Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hatchie BirdFest scheduled for May 30 - June 1

Nature enthusiasts are invited to learn more about the more than 200 species of birds that occur in West Tennessee during the second annual Hatchie BirdFest Friday, May 30 - Sunday, June 1, in Brownsville Tenn.  The free event will offer a variety of activities for all ages including hikes, educational seminars and bird related booths.

Dr. David Pitts
The BirdFest opens Friday evening at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center, Brownsville, when Dr. David Pitts will present a program on "The Hummingbirds that Nest in Our Yards." Dr. Pitts, a retired Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Martin, is a noted expert on the Eastern Bluebird. His research has also concentrated on the Carolina Chickadees, Loggerhead Shrike  and most recently Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Attendees will be allowed to ask questions during a Q&A session after the presentation.
Following Friday evening's presentation, the audience will adjourn to College Hill Center where they will be treated to refreshments and performance by the Dirt Pilgrims, a quirky, acoustic folk band from Jackson, Tenn.
Bird watching hikes on Saturday  and Sunday will be geared for both beginners and experts. Excursions will originate at the Delta Heritage Center  and will visit the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge as well as other areas in Haywood County. Hikes begin at 7 a.m. Those wishing to participate, can pre-register online at

Saturday’s speakers will include Scott Somershoe  (State Ornithologist, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency), Tara Dowdy (Park Ranger/Educator and Volunteer Coordinator for the West Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex) and Dick Preston (Member of the Memphis Chapter and State Director, Tennessee Ornithological Society). Saturday seminars will be held at the Delta Heritage Center and begin at noon. Sunday a special early morning excursion will be led by Wildlife Biologist Bob Ford.

The weekend will also include a photography exhibit and exhibitors representing the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Great Outdoors University, Tennessee Watchable Wildlife and more.

For more information about the Hatchie BirdFest and a complete schedule,  visit or call 731-779-9000.

Who will be the next deep-fried BBQ champion?

Contestants compete to see who can eat the most deep-fried barbecue bites in 10 minutes during the 2013 inaugural competition. 
Do you love barbecue? Have you tried it deep-fried? Registration is now open for those wishing to compete in this year's Deep-Fried BBQ Eating Championship. The competition will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 24, during the Exit 56 Blues Fest held at the  Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.

Drew Magruder of Brownsville, Tenn., won the title of champion last year when he was able to eat 60 deep-fried barbecue bites in 10 minutes. Magruder was among four who competed for the title during the inaugural event.
"People are always asking about our deep-fried barbecue," says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. "It's really delicious and if you're a barbecue fan, you can't help but like the deep-fried version."
Contestants must be at least 18 years of age and will have 10 minutes to eat as many deep-fried barbecue bites as possible. Water and sauce will be plentiful to help wash it down. There is a $5 entry fee and the lucky winner will receive a trophy, t-shirt and prize package. Interested parties are asked to pre-register for the competition by May 23. Complete rules and registration can be found at
Along with great barbecue, festival attendees can spend the afternoon and evening listening to the Blues. Performers such as the Bonafide Blues Band, Eric Hughes, Elam McKnight, Lorina McMinn and the Myxx and headliners Little Boys Blue will delight with their special mix of authentic Blues music.
Car enthusiasts can cruise-in from 1-3 p.m., to compete for recognition such as "Cool Chrome" "Most Likely to Get a Ticket" and 12 other fun titles. There is no entry fee and motorcycles are welcome, too.
Arts and crafts vendors will also be on site throughout the afternoon for those wanting to add a little shopping to the Blues mix. Jewelry, woodwork and paintings are just a few of the items you'll find.
Admission to the festival is free. A complete schedule is available online at