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Greenville Blog - Local News

Delta Hot Tamale Festival Expands to Three Days

Hot Tamale Capital of the World to feature noted chefs, authors and journalists at 2013 event.

Anne Martin, Festival Co-Chair, holds up a front page article about the Delta Hot Tamale Festival in the Clarion Ledger. From left: Valarie Lee, Festival Co-Chair; Julia Reed; Mayor John Cox; Betty Lynn Cameron, Main Street Greenville Director.

Anne Martin, Festival Co-Chair, holds up a front page article about the Delta Hot Tamale Festival in the Clarion Ledger. From left: Valarie Lee, Festival Co-Chair; Julia Reed; Mayor John Cox; Betty Lynn Cameron, Main Street Greenville Director.













In only its second year, the Delta Hot Tamale Festival is expanding to three days. A book signing and a food symposium featuring a number of renowned chefs, authors and journalists are being added to the 2013 line-up. Following the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, festival organizers saw the opportunity to expand the love the Delta hot tamale. More than 5,000 people attended the 2012 festival.

Greenville native, author and self-described foodie Julia Reed is joining the festival this year in putting together the food symposium. “When I came to the festival last year to be a judge in the hot tamale cooking contest, I was blown away and wanted to get involved,” Reed said. Betty Lynn Cameron, executive director of Main Street Greenville, sponsor of the festival, says these additions will be a huge bonus to the event. The public will be able to purchase tickets to the food symposium. So far, the following journalists, authors and chefs have agreed to be on the food panels. They are:

  • Robert St. John – chef, author, restaurateur. St. John is the owner of four restaurants in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, including the Purple Parrot Café and Tabella. His eight books include the highly acclaimed cookbooks “Deep South Staples,” “Deep South Parties,” “Southern Seasons,” and “New South Grilling.” St. John also writes a weekly syndicated food/humor column that runs in newspapers throughout the region.
  • John Berendt – journalist and author. Berendt penned the bestselling novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
  • Roy Blount, Jr. – writer and humorist. He is a panelist on hit NPR show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” and columnist for Garden & Gun magazine. Blount’s books include “Crackers,” “Roy Blount’s Book of Southern Humor,” “Long Time Leaving, Dispatches from Up South,” “Alphabet Juice,” and “Feet on the Street, Rambles Around New Orleans.”
  • Robert Harling – playwright and screenwriter. Harling is the author of “Steel Magnolias,” “Soapdish,” “The First Wives Club,” and many other films, as well as the 2011/2012 ABC television show “GCB.”
  • Hank Burdine – writer and storyteller. Burdine is a contributing writer Delta magazine. He is a native Mississippi Deltan, noted sportsman, author of “Panther Tract, Wild Boar Hunting in the Mississippi Delta,” and contributor to “The Delta, Landscapes, Legends, and Legacies of Mississippi’s Most Storied Region.”
  • Regina Charbonneau – chef, author and proprietor of Twin Oaks Bed and Breakfast in Natchez. She is the author of “Regina’s Table” cookbook. Charbonneau is also the chef de cuisine on the American Queen riverboat and the Southern cooking contributor to The Atlantic Monthly’s website.
  • Dave DiBenedetto – editor-in-chief, Garden & Gun magazine. He also wrote “On the Run, An Angler’s Journey Down the Striper Coast.”
  • William Dunlap – artist and writer. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and United States embassies throughout the world. Dunlap is also a noted curator, lecturer, and journalist who has contributed to many national magazines and books, including his own “Dunlap,” an overview of his work.
  • Donald Link, chef/owner, Link Restaurant Group, New Orleans. Link’s highly regarded restaurants include Herbsaint, Cochon, Butcher, and Peche. He is also the winner of two James Beard awards for Best Chef in the South and Best Cookbook (“Real Cajun”).
  • Susan Puckett – food journalist and blogger. Puckett, a native Mississippian was long time food editor of the Atlanta Journal – Constitution. She is the author of the blog “Notes from a Hungry Traveler”, a “Cooks Tour of Mississippi” and the recently released “Eat Drink Delta –A Hungry Traveler’s Journey Through the Soul of the South.”
  • John Shelton Reed – sociologist and essayist. Reed was a founder of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was a professor for 30 years. He is the author of countless magazine articles and 18 books including, “Whistling Dixie, Dispatches from the South,” “’My Tears Spoiled My Aim’ and Other Reflections on Southern Culture,” “Holy Smoke, The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue,,” and “Dixie Bohemia, A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s.” With his wife Dale Reed, he also edited “Cornbread Nation 4, The Best of Southern Food Writing.
  • Julia Reed – author and columnist. A native of Greenville, Reed is a contributing editor at Elle Décor and Garden and Gun, where she writes a regular column. She also is a contributor to the New York Times, The Wall Street journal, Conde Nast Traveler and the websites Taigan.com and WOWOWOW.com. She just released her fourth book, “Mama Always Put Vodka in her Sangria.” Reed is also a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN.

A book signing featuring the authors is taking place at the historic Burrus House (also known as the Baby Doll house) on Hollywood Plantation in Beniot on the evening of Thursday, October 17. The food symposium will be held at the E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center in Greenville on Friday, October 18, followed that evening by the block party on Walnut Street, sponsored by the TROP Casino of Greenville. Tickets will be available to all three events. Ticket prices will be released at a later date.

The festival will kick off early Saturday morning, October 19. This year’s event will once again feature the hot tamale cooking contest, hot tamale eating contest, food demonstrations, celebrity chef’s cook-off, crowing of Miss Hot Tamale plus a wide variety of music featured on three stages throughout the day. “Who thought we would grow this fast, this quick,” exclaimed festival co-chairmen Anne Martin and Valerie Lee. Exact times of each event will be released at a later date.

For more information contact:
Betty Lynn Cameron – (662)378-3121
Valerie Lee – (662)822-4789
Anne Martin – (662)379-6867


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