L-R: Paula Brahan, Mike Lopinto, James Mitchell, and Rachel Ciraldo.
President Paula Brahan presided over today’s meeting. Mike Ratliff thanked Gene Owens who gave the invocation and Joe Meador who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. He also thanked Steve Ramp and Bill Dabney for serving as our greeters today.
Wes reminded everyone to sign up to volunteer for the invocation or pledge. Visit http://rotaryofhattiesburg.com.  All links for the volunteer positions are located on the left-hand side of the page.
Today’s card draw winner was Chris Dunkley.  Chris reminded everyone that Hubfest is coming up on Saturday, April 7th.  Rotary members who volunteer will receive a Coke-Cola T-shirt with the Rotary logo on the back. He is looking for a few more volunteers.
Paula announced that she would like to have the 100th Centennial Celebration event volunteers to stay after the meeting next week.
Paula also reminded us that Governor Cathy Short will be speaking to us on April 17th.  Next Thursday, March 29, 6-8 pm, Paula is holding a potluck dinner at her house.  Everyone is to bring a covered dish. She will provide pulled pork and buns.
Ryan Kelly then introduced today’s guest speaker, Mike Lopinto. Mike helps put together Festival South each year.
FestivalSouth is Mississippi’s only multi-week, multi-genre arts festival, offering both free and ticketed events to local residents and cultural tourists. Presented by the Hattiesburg Concert Association this year’s festival is a two-week experience that you won’t forget!
Whether it’s classical, jazz, country, or gospel, FestivalSouth offers music for every age range and musical taste. Our Festival Artists bring craftsmen, artisans, and tourists together to experience unique art and sculpture exhibits from local talent. Dance events bring exciting movement to the festival, while Artie Events for kids offer activities for Festival Families. Festival South runs June 9-23 this year.
Two exciting new events in the Festival this year are the FestivalSouth Film Expo and FestivalSouth 5k. Both events are fresh and exciting additions that are sure to impress the audience!
On opening night, June 9, country music legend Mac McAnally returns to join the Festival Orchestra for a live performance of his award-winning CD, “Southbound.” The Saenger will reverberate in an evening full of great music.
The first week will have the traditional events of arts, dance, music, etc.  The second week is the Film Expo, FSFX.  It will consist of everything film based. 
The films will be played at the Grand Theatre.  The movies are written by authors from Mississippi or based in Mississippi. Some of the movies will include Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Gail Gilchriest’s “My Dog Skip,” and William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying.” 
Mike asked everyone to spread the word about this year’s FestivalSouth.  Word of mouth is the biggest advertisement and he would like to see the numbers this year surpass 20,000.
Since FestivalSouth is funded by sponsorships, event admission purchases and grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Mike asks that you make a donation, if you can.
If you want more information about the events, to purchase tickets, to sponsor or just to make a contribution to Festival South, visit www.festivalsouth.org or call 800.844.8425.
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Paula with our motto, “Service Above Self."