By MEL RHODES
MINGUS – Mingus, Texas, is a somewhat storied place, not so much a wide spot in the road as “the Watering Hole Capitol” of the state. Of course this is all unofficial and really just a way to say the town, historically, has been flush with bars. It has been said and seldom disputed that Mingus knows how to party.
There will be plenty of party spirit down that way Saturday as the Fourth Annual Mingus Music Festival and Chili Cook-off swings into action, bringing music, fun and good chili to a Labor Day weekend crowd. But there is “method” to this particular “madness,” as proceeds go to help maintain Tri-City EMS operations in the southern reaches of the area.
“As far as the chili cook-off, everything goes to Tri-City EMS,” said event organizer Melvin Curry. “I pay for the music festival out-of-pocket, but all the cook-off stuff – and I buy guitars to auction off for them – all that money goes straight to them. And if I ever make any money, they’ll get that too. We just haven’t made money yet.”
Once a two-day affair, this year the festival is limited to one day.
“We usually have bands on Friday and Saturday,” Curry said, “but this year we’re just having bands play on Saturday. Next year, if we get more sponsorship help, we might go back to two days. We’ll kind of play that by ear.”
Curry said 500-800 people have turned out for the homegrown festival, to date. Keep in mind Mingus’ population is about 258 souls.
“The first year or two we had like 150. The next year we had 200. Last year it looked like it was going to be real good – we still had a couple hundred people; but a bunch of them went [home] because we couldn’t have the cook-off – it poured for three days.”