This annual event is the perfect excuse to plan a fun-filled weekend in Ridgeland, Mississippi
Words by Paige Townley
For anyone who knows Ridgeland, Mississippi, there are always a plethora of reasons to plan a visit. Located midway between Memphis and New Orleans, just off the Natchez Trace Parkway, the city is a mecca for all things culinary and cultural, not to mention outdoor adventure thanks to Ridgeland’s waterfront location to the Rez, the local nickname for the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir. Adding to the allure of the southern city each spring is the annual festival that combines some of the very best of Ridgeland into one fantastic weekend event: Art, Wine and Wheels.
Art, Wine and Wheels combines three of Ridgeland’s signature events into one fabulous weekend experience. It all starts with the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, which draws some of the country’s most talented artists of all types—from clay and glass to mixed media, printmaking, painting, and sculpture—to the city for a juried art festival. Artisans at the free event will also be demonstrating their crafts, providing visitors with the opportunity to interact and learn more about each medium. Children also have a chance to get in on the creative action via a craft and activity stations situated around the event, which is hosted at Renaissance at Colony Park.
In the middle of the weekend art action is the Mind Center Santé South Food & Wine Festival, presented by Trustmark. The event first started in 2006 and has grown into the largest wine and culinary festival in the entire state. Guests to the ticketed event get to peruse and sample more than 120 wines and foods from many of Mississippi’s most well-known restaurants, even getting a signature festival wine glass to keep as a souvenir. Throughout the festival, guests also can chat directly with many winemakers on hand for the event.
Rounding out the festival weekend is the Natchez Trace Century Ride, Mississippi’s premier cycling event and one of its largest cycling events each spring. The ride offers a variety of distances for riders of all levels—from 8 to 100 miles with mild to moderate elevation—and it takes riders along the scenic drive that only the Natchez Trace Parkway can offer. More than 700 cyclists start their cycling season in Ridgeland in the Natchez Trace Century Ride each year.
This year, Art, Wine and Wheels is scheduled for Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7. Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival will run all three days, while the Mind Center Santé South Food & Wine Festival and Natchez Trace Century Ride are both planned for May 6. To learn more about the schedule of events, purchase tickets to the wine festival or register for the ride, visit artwineandwheels.com.