On the east bank of the Yazoo River sits the state’s smallest incorporated community, the Village of Satartia. The little village of 41 souls makes up for its small size with a rich history and big personality, which are being celebrated this Saturday, July 30, at the Eli-Pride of the Yazoo River Festival.
Eli, if you don’t know, is a giant catfish that lives under the Yazoo River bridge in Satartia, Mississippi.
Well, kind of. Eli was born in a bedtime story told by then-traveling salesman Daniel Brown to his young son, inspired by a stop in the day’s travels at the Satartia community store near the bridge. Encouraged by his wife, Brown wrote it down.
The story of the giant, elusive catfish under the bridge and the two local kids that set out to catch him, but instead befriended him, was initially rejected by publishers. It sat in a tucked-away box in Brown’s garage for three decades before getting published in 2019. When it finally did, Eli-The Pride of the Yazoo River won the Mom’s Choice award.
The village embraced Eli and even has a 3,500 pound wooden catfish that spans over 14 feet, sculpted by Alexander Brown of Bentonia.
The Eli-Pride of the Yazoo River festival will begin at 5 p.m. and the event is free to attend, but voluntary donations will be accepted and will help build a community flower garden.
You will want to bring chairs along to sit and enjoy the live music performances and, after dark, the fireworks display. If you have one, bring along a catfish to participate in the catfish races! Yes, catfish races.
If you don’t have your own, you can rent a catfish for $15. After the races, the fish will be released into the river under the bridge.
Meet Daniel E. Brown, the author of the award-winning book that started it all and bring your copy of Eli-Pride of the Yazoo River for an autograph.
There will be arts and crafts vendors including pottery, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and more. A selection of food trucks, including Rockin’ Pops, Green Ghost Tacos, Campter Van Coffee and Gore’s Pork Skins will be on hand. The festival will end with “the biggest fireworks show in the tiniest town” after dark.
“I can assure you, it will be a spectacular display,” Michele Harris, president of Moving Satartia Forward said to the Clarion Ledger. “It will be a very, very nice fireworks show.”
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