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2017  Natchez Food & Wine Festival Agenda

July 28 & 29, 2017 



Friday - July 28th:

10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Mae Holyoak and Friends "Lemonade Stand" in front of

the Natchez Convention Center

This year, Mae Holyoak and her friends are celebrating a 10-year Anniversary. These dedicated young ladies began this Fundraiser at the age of 5, in hopes of raising enough money to buy “dog beds” for the Natchez Adams Humane Society Shelter.  To date they have raised close to $50,000 and have left a lasting impression for our community and four legged friends.


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Friday ~ 6:30pm to 9:30pm

“Tastings Along the Mississippi River”

$70.00 in advance

$85.00 at the door

This event sells out – Click HERE to purchase tickets in advance.

The Natchez Food & Wine Festival is honored to have Walt Grayson back this year. How could we have a Bicentennial event without Walt?

This is one of Natchez’s most anticipated annual events.  Over 700 locals and visitors intermingling among tremendously talented, internationally known Chefs and Regional Vendors.  Specialty items are showcased along with representatives from the top Wine and Beverage Brokers; as well as, Craft Beer enthusiasts and Brew Masters, including the Southern Prohibition Brewing Company from Hattiesburg, MS.  The festival room is filled with live music, laughter and top-rated delicacies.  

 Event MC'd by Walt Grayson


Walt Grayson is a 5th generation Mississippian, born and raised in Greenville. Walt's interest in broadcasting started early. His first radio job was an announcer for a Greenville station, while still in high school. His first television experience came as a weekend "fill-in Weatherman" and an occasional feature Travel Reporter; all while still working full time at Jackson's WSLI radio.

Walt joined the WLBT-TV team as a Weather Anchor in 1984; and to this day, takes viewers on a "Look Around Mississippi" weekly.  In addition, Walt is the host of Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Mississippi Roads.  

His hobbies include writing and photography and he edits all of his broadcast videos himself.  Walt also writes a monthly newspaper article for the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi's newspaper, TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI.  He is the author of four books: Jackson the Good Life, Looking Around Mississippi with Walt Grayson, Looking Around Mississippi Some MoreHis book - With Walt Grayson and Oh! That Reminds Me, More Homegrown Mississippi Stories with Walt Grayson were awarded the Mississippi Library Associations Non-Fiction Book of the Year award in 2008Walt is a member of the Associated Press MISSISSIPPI.


 Music by the global entertainer ~ DEXTER ALLEN


The great Dexter Allen, born in Crystal Springs, MS. and the son of musical Pastors Lee and Ruthie Allen, was raised on a farm and grew up understanding that life can still be wholesome with only the bare necessities. Dexter began playing the bass guitar, at the age of 12, for his father's traveling Gospel Group around the central Mississippi area.

His sweet blend of Blues, R&B, Soul and Funk landed him a deal in 1995 when he teamed up with Airtight Records, a local independent label, to share his musical and writing talents. During that time, he caught the eye of living blues legend Bobby Rush, who made Dexter the lead guitarist in his worldwide touring band. Over the years Dexter has developed a “unique guitar style” in the vein of Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page

  • In early 2008, Dexter put out his first CD where he plays guitar, bass, keyboards and sings. Later in 2008, Dexter's unique style landed him the Mississippi Music Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • In 2009, he won the Mississippi Music Awards Entertainer of the Year honor.  
  • In 2011, Dexter released his 2nd CD titled “Bluezin for Life,” going back to his roots with a host of deep Mississippi Blues originals.  
  • In 2013, Dexter was cast in the James Brown movie "Get On Up," in which he played one of Mr. Brown's musicians.  
  • In 2014, Allen was signed to Deep Rush Records, the label of icon Bobby Rush, where he released the CD titled "Bluez Of My Soul" that set him on top of the rating charts worldwide.
  • In 2015, Dexter released another new CD on the Deep Rush label titled "Trilogy Of My Blues” which continues to sell to fans worldwide. 
  • His performance on “The Source: LIVE” features an intimate moment with 83 year old Bobby Rush.
  • In Dexter’s live performances, he takes a page from classic Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page Blues Shows, entertaining in a way that takes audiences as far back as the 1920s.  

You don’t want to miss Dexter Allen’s extraordinary performance on this Friday evening.

 ** Because of the crowds, arrive early to receive your "Signature Wine Glass" for sample tastings from the Wine Brokers and Brew Masters; as well as, the chance to sample all of the top-rated delicacies.

Tickets sell early due to limited reserved seating.  To purchase tickets, click HERE


 Friday's Confirmed Chef’s: 

 Chef Participants to date – adding everyday

 Richard Sutton – St. James Cheese – New Orleans; MS Seafood Association; Rose Jones - The Castle Restaurant – Natchez; Rolling River Bistro - Natchez; The Caste Restaurant; Matthew Kajdan – Estelle Wine Bar and Bistro – Jackson; TomRamsey – Bol and Stage – Jackson; Chris Lusk - Besh’s - Caribbean Room – New Orleans; Mike Roemhild – Table 100 – Jackson; Bingo Starr – The Carriage House Restaurant – Natchez; Karen Carrier – The Beauty Shop – Memphis, TN; Meredith Pittman – Caet – Jackson;  David Ferris – Sysco; Andrew Addington – US Foods; Alex Eaton – The Manship - Jackson; Gary Hawkins – Crazy Cat – Jackson; Mike Greenhill - Walker’s - Jackson; Robert Rushton – Local 463 - Madison; Paul Adair – Livingston Mercantile - Jackson; Rick Simons – Johnnie Mae’s – Vidalia, LA; TT’s Banana Pudding – Natchez; Scott Varnado – IPO – Baton Rouge;  Indianola Pecan Company.

9:00 pm – Chef’s Party

Immediately following at Bowie’s Tavern (across the street from the Natchez Convention Center) – Your admission is included to this party with your wrist band; entertainment by

Big Al and the Heavyweights

Saturday - July 29th

1:30 PM to 3:00 PM - Wine & Cheese at The Castle (behind Dunleith)

(80 tickets) $50.00 per person

Hosted in an original 1790’s stables on the grounds of one of Mississippi’s icons, Cheese experts from St. James Cheese Company located on Magazine Street in New Orleans take you on a journey around the world showcasing some of their finest products.  Castle Manager and Cocktail Consultant Mark Brockway will provide complimentary pairing of Gallo’s premier products. 

This event sells out - To purchase your tickets in Advance, click HERE.



Saturday Afternoon Events

Saturday Tour Events are below:

Natchez has 3 unique tours to our historic rowdy river town.  A Winery, a Rum Distillery and a Brewery!  All are award winners and offer personalized tours. 

The Old South Winery featuring the finest muscadine wine in Mississippi is open Monday – SaturdayThe brewery and distillery are listed below.   


Noon until 6:00 pm – Start the tour of the Charboneau Distillery at King’s Tavern at 619 Jefferson Street.  The tours begin on the hour (every hour) and includes a complimentary Charboneau cocktail after the tour.  Charboneau Rum is the first legally distilled rum produced in Mississippi.

The Charboneau Distillery was restored by Douglas and Regina Charboneau of Natchez Mississippi. The couple purchased King's Tavern in 2013 with an intent to celebrate the art of "hand crafted" food and liquor. Doug and his son Jean-Luc have attended the American Distilling Institute's Craft Distillers Conference; and together, they are committed to bringing something different and interesting to the community. 


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       The Natchez Brewing Company Tours are available on Friday from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday from 1pm to 8pm.  The brewery is located at 207 High Street, in the heart of historic downtown Natchez, Mississippi.  The tours offer a tasting of their brews, and a personal touch into their passion.  There will be "beer specials" on Friday and Saturday. 

Tours at Natchez Brewery are $10 for a tour plus a flight of beer, or $5.00 without beer.

Lisa and Patrick Miller together share their passion of creating their own brews. Their interests led them to opening the Natchez Brewing Company. "We are proud of our city, proud of our mighty river, and proud to be brewing the first 'Natchez' beer available for distribution."


Artist Reception honoring Caroline Youngblood from Monroe, LA

Saturday 7/29 from 10am-1pm

Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries

515 Main St

Come by for a meet and greet with the talented Caroline Youngblood from Monroe, LA.  We will have a cash bar serving Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s for your enjoyment while you browse through the beautiful artwork intermingled with unique architectural salvage from throughout the region.

Also featured will be the Mississippi Blues collection by Natchez native and current Napa, CA resident ~ Peggy Smith Francis.


Julia Caroline Youngblood grew up surrounded by cotton fields on Breston Plantation, located in Riverton, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting, graduating Magna cum Laude. Youngblood pursued graduate work at Syracuse University, New York, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University with a concentration in Drawing and Painting. In July 2015, Youngblood completed her 200 hour RYT training at Shrimath Yoga (Bihar School) near Bangalore, India.


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 Saturday Evening Ticketed Events:

4:00 PM until 7:00 PM - Burgers, Brews & Bocce – Bowie's Tavern on the Bluff 

(100 Tickets) $40.00 per person 

To purchase tickets in advance, click HERE.


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Bowie’s Tavern, overlooking the Mississippi River and located along the Natchez Walking Trail, is one of Natchez’s historic Cotton warehouses.  The event will feature gourmet burgers with all the fixings, and special regional brews.  It is a great family event that makes for a great afternoon on the Mighty Mississippi.


7:30 PM - An Invitation to a Natchez Table – Main Houses

 Three premier Natchez properties host Guest Chefs, as they demonstrate their culinary artistry with special wine pairing menus, in an elegant setting.  Wine Sommeliers and mixologists team up with these great Chefs to create an amazing experience.  The three historic properties this year are Dunleith, The Elms and The Towers. 


Dunleith   (60 tickets)   $125.00 per person (all inclusive)

To purchase tickets in advance, click HERE.

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Dunleith is an exquisite 1856 Historic Inn located in the heart of Natchez.  Listed as a National Historic Landmark, it is nestled on 40 landscaped acres and is graced with original buildings dating back to 1790’s.  Dining is in the Main House.  An amazing Culinary Team consisting of The Culinary Team will be Derek Emerson of Walkers - Jackson, Philip Lopez of ROOT - New Orleans, Karen Carrier of The Beauty Shop – Memphis and Vish Bhatt of Snack Bar – Oxford.

 Dunleith Dinner Party Chefs are: 

Chef Derek Emerson of Walker's Drive Inn in Jackson

Chef Phillip Lopez of ROOT in New Orleans

Chef Karen Carrier of Beauty Shop in Memphis

Chef Mitch McCamey of Neon Pig in Tupelo

Full premium bar included Menu below:



 The Elms   (55 tickets)   $125.00 per person (all inclusive) 

To purchase tickets in advance, click HERE.



Ester Carpenter and her husband, Mark Lowrey are the fifth generation to own and live at The Elms.  Ester returned to Natchez in July 2006 to renovate and restore The Elms to its architectural place in Natchez history.  

Ester, a professional Chef, was voted one of the country’s 20 Best Women Chefs by USA Today.  For this evening event, she will team up with Chef Adam Ozga to provide an artistically creative, multi-course dinner.   

Ester is also a well-known artist, as recognized by Architectural Digest


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The Towers   (40 tickets)   $125.00 per person (all inclusive) 

To purchase tickets in advance, click HERE.


The Towers is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. James Hyland.  The home was built over three different time periods, between 1798 and 1858.  It has an intriguing history, with magnificent and rare collections; and will be shared by the owners during this evening event. 

Chef Mike Roemhild of Table 100 – Jackson, and Chef Paul Adair from Livingston Mercantile are teaming up for an amazing culinary “farm to table” experienceScott Davis of RNDC will join them to create a tasty wine pairing for each perfectly selected course.






Saturday - July 29th - 8:00 pm until

"Night of Natchez Blues" at Rolling River Bistro

This is a "non-ticketed" event with Menu pricing.  Make reservations to ensure you have seats.

 Natchez musicians have teamed up with a tremendous line up that will include a little more than just the Blues.  Bubba McCabe, Drew David, Brint Anderson and Clyde Revoir on the drums will play funk blues rock with a heavy New Orleans theme for the evening. 

** Special brews will be provided by Lazy Magnolia and Abita **

The evening will also feature a Chef Mitch Bratton and his newly converted 1969 Airstream trailer “The Cheezie Rider.”  


 Mitch grew up watching his grandmother Pat cook for family meals and holidays. He shares her love of cooking, and has turned that love into a brick and mortar restaurant on Main Street in Columbia, La., and two food trucks, Main Street Eats on The Geaux and The Cheezie Rider-Gourmet Grilled Cheese.  Operating from a converted 1969 Airstream trailer, The Cheezie Rider turns out specialty grilled cheese; as well as, Mitch's take on common Louisiana dishes.   

He and his wife, Christy, have three children, 9 year old Angela and 6 year old twins, Allen and Alex. They are currently in the process of opening Louisiana's first food truck yard in Monroe, La. 






  July 30th - Sunday Brunch/Lunch

The Natchez Food and Wine Festival is not hosting an “Official Brunch / Luncheon” this year.  The original mission of the annual festival was to bring business to Natchez at a normally slow time of year.  Therefore, we recommend that you try one of the following Sunday local favorites that support the efforts of the annual Festival.

  • The Carriage House Restaurant – A Natchez Tradition since 1946 owned and operated by Chef Bingo Starr and his wife Mary.  Enjoy a magnificent buffet from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
  • The Castle on the grounds of Historic Dunleith – Offers a buffet that contains both breakfast items; as well as, delicious luncheon items from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. 
  • The Camp at Natchez Under the Hill is casual dining with a large beer selection, overlooking the Mississippi River.