by Alex Melnick
Arts & Life Editor
Hang in there, guys! There are only a few more weeks of the semester to go. Here are a few things to do to celebrate the truly last free weekend before final exams begin to loom in the background. Be free, be fun, enjoy Spring!
Eudora Welty’s 106th Birthday Celebration
Where: Eudora Welty House & Museum
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
How Much: Free
Why: Because every day in Mississippi is a good day to celebrate Eudora Welty, but her 106th birthday seems like an especially good day to pay homage to the great lady. And there’s free cake.
Get your literary nerd on this Friday by taking a free tour though Eudora’s home and garden, and then buying a few plants grown from her garden! (If anyone does this for me, I will fall in love with them, fair warning.) The tours will be offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. In addition, you can enjoy aforementioned free birthday cake and lemonade on the side porch and the plant sale of Welty garden perennials from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any self respecting Southern literature fan will be there.
Movies in the Park: “101 Dalmatians”
Where: Belhaven Park
When: 6 p.m.
How Much: Free
Why: Because there’s a costume contest judged by a Cruella de Vil impersonator.
It doesn’t matter how old you are—you always are down to watch a Disney movie with friends. Put those swap skills to work and come out to Belhaven Park in full “101 Dalmatians” costume. You could even win door prizes! The movie event will also feature face-painting, ice cream, and… apparently a lot of hot dogs and veggie dogs. Weird food choice, guys.
The Burning Bales w/ Jason Turner and Jacquelynn Pilcher
Where: Hal & Mal’s
When: Cocktails start at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.
How Much: $5 in advance, $10 at the door, plus a $3 surcharge for anyone under 21
Why: Because The Burning Bales are going on tour entirely through crowd-funding, which is pretty cool.
The Burning Bales consists of two impressive Mississippi natives who moved to Nashville, and are now on tour entirely through crowd-funding. They play “newgrass,” as they call it, meaning a fusion of soul, bluegrass and gospel mixed together with frequent covers of contemporary hits.
The Big Thrift Grand Opening
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: The Big Thrift, Florence Mississippi
How Much: Free! (But you might pop some tags and spend all your money at the thrift store.)
Why: The Big Thrift is an amazing idea—a thrift store where the proceeds go to the Mississippi Animal Rescue League and Mississippi Spay and Neuter. So when you shop, you directly help animal shelters!
I have a feeling I’m going to spend all my money at this one. All proceeds of the Big Thrift go toward addressing the rampant overpopulation of pets in Jackson metro area—and the subsequent heartbreaking fact that, due to overcrowding, over 70,000 cats and dogs are euthanized in Mississippi each year. A very large portion of that number comes from Jackson. The Mississippi Animal Rescue League “is the largest full service animal welfare agency in Central Mississippi,” according to its website. “MARL is the only ‘open admission’ shelter in the area,” meaning it will accept any and all animal brought in, and will not turn any animal away, regardless of situation. MARL cares for over 12,000 animals a year, and as you can see, it needs some help.
The grand opening will have oodles of free food and drinks, a selfie booth, live music from DJ Sandpaper, a chance to be on the radio during MISS103’s live broadcast of the event, and my favorite part: five-dollar-bag clothing sale! Big Thrift will also be having mystery flash sales the whole week after. Be a pal to animals in Jackson, and go buy some silly stuff at a thrift store.
Where: High Noon Café at Rainbow
When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
How Much: Free, but you have to bring a vegetarian dish.
Why: Because that much free food sounds amazing, and it’s a great way to bond with the Jackson community!
As a broke college student, I love potlucks. The concept is simple: Just make a dish, and bring it to share. In exchange, you can eat all of the other dishes brought too, and share in the joy of making friends with people in your community. Recipes will be available and the potluck is open to new chefs, rookies, and veteran veggie eaters alike.
Free Movie Screening of “Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town”
Where: Malco Grandview Theatre
When: 5 p.m.
How Much: Free
Why: Knowing the history of where you live matters.
This movie is created by a Mississippi native, and details the prolonged struggles to achieve integration in Yazoo, along with the aftermath that followed. Institutional Segregation may be abolished, but de facto segregation is far from over in Mississippi This movie is crucial viewing because it explains why so many things are the way they are in the South. The first step to fixing anything is knowing its full history.