There is no better jelly than mayhaw. And there’s no better place to get you some than at the 34th annual festival on May 8 & 9th, 2015, in Marion.
The Festival begin in 1982 and is now sponsored by the Marion Fire Department. The Mayhaw Festival is held on the second weekend of May each year, usually falling on Mother’s Day weekend. So, just what is a mayhaw? For our northern neighbors, a definition may be in order. The mayhaw tree is in the Hawthorn family, a distant cousin of the rose. It grows near streams and swamplands bearing fruit that looks like small crabapples. The mayhaw is found in the Southern United States from East Texas to the panhandle of Florida. The heaviest concentrations of native mayhaw trees are found in Grant Parish, Louisiana, near Winnie, Texas and in the Pearl river swamps of Mississippi. But we’ve got plenty of them around the Ouachita River bottoms and surrounding area right here in northeast Louisiana. The mild difficulty of harvesting wild mayhaw fruit (better have your boat handy) is more than made up for by the distinct flavor of the jams, jellies, wines, and cakes derived from this unassuming southern delight. One taste and you will understand why we devote and entire festival to this fruit!
Friday night kicks off the festival with a street dance in the parking lot of Marion State Bank. Bring lawn chairs and dancing shoes to in on the fun! If you are not one for dancing, don’t worry, there is plenty of food available provided by early vendors. Saturday’s festivities begin with a parade. Four wheelers, horses, floats, and golf carts are all welcome. Bring the kids early to catch all the action with fire trucks, police cars, the Barak Shriners in their mini cars, and local businesses tossing candy from floats. Throughout the day on Saturday, the crowd is entertained by various singers, dancers, cloggers, choirs, and other talent. Activities for all ages are happening all day! A turkey calling contest, horseshoe tournament, mayhaw spitting contest, egg toss, mayhaw jelly cooking contest, a treasure hunt, and a talent show are just a handful of the activities you can participate in. You do not want to miss the lawnmower races where high performance lawn mowers are pitted against each other for top prizes and, of course, bragging rights! There will be tons of arts and crafts booths for you to browse. We’ve got everything from woodworks to jewelry to candles to hand-painted items and much more. Find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Don’t forget to stop by our many food venders’ booths as well. Bar-B-Que, fried fish, chicken on a stick, sno-cones, and funnel cake to name a few dishes. Eat lunch at the festival and take some home for supper!
No matter what you are interested in, you won’t be disappointed if you come by the Mayhaw Festival. Come early, bring your family and friends, and make a day of it! You will be so glad y0u did! If you have any questions, give Marion Town Hall a call at (318) 292-4715, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm.