Soul Sessions Podcast: MS Science Fest's Andrea Patterson
On today's show, Andrea Patterson is here to tell us about the Mississippi Science Fest coming up September 17.
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Yolanda: This is Soul Sessions, conversations on culture from Jackson, Mississippi. I'm your host, Yolanda Clay-Moore, bringing you a look at the people, places, and events that make us the City With Soul.
On today's show, Andrea Patterson, Senior Director of Community Relations and Marketing for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Andrea also serves in roles for the Metro Jackson Attractions Association and the media contact for the LeFleur Museum District. She's here to tell us about the Mississippi Science Fest coming up September 17.
Yolanda: Welcome to Soul Sessions, Andrea. Glad to have you on the show.
Andrea: Thanks so much for having me.
Yolanda: Now, I know you in the role at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and I know you in the role for the Metro Jackson Attractions Association, but tell me a little bit more about your role with LeFleur Museum District.
Andrea: It's one of my very favorite roles to talk about. It's been a project I've been lucky to be involved with since its conception in 2014 is when we created the district. So the LeFleur Museum District consists of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Ag & Forestry Museum, the Mississippi Children's Museum, and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' Museum of Natural Science. All four of us here in Jackson, Mississippi off of Lakeland Drive and I-55, and we joined together to collaborate. What started as just a joint ticket has grown into also joint events and promotions to encourage visitors to enjoy our district here for award-winning, outstanding museums within a quarter mile of each other.
Yolanda: That is awesome and a great district to kind of... I mean, it's family-oriented and it has something for everyone, whether they're the sports fan or wants to go into our agriculture, our natural resources, or even the Children's Museum, so those are great assets for our city.
But you have a very exciting event coming up, so tell us more about that.
Andrea: We do. The third weekend of September each year, the LeFleur Museum District hosts the Mississippi Science Festival, and this is going to be our seventh Mississippi Science Festival here in the district. We have three days of events on September 15, 16 and 17 and this signature event is presented by C Spire. We work together to bring the community to celebrate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math and to introduce children of all ages to a wide variety of STEM concepts and industries that are available in our state.
Yolanda: Very exciting event for our community. What can a person expect when they come?
Andrea: On the event day on Saturday, the main festival, it's a joint ticket. It's the one time a year you can pay just $10 and visit all four of these attractions on that one day. Each museum will host exhibitors from different businesses and industries across the state that reflect these STEM careers, and they all provide a hands-on, interactive activity for children and visitors to come and see.
We also have a special keynote speaker this year who will be featured on that Saturday as well, and we're proud to announce that that's going to be Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, Janet Marie Smith. She's a world-renowned baseball stadium architect from Callaway High School and Mississippi State University.
Yolanda: I've heard of her. That is awesome to have her on board for this event, and she brings the aspect of a woman in that field and a hall of famer at that.
Andrea: Absolutely. She's incredibly well known in the baseball community. Some of her most popular projects include Oriole Park at Camden Yards for Baltimore. She also worked on Fenway Park. I mean, this is one of the most impressive and nationally recognized baseball fields in Boston. And even if you can remember in Atlanta when they hosted the Olympics, they took that Atlanta stadium and they turned that into Turner Field where the Braves played for many, many years, and she was responsible and in charge of that conversion.
Yolanda: And to think she came from Callaway High School.
Yolanda: Are there any ancillary activities like food trucks or what's all involved?
Andrea: On Saturday, we will have food trucks available at each location, so we have some food trucks here on the side with the Sports Hall of Fame and the Ag Museum, another food truck over on the Children's and Science museums. Also, some of our museums offer incredible food at the museum. Those will be served that day. So the Children's Museum, you can visit the Red Rocket Cafe or you can take a walk the tasty side of agriculture with our friends at the Ag Museum and some of their incredible offerings out of the general store.
Yolanda: Tell me about the logistics like parking and anything that you know our guests need to know when they attend this event.
Andrea: When coming in Mississippi Science Festival, we do advise you to get there early. We will open up at 9 AM, and we'll have exhibitors set up ready for you, and our keynote speaker will start at 10 AM at the Sports Hall of Fame. So I recommend coming over to the Sports Hall of Fame and Ag Museum parking lot that we share here in by Smith-Wills Stadium. Go ahead and get parked there. Come to one of our two museums to start off. You can purchase a ticket at any four of the museums' front door. You could also go ahead and pre-purchase your ticket online at mississippisciencefest.org. That ticket gets you in, again, to one visit at each museum, to hear the keynote speaker as well, and it allows you to ride the shuttle. So we will have a shuttle that runs among all four museums. You can park at... say, you come start at the Sports Hall of Fame. You can park there, visit the Ag Museum, hop back on the shuttle, and go across the street, and then it'll bring you back, so it runs all day long.
Yolanda: You have been in this role for a number of years. Tell me, what would you advise if someone had 24 hours to spend in Jackson? What would that look like for you?
Andrea: Yeah, so I love to talk about some of my very favorite things to do in Jackson and to add on to those, I could... it's so hard to pick for 24 hours. But if you're a family and you're traveling to Jackson, you don't have to travel very far. If you only have 24 hours, the great thing is you could stay pretty generalized in one location and see a great piece of everything Jackson has to offer.
So, of course, I'd recommend coming to visit the LeFleur Museum District. Again, like you mentioned earlier, Yolanda, we have something for everyone, so whether what your interests are or what age you are, you can find it here in the Museum District.
And then you can hop over to Fondren and have a burger and milkshake at Brent, and you can take a walk on the museum trail right outside of the Children's and Science Museum or visit their new incredible LeFleur's Bluff Education Complex and Playground. Those would be definitely a few of my recommendations.
And then that night, you could go have a great dinner or happy hour at Saltine. Head across the street, go bowling at Highball Lanes, or catch a move at the Capri.
There's really so much to do and you barely even have to leave one road.
Yolanda: One last thing, what do you think makes Jackson a special place?
Andrea: It's very easy and it's a very common answer, but I think it's because it's true. I believe it's the people. It's the community, and it's the people. I could say it's the museum or I could say it's the food or I could say it's the activities, but we all know that it's the people behind the food and the museums and the activities that have made it what it is, and so that's why I go with the people in the community.
Yolanda: I agree. I agree.
Andrea, we thank you so much for your time today and telling us about the Mississippi Science Fest. I know that our listeners will be excited and are ready to attend. I want to thank you again for being on our show.
Andrea: Thanks for having me. We'd love to partner with the City With Soul and being right here in the center, we couldn't be more proud.
Yolanda: Soul Sessions is a production of Visit Jackson. Our executive producers are Jonathan Pettus and Dr. Rickey Thigpen. To learn more about our organization and mission, head to visitjackson.com. I'm your host, Yolanda Clay-Moore, and you've been listening to Soul Sessions.