Bonus Story: WellsFest to aid Operation Shoestring


Special to the Advocate
The 26th WellsFest will be held Sept. 26, at Jackson’s Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, next to Smith-Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive. All proceeds go to Operation Shoestring, whose mission and programs nurture neighborhood development and family self-sufficiency in inner city Jackson.  

 WellsFest features nonstop music from some of the best bands in the Jackson area; coffee and desserts; food; soft drinks and McAlister's tea; arts and crafts shopping;  a pet parade; a plant sale; a silent auction of goods and services; and a wide variety of children's activities in a family-oriented, alcohol- and drug-free atmosphere. 

"We have come to perceive WellsFest as a gift of love to the Jackson community and to those charitable non-profit organizations who benefit as recipients of its proceeds," said the Rev. Keith Tonkel, Wells Memorial United Methodist Church pastor since 1969. "It is a day for families to get together and have a nice day for not a lot of cost."  

Robert Langford, Operation Shoestring's executive director, said, "We are honored to be the beneficiary of this awesome event. The funds raised will support educational programming for the Galloway Elementary students we serve in our Project KIDS after-school program.

“Our educational programming is designed to help kids succeed in school, and, as the data shows, increase their odds of doing well in life. Our work focuses on what's good for an individual child. And we know that what's good for one child has a positive impact on that child's family, neighborhood, and whole community. So, in a sense, while WellFest's dollars are going to Operation Shoestring, they're really being invested in the whole community. That's good for all of us, no matter which area of town in which we live.

“Operation Shoestring, Galloway Elementary and Wells have not only been community partners for over 40 years, but Shoestring actually started in the back of Wells Church."

The festivities begin with an 8 a.m. 5-kilometer run and walk followed by a one-mile fun run, both directed by the Mississippi Track Club and the Bike Rack. The start and finish are in the Smith-Wills Stadium parking lot. 

The festival and live music will kick off at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., with well known local rhythm and blues, folk blues, and original indie rock. 

Children's games, face painting, a rock climbing wall and other activities will be available by purchasing 25-cent tickets at the children's area entrance. Homemade desserts and coffee in the Geri Allen Coffeehouse, snow-cones, cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, hamburgers, sausage dogs, health foods, soft drinks, McAlister's Tea and water will be sold.

 Admission and parking are free. Wells Church receives no financial benefit from WellsFest. Net proceeds from the event go directly to Operation Shoestring.

Clicke here for more information. For more information about WellsFest, please contact Wells United Methodist Church at 601-353-0658.

WellsFest Art Night
Something different this year for art lovers is WellsFest Art Night on Sept. 22, at the Mississippi Crafts Center on Rice Road on Ridgeland. The annual art auction no longer has to compete with the WellsFest music — the live art auction now has its own night, and there is no charge for this event. The preview party begins at 6 p.m., with the live art auction at 7:30 p.m. There will be live music along with complimentary refreshments and light hors d'oeuvres. Approximately 50 pieces of art are expected to be auctioned, including works from Vicksburg artist Kennith Humphrey. 

The festival usually raises around $25,000-$35,000 for the beneficiary. For more information about WellsFest, call Wells Church at 601-353-0658.