Bluegrass Festival Provides Sweet Sounds and Scholarships

The sounds of fiddles, banjos, and guitars echoed throughout Jackson County all afternoon. For what organizers say is the biggest bluegrass concert in South Mississippi.

"Once you hear it you just fall in love with it," Biloxi resident James Franks says.

James Franks says when you see nimble fingers, tapping toes, and energetic performers, chances are there's bluegrass in the air.

"It's wholesome music; it's American music," Franks says.

"It makes you feel like you want to dance to tell ya the truth!" Somerall resident Roberta Williamson says.

There weren't many dancers, but the 2nd Annual Vancleave Bluegrass Festival drew a crowd of all ages, all fans of the fiddle.

"It kind of puts a happy feeling in your heart and a little tap in your toe," Bluff Creek Bluegrass Festival organizer Jason Thornton says.

And, the music festival serves another purpose.

"It's just something that we wanted to do. It wasn't that we wanted to make money, because it's not about money. It's about giving back to the community," Thornton says.

Those catchy bluegrass tunes will soon turn into cold hard cash for two lucky high school seniors. Proceeds from today's festival will go toward scholarships and also benefit many other charities in the community.

"That's an avenue that will encourage kids to go on and further their education. If the next step is to go on and go to college, we want to help them do that," Thornton says.

"You get to see some great entertainment, and you know your money is going for a good cause. You can't get any better than that," Franks says.

The feel-good effects of this community festival will linger well after the last note is played.

Thornton says this weekend's festival generated about $5,000. With that money, they'll award scholarships to one East Central senior, one Vancleave senior, the Backpack Buddies charity, and several other organizations.