On a recent trip to Brandon, I was fortunate to attend the 156th Mississippi State Fair in the capital city of Jackson. I visited on the last day of the 12 day event and from the huge crowds, it appeared to be a success. It is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the fairgrounds cover 100 acres. The Mississippi State Fair offers typical attractions as well as live entertainment, livestock judging, a petting zoo, and a whole plethora of rides, games, and food booths. Admission is $5 per person and parking is $5 per vehicle. Here are 8 reasons you should attend the fair:
- Games– Who doesn’t love to play games and win prizes that you’ve lived your whole life without, but all of a sudden, after seeing those big stuffed bears hanging from the colorful stands, you cannot live without. From the ring toss, balloon bust, fishing, hoop shoot, bottle breaking, water squirting, and ring the bell with the swinging of a hammer, all the classics were accounted for as well as a few new ones on me.
- Animals– The Farm Bureau petting zoo featured a nice selection of animals for both adults and children, with pellet style food available for purchase with coins in gumball dispensers and carrots for sale at a desk inside the tent. The menagerie consisted of sheep, goats, alpaca, llama, and a camel. I saw my first zedonk (cross between a zebra and donkey) and they had one of the Scottish highland cows, which was adorable! Kudos to the people who set up this exhibit for having plenty of hand sanitizing stations available outside of the tents. Do not forget all the livestock shows and competitions each day as well. See the website for schedules.
- Food & Drink– As if this was not reason enough to attend any fair or festival, the choices at the Mississippi State Fair were those of classic eats, southern favorites, and a few consisting of nothing but a heart attack on a plate based on the calorie and cholesterol intake. During our visit, we sampled the cheese bites from Penn’s, which were light and creamy. During Blake’s other visits, he tried the turkey drumstick, corn dog, deep fried oreos, and roasted corn. Crowd favorites appeared to be the chicken on a stick, ribbon fries, and funnel cakes covered with anything and everything. One of my fair favorites, sausages with onion and peppers, looked delicious but I was too full to hold them. Thirst quenchers available were fresh squeezed lemonade, slushie drinks, smoothies, sweet tea, homemade root beer, and draft beer. Penn’s gets my vote for the perfect sweet tea.
- Entertainment– The state fair offered several free concerts including Corey Smith, Bell Biv Devoe, Theory of a Deadman, and Joe Nichols. The concerts were held at the Budweiser Pavilion for no additional charge and were standing room only.
- Introduction to Agriculture– The Mississippi State Fair had the cutest exhibit showing ways to get youngsters involved in agriculture. Displays were set up to put children in the environments of caring for animals, milking cows, cleaning up animal waste, and how to saddle a horse. I hope parents took time to explore this part of the park and share this educational and informative set-up with their little ones.
- Exercise– Be sure to strap on your Fitbit before heading off to the fair. Chances are, you will be parking a long way from the entrance if the traffic was like it was for us. This is perfect for burning off calories you are sure to intake during your visit. The walk around the entire midway is easily over a mile and you may want to make several laps.
- Rides– Although the fair amusement rides were plentiful and lit up so beautifully with all their neon at night, the prices to ride were outrageous. A daily wristband was available for purchase, but some of the bigger rides took additional tickets as well. Lines on Sunday night were very long. Be sure to check the schedule for discount days and coupons. Some of the rides were the huge ferris wheel, sky ride, scrambler, and rainbow. An entire kiddie pavilion was available as well.
- Shopping– Okay, so the shopping at the Mississippi State Fair may be more like “buying stupid things that you cannot say no to” more so than something you may actually need. From the looks of all the kids walking around with bubble blowing guns, light up swords, horns, and inflatable cartoon characters, the sales were productive. Also available were clothing accessories, t-shirts (both printed and airbrushed), and handmade jewelry.
Tip: Parking is a nightmare.
Suggestion: Perhaps trash control would be helpful to keep things looking better.
Please check out our other Mississippi posts: