Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Meridian Main Street's Earth's Bounty Festival — Local, Fresh, Better, was honored with a statewide award by the Mississippi Main Street Association at the group's annual awards luncheon in Jackson.
The award was accepted by Earth's Bounty Chairperson Maureen Lofton. This marked the fourth consecutive year Meridian Main Street was recognized for excellence by the statewide downtown revitalization organization.
The monthly Earth's Bounty Festival received the Best Public/Private Partnership Award in the Economic Restructuring category, which includes projects and programs that best exemplify how the public and private sectors work together to enhance downtown, boost the downtown economy, attract visitors and provide meaningful downtown opportunities for residents.
"We had no idea how the community would embrace Earth's Bounty as we began planning the series," Lofton said. "Suffice it to say it was the right idea at the right time. Our response has been overwhelming with both vendors and attendees increasing monthly."
Earth's Bounty is a collaborative effort involving Meridian Main Street; presenting sponsor, Greater Meridian Health Clinic; the city of Meridian; Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Commission; Meridian's Area Farmers' Market; and other public and private sponsors, including Peavey Electronics, Tony's Southern Sportsman, Planters Supply, Beyond Capital, Lauderdale County Farm Supply, Magnolia Beverage, Robert Barham Family Funeral Home, Mississippi State University Extension Service, J Sharp and Company, and United Health Care.
"This impressive list of sponsors demonstrates that Earth's Bounty has been embraced by all segments of our community," said Meridian Main Street Executive Director John McClure. "This public/private collaboration enjoys enormous support from our sponsors and the thousands of loyal Earth's Bounty customers. We are honored that Mississippi Main Street has chosen to recognize this wonderful series of festivals as exemplary."
"Begun during the growing season in 2012 in order to promote and support the daily Meridian Area Farmers' Market, encourage healthy eating and combat obesity, provide family-friendly shopping and entertainment, boost the downtown economy and support downtown businesses, Earth's Bounty has quickly grown into one of the premier events in the Meridian area," a Meridian Main Street press release states. "Last year's gross sales topped more than $200,000, and 2013 sales and attendance reflect significant growth from 2012 figures."
Held on the first Saturday of each month, May through October, Earth's Bounty features an abundance of fresh produce from area farmers, homemade products of all types, local entertainment, contests and demonstrations and plenty of activities for children.
A Friends of Earth's Bounty program offers supporters the opportunity to become members of the festival.