Main Street Batesville Annual Southern Food Festival June 2 in Downtown Batesville.




Main Street Batesville has set its annual Southern Food Festival for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 2 in downtown Batesville. The event is a celebration of traditional Southern food culture, with local chefs and restaurants presenting a signature dish. Festival-goers have the option of eating at their favorite food vendor, or buying a Punch Card (good for 5 samples, a fresh-squeezed lemonade, and a keepsake cup) in order to sample multiple dishes. Punch
card holders can then turn in their punch card to vote for their favorite food of the day.

Votes will be tallied for the year’s “Best of Batesville” award. Last year, CIX 109 took home the honor with their shrimp-and-grits recipe.

“This was a new, but instantly popular, event last year and so it will become an annual festival for the downtown,” Main Street Batesville Executive Director Shannon Haney said. “We want the food to be a reflection of the local culture, and give visitors a chance to sample local flavors.”

Also bringing “local” to the festival will be craft and business vendors, with an entire block dedicated to vendors’ wares.

The day will include live music, with performance by the 106th Army Band at 10 a.m., The Hamburger Cows band at 11 a.m., Sarah Cecil at 1 p.m., and local accordion aficionado Ed Casper at 2 p.m.

There will also be circus performers, a Keller bounce house, and a dedication of a street memorial honoring “The People’s Block” at the corner of 3rd Street and Main Street at 10 a.m.

The event is presented thanks to generous support from Peco Foods and the John Herman Hickman Foundation, as well as Future Fuel and Batesville Poultry Equipment.

For more information on the Southern Food Festival, or to request a vendor application, call Main Street Batesville at 844-462-4482 or email


Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.