They are hot and spicy. Always fresh.
And people flock to the Hot Tamale Capital of the World – Greenville, Mississippi – every fall to get them. Meaning you may want to start making plans now for a great getaway.
While the food and music are enough to bring you in, the impact the Delta Hot Tamale Festival has on affordable housing, community revitalization, business growth and more is enough to make you stay and play the entire weekend.
Here are five things you need to know about the festival, sponsored by Regions Bank.
According to the official proclamation naming Greenville the Hot Tamale Capital of the World, a Delta-style tamale is unique.
- They are simmered instead of steamed.
- Delta tamales have a gritty texture because they are made from corn meal instead of masa or corn flour.
- There is more spice.
- Some are fried.
“What is truly special about the Delta Hot Tamale Festival is the people it brings to Greenville,” said Daniel Boggs, chief executive officer of the Greater Greenville Development Foundation. “The third weekend in October is truly a time for the ‘Hospitality State’ to shine as we welcome repeat and first-time visitors from all over the world, as well as people who have moved off, to celebrate Greenville’s rich literary and culinary multi-cultural history.”
Music and Art
The festival kicks off with a welcome dinner party at Hotel 27 with food prepared by some of the South’s best chefs. After dinner, the first of many dance parties over the three-day weekend begins.
In 2022, the festival hosted three artisans for a special discussion on what inspires them. Oxford writer Jake Keiser, whose blog “Gucci to Goats” highlights her life living on a farm in Oxford, Miss., was among them. In addition, historian and author Rachel Louise Martin and painter Wyatt Waters were on the panel.
“It is a true celebration of the rich culture, stories, and heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” Boggs said.
With so many people attending, the economic impact to the rural area is incredible.
$7 million annually, according to Boggs.
The economic investment is a lifeline.
“Between the proceeds of the festival and the economic impact it has in Greenville, we can make the mission and GGDF projects work to support our future,” Boggs said. “More than that, the festival has a strong history of helping entrepreneurs hone their craft of making good tamales that turns into either a successful food truck or restaurant business. Many hot tamale restaurants in the area got their start at the festival.”
Since 2021, Regions Bank has provided $50,000 to sponsor the festival. Beyond that, the bank’s work with GGDF spans over 25 years helping the organization with financing options to support efforts to create affordable housing opportunities and revitalize the downtown business district.
“At Regions Bank, our mission is to make life better in the communities we serve, and there is no better event locally that ties directly to bank’s mission than the Delta Hot Tamale Festival,” said Walt Stephens, Mississippi Commercial Banking leader for Regions. “Our bank’s history with the Greater Greenville Development Foundation is providing additional resources to spur community revitalization, job creation and improve the quality of life for people who love this area like I do. Great things are happening in Greenville, and I’m incredibly honored that Regions Bank is an important community partner in those efforts.”
Most recently, Stephens helped the GGDF finance two affordable housing developments.
The Reserves of Gray Park and Cypress Point provide access to quality homes for people who need them most. Boggs said their design is meant to help people beyond just providing a home. These facilities are energy efficient and help keep the cost of utilities low for residents.
“We are developers who care,” Boggs said. “These are meaningful and impactful, and we couldn’t do them without the right support from Regions Bank.”
Preparations are underway for the 2023 festival – October 19-21.
It’s sure to be another great celebration. Grab a friend or a family member and make plans now to attend. A Delta-style hot tamale is waiting on you!
“I was born in the Mississippi Delta, and I am incredibly proud to represent Regions and welcome visitors to this year’s festival to see the best of what the Delta has to offer, including sampling the best tamales you’ll find anywhere,” said Ryan Strawbridge, Regions Bank Mississippi Delta market executive. “We are grateful to organizations like the Greater Greenville Development Foundation for its work to make this festival possible while also leading the area’s revitalization efforts that are making an incredible difference for the people who call the Delta home.”
Full details are available here.
For more on how Regions Bank supports the Mississippi Delta, visit the links below.