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The Mississippi State Fair is officially underway. Here’s what you need to know

State Fair
Photo courtesy of the MDAC

The highly-anticipated Mississippi State Fair is officially underway.

From Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 15, attendees will be able to enjoy a wide variety of events and entertainment suitable for people of all ages.

“The Mississippi State Fair is a time-honored tradition that showcases all the best livestock exhibitions, local artists and attractions, exciting shows, and southern-style foods that our state has to offer,”  Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson said. “Under the leadership of Mississippi State Fairgrounds Director Michael Lasseter, our fairgrounds staff has worked tirelessly to ensure the 164th State Fair will be bigger, better, and safer than ever.”

Below is a rundown of what you need to know before attending the fair.

Fair rides

At the fairgrounds will be a wide variety of rides for all ages to enjoy. The children’s area will feature popular, slower-paced amusement hits in the Fun Slide, Bumble Bees, and the Bear Affair. For those looking for a thrill, rides such as the Ring of Fire, Remix, and Pharaoh’s Fury, will be on the grounds to get the adrenaline rushing. The typical fair rides — ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and sky ride — will also be on-site for attendees to enjoy.

Entertainment lineup
  • Thursday, October 5 – Grammy-nominated country music star Josh Turner will perform as part of his “Long Black Train 20th Anniversary Tour” following his opening act, Mississippi native and winner of The Voice Todd Tilghman.
  • Sunday, October 8 – Line Dance with Cupid, a special dance concert featuring R&B vocalist Cupid. The concert will remain open to the public from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 12 – Mississippian Walker Wilson will open for up-and-coming country music star ERNEST.
  • Friday, October 13 – Mississippi native and comedian Rita Brent will provide a comedy show for the public, along with JJ Williamson, Kerwin Claiborne, Marvin Hunter, and DJ Koolaid.
  • Saturday, October 14 – Motown and R&B artists, The Commodores, will perform following their opening act, Four Washington.
  • Sunday, October 15 – The last headliner to perform will be Grammy-nominated Christian solo artist Jeremy Camp. Mississippi native Kayla Berry will open.
American Idol

For the first time ever, the Mississippi State Fair will host a competition to recruit talent for the hit TV show, American Idol, inside the Mississippi Coliseum. The semifinal competition between the top 40 auditions will be held on Monday, October 9, at 6:00 p.m. The top 20 contestants will then advance to the finals on Tuesday, October 10, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The final five artists chosen through this process will win a VIP Executive Producer Audition. Both singing competitions will be open to the public with fair admission and a ticket, which will be available for purchase at the Coliseum Box Office.

Beauty pageant and talent show

The Mississippi State Fair Beauty Pageant will take place Friday, October 6, at 4:00 p.m.. The Mississippi State Fair Talent Show will be on Saturday, October 7, at 2:00 p.m.. Both events will be held inside the coliseum.

Rodeo

The Tri-State Rodeo will be held inside the Kirk Fordice Equine Center October 7-8. Senior American Day, which features live entertainment, muffins, coffee, door prizes, vendors, and a health fair, will be held on Wednesday, October 11, at 9:00 a.m. Returning to the Kirk Fordice Equine Center will be the Horse, Mule, and Pony Pull on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14.

Livestock shows
  • Saturday, October 7
    • Junior Market Steer Show (8 a.m.)  — Judging Arena (Two rings – Progress Steers on one side and Prospect Steers on the other side); steers released after showing
    • Junior Commercial Beef Heifer Show (8 a.m.) — Judging Arena (two rings); Start 15 minutes after Market Steer Show; heifers released after showing
    • Junior Lamb Shows Barn 8 (1 p.m.) — Hair sheep show (showmanship; breeding hair sheep; market hair sheep) followed by lamb show (showmanship; weather dams; market lambs); all lambs released after showing

  • Sunday, October 8
    • Contest awards presentations begin (8:30 a.m.) — Judging Arena
    • Beef Showmanship (9 a.m.) — Judging Arena (two rings)
    • Junior Cattlemen’s Association Meeting (9 a.m.) — Sales Arena
    • Devotional Service (9:30 a.m.) — Sales Arena
    • Check-in for State Fair Livestock Judging Contest (2:30 p.m.) — Barn 14
    • MS State Fair Livestock Judging Contest (3 p.m.) — Barn 1
Antique car show

Dozens of some of the most historic vehicles will be on display in Trade Hall A of the Mississippi Trade Mart building. Attendees will have the opportunity to make their voices heard and cast a vote on which antique vehicle they find to be the best of the lot. A $1 donation will equal one vote with 100 percent of proceeds donated to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.

A taste of the Dixie National

Daily “Taste of the Dixie National Rodeo” shows will run throughout the duration of the fair and will include bull riding, calf scrambles, bucking broncs, live entertainment, and rodeo clowns. Special guest Forrie J. Smith, who is best known for his role as Lloyd Pierce in Yellowstone, will also make an appearance at the Taste of the Dixie National Rodeo to meet and greet fans on October 7 and 8.

Food and drinks

Fairgoers will be able to enjoy classic food and drink options fitting the occasion including footlong corndogs, freshly squeezed lemonade, turkey legs, and donut burgers. Local vendors will also be selling fan-favorite foods such as chicken on a stick, farm-raised corn, taffy, and other signature dishes. The Mississippi State Fair will continue a nearly 50-year tradition of providing free biscuits and syrup to hungry attendees at the Biscuit Booth.

Updated security measures
  • Any guest under the age of 18 seeking admission to the fairgrounds must be accompanied by a legal adult (21 or older). Any guest may be asked to show official proof of age to be admitted after 9:00 p.m.
  • When entering the Midway, all guests will proceed through one of the several entry security points utilizing a metal detector, and/or be subject to magnetic wanding.
  • All bags are subject to search. The maximum bag size that will be accepted into the Fair is 12”x12”x6”.
  • No outside food or beverage is allowed.
  • No marketing, soliciting, political, or vending items are allowed unless and as authorized under Fairground regulations.
  • No animals (other than service animals or as authorized by Fair management for Fair activities), banners, fireworks/explosives, or laser pointers are allowed.
  • Pursuant to state law, the legal carry of firearms by all lawful adults is recognized on the Mississippi Fairgrounds.
  • Exceptions and challenges to these policies will be satisfied at the discretion of Fair Management.

For more information on the 2023 Mississippi State Fair, click here.

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