Annual red beans and rice festival draws hundreds - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Annual red beans and rice festival draws hundreds

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By  Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

PEARL, MS (WLBT) -  Red beans and rice is a pretty simple dish with plenty of room for twists and turns in the recipe.

"(We) got a little ham hock in it.  A lot of spice, a little Tabasco just to make it taste just right," said Jack Page with Brunini Law Firm.

"Mexican cornbread completes it," said Devin Bingham.  "I got jalepenos in it, corn, all kinds of spices in it and that's what's going to make the red beans and rice so good."

Trustmark Park in Pearl was packed with families sampling the various recipes, teams embracing the Mardi Gras theme and competing for the ultimate trophy of "People's Choice."

"We have 25 booths this year.  We have law firms, hospitals, restaurants, individuals, congregations, just a mismatch of everything," said event organizer Theresa Moody.

For the 17th year folks stir, simmer and serve red beans all to benefit Stewpot Community Services in Jackson.  Each year WLBT's own Howard Ballou is part of the festivities as a judge and emcee.

"You can't say enough about their impact on people in need and how much they're doing. There are about 17 different services within Stewpot," said Red Beans and Rice emcee and WLBT anchor Howard Ballou.

"We feed people at lunch.  We have after school programs, we have counseling.  It goes on and on and on," said Stewpot Executive Director Frank Spencer.  According to Spencer, the event annually raises $60,000 to $70,000.

As long as serving up rice and beans keeps drawing crowds Stewpot can continue to serve the community with a big helping of hope.

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