The Philadelphia Ham Jam Arts Festival is a project of the Philadelphia Main Street Association, one of 47 programs dedicated to downtown revitalization within the state of Mississippi. The Main Street program is a national program that began in 1980 and since this time the National Main Street Center has been working with communities across the nation to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas. Based in historic preservation, the Main Street approach was developed to save historic commercial architecture and the fabric of American communities' built environment, but has become a powerful economic development tool as well. Main Street operates on a four point approach: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring.
The Philadelphia Ham Jam Arts Festival is our biggest promotional event. The first two years brought an average of 4,000 people to the downtown area for the weekend; and 2008 saw approximately 15,000 in downtown Philadelphia! There’s no better way to create energy and new life downtown than to throw a huge party! We have invited several visitors to see our town and witness our hospitality. Philadelphia has so much to offer. This is a great opportunity for our local businesses to shine. They have already taken advantage of it by sponsoring the festival, and by participating as food and art vendors. Over 200 Neshoba Countians are involved by volunteering, participating in the talent show, the Hog Wild Run/Walk or cooking in the barbecue contest. This is what it’s all about…community collaboration. Without the community, this event would not be possible. “The spirit of our community is overwhelming, we are so fortunate to have so many who care so deeply about our future. They are proud to acknowledge our past and are celebrating our future. For this, we are grateful and highly optimistic about our success," said Lisa J. Howell, former Main Street Association Director and Ham Jam Coordinator.
Don’t forget to stop by the Main Street Barbecue booth on Friday and Saturday to eat with us! This is another aspect of our fundraiser. All proceeds from Ham Jam Arts Festival are returned to our community by way of public improvements.