What has become a staple in the Mississippi Delta’s slate of annual events — the Delta Hot Tamale Festival — will now be canceled this year.
Organized by Main Street Greenville, the highly anticipated event was scheduled for Oct. 15-17 and on the cusp of its ninth year.
However, out of concern for the health and safety of the community, vendors and attendees, Main Street Greenville has decided to go forward with planning for the 2021 Delta Hot Tamale Festival.
Gretchen Giachelli, director of Main Street Programs, said as much as they hated to cancel the festival this year, they had to make sure to keep the community, festival goers and vendors in mind when the decision was made.
“We wanted everyone to stay safe and having to follow the mask mandate if we did have it was a concern,” Giachelli said. “Some of the elderly vendors were concerned about coming out and being a part of it as well.”
As stated in a Main Street Greenville press release, all future Main Street Greenville sponsored contests associated with the festival, including the Miss Hot Tamale Contest, have also been canceled. The press release also stated all options were carefully considered, including modified versions of the festival.
“It wasn’t just one factor that went into the cancellation, there were many factors and many months of trying to figure out what was going to happen ... it wasn’t a decision that was just made and that was it, everything we took into account basically,” Giachelli said.
Main Street Greenville highlighted the “unfortunate” impact the decision will have on its local businesses along with vendors who travel to participate in the event each year, but encouraged past and future festival-goers to support those businesses at their permanent locations.
Giachelli said the organization is looking forward to next year’s Delta Hot Tamale Festival to being even bigger and better, but canceling this year’s festival was the best decision they could make to ensure everyone is as safe as possible.