Organizers are putting the finishing touches on Carroll County’s largest event of the year – the annual Carrollton Pilgrimage and the Pioneer Day Festival.
“Everything is on track for a great week,” said Carrollton Mayor Pam Lee, who also chairs the event.
In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the release of “The Reivers,” a movie based on a William Faulkner novel of the same name which starred Steve McQueen, this year’s pilgrimage will be a celebration of Hollywood coming to Carroll County.
Over the years, Carroll County has been the location for several movies, including the blockbuster hit “The Help” (2011). “The Reivers” (1969), which was filmed in Carrollton and in various locations around the county, was the first of many movies that have used the community’s historic charm as a backdrop for the silver screen. Other movies filmed in Carroll County are “Nightmare in Badham County” (1976), “The Minstrel Man” (1977), “Mississippi Burning” (1988), “The Sound and the Fury” (2015), and “The Duel” (2016).
“The Reivers” star Mitch Vogel will be attending this year’s event in celebration of the movie’s five decade milestone, and the famous “Winton Flyer” car will be in Carrollton as well, borrowed from the Stahls Automotive Museum in Chesterfield, Mich.
The 50th anniversary celebration continues with a special walking tour of filming locations in town as well as a special showing of the movie at the Tabernacle at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 6.
According to Carrollton Mayor Pam Lee, the town received special permission to show the film. And as seeing the annual pilgrimage is a celebration of the local community, the many “extras” from area used in the film will be recognized at the showing.
Two new houses will be on the home tour this year. Campbell Cottage, located on Highway 35 North, and the Bole House, located on County Road 316, will join the Helm House, Lum Reek, and Shadesrest, all located in town, to round out the historic home tour.
Also, Cotesworth, the ancestral home of Senator J.Z. George, a U.S. Senator and primary author of Mississippi’s 1890 constitution, and its private library will be open as part of the tour. Cotesworth is known to many outside the borders of Carroll County. It was used in filming “The Help,” “The Sound and the Fury,” and “Nightmare in Badham County.”
Tours of Cotesworth are included in the cost of the pilgrimage tour or $10 at the door.
The town’s historic churches will also be open to the public, as well as Gee’s Mercantile, Peoples Bank and Trust, the Masonic Lodge, and The Conservative building.
Organizers are expecting a large crowd Saturday for the Pioneer Day Festival on the historic Carrollton square. The square will be filled with vendors, selling everything from handcrafted items to good food. And as guests browse the various booths, live music will be performed on the courthouse lawn.
Lee said music this year will be provided by Ben Peyton Wiley and his Thundering Harp band, as well as Sam Wooden, and Jim Garrett.
Also scheduled to perform, Mississippi Storyteller Rebecca Jernigan will be telling some of William Faulkner’s other stories set in Jefferson.
Lee said in the event of rain, the music and storytelling will be moved to the courtroom on the second floor of the courthouse.
“We plan for everything,” Lee said.
Parking is available at Carrollton Baptist Church, at the Carroll Academy gymnasium, and in front of Carroll Academy at the corner of College and Halfner Street. Lee said there will be no parking on Green Street, Pelham Street, or East Washington Street.
“We know this can be an inconvenience to park so far away from the square, but our emergency vehicles have to be able to get to all of the homes, and our streets are too narrow,” Lee explained.
Lee said there is no trolley this year.
Odds and ends
• A pancake breakfast will be held at the Masonic Lodge on Saturday, October 6. Cost is $6 a person or $10 a couple. All proceeds go to benefit the lodge.
• Members of Veterans Helping Veterans will be hosting an open house at their office located in The Conservative building on the north end of the Carrollton square.
• The Carroll County Society for the Preservation of the Antiquities is selling souvenir booklets first printed by the society following the filming of “The Reivers” 50 years ago. The entire cast of the film signed the booklet, which have been copied and are for sale for $1 each. All proceeds will go towards the society.
Guests are urged to download the Town of Carrollton’s walking tour app free of charge from The App Store or Google Play. The app, narrated by Walt Grayson, gives historic and architectural details about 25 historic places in the town of Carrollton.
The Carroll County Dulcimer Club will be performing on Saturday, October 6 at the Hart House across from the Carrollton Presbyterian Church. The Third Arrow Daughters of the American Revolution is sponsoring the hospitality room at the Hart House.
For more information about the Carrollton Pilgrimage, vendor registration, ticket information, or how you can be involved, call Lee at 662-237-6910 or visit VisitCarrolltonMS.com.