Covington County’s largest event is quickly approaching, and a big milestone will certainly help make sure it’s a great anniversary celebration.

Organized by the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, the Okatoma Festival in Downtown Collins began under a Mississippi Economic Council program to promote pride within communities from across Mississippi.

“Covington County native Gerald McRaney came home for the first Okatoma Festival,” Chamber Executive Director Marie Shoemake said. “A record breaking crowd turned out from all around.”

Of course, it did help to have the star known for such programs as “Simon and Simon”, “Major Dad”, “Promised Land”, and “This is Us” drawing the crowd.

“Gerald spoke praise for his hometown and Mississippi, and it made us all proud,” Shoemake said. “The Okatoma Festival received recognition from MEC, and the festival continued to grow. After three-years, MEC went another direction, but the festival was now a cornerstone event in Covington County.”

Even though they had a great jumpstart, the Chamber of Commerce and the volunteers supporting it certainly had plenty of work to complete to keep the festival fun and exciting for so many years.

“I’m amazed and excited that we’ve reached 30 years,” Shoemake said. “This is a community celebration, and it showcases what organizations have done for a year. We love to get churches and children involved, and it builds a spirit of community pride. Children grow up, and they come home for the festival. It’s a great time for people who have moved away to come back for a reunion. We get really excited this time of the year.”

For this year’s entertainment, organizers selected a country duo quickly becoming established in Nashville. According to information provided by the duo, one of Sirius XM’s prestigious picks for a “Highway Find”, Smithfield will be the Grand Marshals and featured entertainment at this year’s Okatoma Festival.

Besides the main event, there will be music and entertainment all day on two stages. There will be 20 to 25 food vendors, a car show, a children’s fair, quilt show, art contest, 5k run and fun walk, and plenty of other activities. There will be about 200 craft and artisan booths. Plus, the popular parade is back this year with the first marching step at 10:30 a.m.

The theme, noting the Okatoma Festival’s 30th anniversary and Covington County’s Bicentennial, is simply “Celebrate.”

“It’s our time to celebrate and come together,” Shoemake said. “We’re going to have something for everyone to do.”

For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce by visiting or calling (601) 765-6012.

(The News-Commercial)

Okatoma Festival Entertainment Schedule

Saturday, May 4, 2019


8:00 AM 5k Run/Walk – Collins Presbyterian Church

8:30 AM 1 Mile Children’s Fun Run for 14 and under

9:00 – 9:15 AM OPENING CEREMONIES Festival Main Stage

WELCOME President, Chamber of Commerce



NATIONAL ANTHEM Babette Duty & Susan Dean

9:00 – 9:45 Cool Water Gospel Family

9:45 – 10:30

10:30 Introduction of Mississippi Scholars

10:30 – 11:15 Okatoma Festival Parade

11:15 – 12:00 PM Jones On Stage

12:00 – 12:15

Introduction of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality

Recognition of Covington County Board of Supervisors

Recognition of Other Elected Officials

12:15 – 1:15 Smithfield

Introduction of Okatoma Festival Queens

Introduction of Other Pageant/Program Winners

1:30 – 2:30 The Funkalicious Delicious 7

2:30 – 3:30 Jo vs Giants

3:30 – 4:45 Brennan Pitts & Company

5:00 – 6:00 As You Were – Army Musical Outreach

6:00 – Jones & Pine

8:00 PM (End)

Okatoma Festival Entertainment Schedule

Saturday, May 4, 2019


10:00 – 10:30 Cross Ties

10:30 – 11:15 Okatoma Festival Parade

11:15 – 11:45 Cross Ties

12:00 – 12:30 MAIN STAGE FOCUS

12:30 – 1:00 Jessie Howell

1:00 – 2:00 Ms. Tabitha

2:00 – 3:00 Zach Koch

3:00 – 5:00 Mississippi Flush Blues Band