgeland Fine Arts Fest, the kiosks are a part of the Sante South Wine Festival benefitting the MIND Center at UMMC as the organization has partnered with Alzheimer’s Mississippi. SSWF is currently postponed until 2022.

“After the year we’ve had, we look forward to getting outside and celebrating the best Ridgeland has to offer,” Tirey said.