The Mississippi State Fair opens their doors Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. Here’s a quick look at what visitors can expect to see at the fair.
Rick Reno, executive director of the fair said they will be having over 60 rides to choose from on the mile-long midway and they have spared no expense when it comes to safety.
“The first step is, we follow all of the Mississippi state compliance rules, that’s the first step,” said Rick Reno, Executive Director of the Mississippi State Fair. “The second step is NAME, which is our carnival provider, they have their rules and regulations that they have to follow to come into the state and they do that, then the third step, we go beyond that. We hire an independent safety company that goes in which we pay for out of our budget and then we have them come in after NAME does theirs, they follow right behind them and then do their own inspection, so basically it’s three-tier.”
The safety is not all about the rides either.
“We have put together a command center that we are really looking to provide the safest situation we can for all our people,” said Reno. “Unfortunately, in the world today, there are people out there that want to do bad things and we can’t foresee or stop everything, but we are doing the very best we can to provide the safest, friendliest, and most fun-filled environment that we can for our people.”
Fairgoers can expect to see law enforcement out and about at the fair making sure that everyone is safe. Reno said that law enforcement officers from five different agencies will all be on hand to provide safety.
Reno added that he enjoys the Mississippi state fair because it has held on to tradition.
“A lot of the southern fairs have gotten away from the livestock and the agricultural part of their fairs and this fair has not,” said Reno. “In fact, we’ve continued to grow it and our entries have gotten larger and larger and we’ve made a concerted effort in the last three years to really try to improve the aesthetics and the entrances to these areas to hi-light what these young people are doing.”
As for his favorite part of the fair, Reno said he enjoys the simple things, like talking to the vendors and fairgoers.
“I like just talking to the people,” said Reno. “Even if they have a, I’ll just use the word complaint, because I want to hear it. I can’t fix it if I don’t know what it is and that is one of the things that we have prided ourselves on in the last three years, is to try to fix things.”
This year, Reno said the fair will be done in memory of Costas Pavlou, one of the Mississippi State Fair’s biggest fans and supporters. Pavlou was a fixture at the fair for over 30 years with his booth, Costa’s Place where visitors would enjoy his food and beverages.