The World Catfish Festival, at 102 Castleman Street, Belzoni, Mississippi, has been an integral part of Mississippi Delta’s history since the 1970s. What started as a small event to celebrate the area as the catfish capital of the world has grown into a significant attraction. Now, over 10,000 people gather at the Courthouse grounds for live music, entertainment, food, kids’ activities, and, of course, catfish.
Around 60 percent of all farm-raised catfish in the United States are grown within 65 miles of Belzoni. Belzoni celebrates this fact with a catfish-themed welcome sign and fiberglass catfish sculptures dotted around the city.
Every year, they then put on the World Catfish Festival with dozens of arts and crafts vendors and thousands of attendants. If you’re looking for any excuse to head out in the RV this spring, then the World Catfish Festival may just be it.
It’s held in downtown Belzoni on public streets, making it close to tourist attractions and all life’s necessities. Visit the Yazoo River, head to the Catfish Capital museum, or even travel to the Morgan Brake National Wildlife Refuge.
If an adventure such as this one sounds like your cup of tea, then what are you waiting for? Grab your family and make your way to this award-winning festival that promises fun and fish galore.
In the past, tickets for the World Catfish Festival have been affordable for the whole family. While you can view the schedule on the festival website, you pay for your tickets upon arrival. Traditionally, these have been free for children ten and under for the full day of the festival with admission for other guests around $5. Vendor goods and entertainment may cost extra.
Your journey to the Humphreys County city of Belzoni in Mississippi is bound to be a pleasant one. Farmland spans for as far as the eye can see, with only small towns and cities breaking up the greenery for a split second.
There are also many main roads to lead you to the city with minimal hassle. Highway MS-12 brings you from the direction of Morgan Brake National Wildlife Park or Hollandale, while Highway MS-7 will lead the way from Morgan City. Highway US-49W provides a scenic route from the direction of Bellewood and Inverness.
Spring weather in the area tends to be mild, but you can stay up to date with traffic, construction, and road conditions on the MDOT app. Radio stations such as WELZ and WBYP may also provide regular updates for the area’s conditions.
Upon reaching Belzoni, you can turn off of Highway US-49W onto W. Jackson Street and then N. Hayden Street to lead you to the World Catfish Festival. You won’t miss it.
Parking in Belzoni near the festival site may be problematic due to the lack of on-street parking options available. While there may be officials to guide you to parking areas, it can be up to you to fit your big rig somewhere out of the road. It may be in your best interest to park away from the event site and walk to the festival at the start of the day.
There is no public transportation available in Belzoni, which means you will need to drive your RV to and from the township and wander on foot for the remainder of your stay. Given the conservative size of the town, you’ll likely find that traveling on foot is not an arduous task. It can even be pleasurable, allowing you to window shop at your own pace.
Given the central downtown location of the festival, onsite camping is not an option. In fact, camping in Belzoni itself can pose some challenges. Make sure you come well-prepared with cooking and camping supplies so that you can remain fully self-contained on the road and during your travels.
While there are no dedicated RV camping grounds in Belzoni, there is plenty to take your fancy on the outskirts. Within an hour’s drive of the city, there are a few different options. Yazoo City, Rolling Fork, Sidon, and Leland are a few of the many townships that will welcome you into their RV parks and resorts with open arms.
Getting around the township and event site won’t take long at all, nor will it be a challenge on foot. The festival is held downtown in the courthouse grounds, with a grassy site and central entertainment. It’s also within walking distance to the river on foot, and local eateries and shops.
When you pack your bags in anticipation of a road trip, make sure you cover all the bases. Spring weather can be erratic at best, so you can get away with a few light layers, but throw in some warmer, wintry clothing as well. Comfortable footwear is essential due to the lack of public transportation. Your shoes will be getting a workout.
Belzoni is quite isolated from many major cities, so you will need to plan well and pack everything that would be inconvenient to replace at short notice. Bring cash and credit, plenty of water, and a light backpack to carry all those arts and crafts you may wish to purchase. Leave any cumbersome items back in your RV, as you won’t get much of a chance to sit down or rush back to your RV to pick up and drop off items.
It would not be convenient to replace medical supplies and prescription medication when you’re far from home in Belzoni. It also wouldn’t be easy to try and find new toiletries, sunscreen, bug spray, and any other must-have products. Bring what you can from home to save mad rushes to track items down in local stores, and go enjoy your trip.
Rules and regulations for cooking can depend on where you stay around Belzoni. RV parks in the area, however, will allow the use of your onboard kitchen appliances. You can stock up on gas and food supplies at the supermarket in Belzoni, or the general store which is within walking distance of the festival site. When planning your trip, you may also wish to wish to plan a few meals and have them ready in your rig for easy retrieval on the road.
The beauty of such a small city or town is the proximity of everything you need. Belzoni is no exception. Once you finish trying all the fare at the festival, you can wander down to the local café, Chinese restaurant, or chain fast food outlet. Try something different than what you usually would. Consider stopping in at a local restaurant on your route into the area.
There will be plenty of food vendors at the World Catfish Festival to coax you into trying a new type of food. Don’t be afraid to tantalize your taste buds with catfish, or something else equally unique. Remember, not all vendors will accept credit, so bring cash.
The Belzoni Police Department is mere meters from the festival site, so don’t be surprised if they pop in for a visit. Security is also likely to be patrolling the streets to make sure everyone is having a good time. You may need to make your bags and person accessible if they ask to check them.
Belzoni has a humid, subtropical climate that can be both your best friend, or it can get you wet and soggy. If you plan on heading to Belzoni to the World Catfish Festival in April, then you can expect an average high in the 70s and an average low in the 50s. April often brings around 5 mm of rainfall throughout the month. While conditions in the area are not likely to be unpleasant, it wouldn’t hurt to top up all your tanks, pack extra blankets and emergency supplies, and keep an eye on your weather app before you travel.
While there may not be a dedicated first aid site at the festival, you might find basic medical supplies at the pharmacy within the center of town. There is a hospital within 35 miles of Belzoni in Greenwood. For anything urgent, dial 9-11 for assistance. The World Catfish Festival offers a small-town community feel that welcomes travelers to enjoy all the wonders of Mississippi.