The Mississippi Pecan Festival will celebrate its 35th run this coming weekend with lots to see and do. What began as a one-day event has evolved into a three-day extravaganza drawing thousands of visitors annually.
Situated on a 15-acre pecan orchard owned by Jeanette and Ken Fulmer, the festival will run Friday, September 29, through Sunday, October 1. The Perry County festival site is part of Fulmer’s Farmstead and General Store, located at 510 Wingate Road in Beaumont, five miles from Richton and five miles from New Augusta.
The family-friendly festival will feature contests, entertainment, and exhibits with 250-plus craft booths. Presenters will demonstrate broom-making, knife-making, bowl-turning, and wood-stove cooking. Music will definitely fill the air as numerous local players and vocalists are slated throughout the weekend.
Several contests with prizes and cash awards are set including a Pecan Bake-Off on Friday. Participants can enter cakes, pies, cookies, and candy with the only stipulation being the recipe must include at least one cup of pecans. On Saturday, the “purtiest rooster” contest is set at 10 a.m. A talent contest starts at noon followed by the popular mule-pull at 2 p.m. Sunday’s agenda begins with a non-denominational worship service at 8 a.m. followed by a pet contest at 10 a.m. The event ends Sunday at 5 p.m. Advance registration forms for contests and general festival information can be found online at www.fulmersfarmstead.com.
The Fulmer family started the pecan festival in 1988 and later opened Fulmer’s Farmstead and General Store on the same property. The farmstead is the cornerstone of their business. The farm grows a variety of produce and all farming is done with hand-operated or horse-drawn antique equipment. Fulmer’s General Store sells freshly grown seasonal items like onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce.
Open year-round, the store is widely known for its freshly baked, made-from-scratch breads, jams, and jellies. It also sells Amish rockers, unique kitchen utensils, flour, oatmeal, and raw sugar in bags, sizes one to 50 pounds. Plate lunches in the store’s café are sold daily Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The dining area seats 90 guests and is perfect for prayer groups and civic clubs.
Fulmer’s Farmstead is popular for school field trips and can accommodate up to 150 students. Children can watch and sometimes participate in planting and harvesting crops or cutting hay. Two century-old log cabins sit on the property and showcase women dressed in early 20th-century costumes baking biscuits on a wood-burning stove. Schoolchildren can help with the biscuit making and with churning milk into butter. Student adventures include a wagon ride and myriad farm activities depending on the season. For example, schoolchildren might bottle-feed baby goats in the spring.
Each December, the Fulmers host “Christmas in the Orchard” with carolers, musicians, wassail, and an evening meal of Cornish hens with the trimmings. Cabins are decorated for the season. Gingerbread is cooked on the wood-burning stove and a live nativity scene gives visitors pause. Horse-and-buggy rides are available and fire pits dot the landscape for roasting marshmallows.
For those who can’t attend one of the seasonal events, the store is a unique travel stop any time of year. It is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Signage along Highways 15 and 98 signal the store’s location, and the aromas of each day’s freshly baked bread signal guests to leave with a loaf.