Downtown Crawfish Jam is one of several fun neighborhood events hosted by the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood throughout the year. It also serves as its largest fundraiser for the Walthall Foundation.
The Walthall foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit charitable foundation the neighborhood set up in 1995 for the sole purpose of restoring and preserving the Walthall School property. The Walthall Community Center and Park is an important gathering place and green space for the neighborhood.
"It improves the overall livability and appearance of our neighborhood," said Neighborhood Association representative Tara Poole. "What most people don't realize is that Walthall Park is a private park, owned by the Neighborhood Association. It is not a city park. It costs the neighborhood association more than $10,000 annually to maintain the Walthall Community Center and Park. In 2016, renting out the Walthall Community Center brought in less than $1000 of revenue, and our HOA dues only bring in about $2,500 annually. The only other source of revenue we have to fund the mission of the Walthall Foundation is the funds raised by our neighborhood events."
This year's Downtown Crawfish Jam is presented in part by Southern Beverage Co., Budweiser and Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association. This annual music event takes place Saturday, April 21. This pay-one-price music festival features an exciting mix of musical acts – featuring four all-girl bands – including Abigail Lenz-Allen’s Sugarmouth, Eden Brent, Maggie Koerner and the Original Pinettes brass band. There’s also all-you-can-eat crawfish, burgers, hot dogs, Coke products and cold beer.
The festival will kick off this year at 8 a.m. with the fifth annual USM CPSG's (Council Psychology Student Government)Voodoo (Zombie) 5K run, beginning in downtown Hattiesburg and ending at Walthall Park at 9:30 a.m., prior to the start of the Downtown Crawfish Jam. A Kids Zone with various slides and jumps for kids of all ages will be on site, lending to the family-friendly atmosphere. Also available in the kids zone will be Bop's Frozen Custard selling ice cream and snow cone vendors.
“Pets, tents and coolers will not be allowed in this year,” said Brian Saffle, DCJ chairman. “Rain or shine the event will happen, but we are all praying for a beautiful spring day.”
Parking for this year’s event will be made easier as well, thanks to Sacred Heart School and Grove Transit. Parking will be available at the Sacred Heart High School campus located at the corner of West Pine and Second Avenue, as well as the church parking lot. Grove Transit will shuttle people throughout the day back and forth between the parking lots and the Walthall Park. There will be limited parking on the streets in the neighborhood.
For more information, visit www.DCJ-hburg.blogspot.com or Facebook.