Mississippi State Fair marks 150th anniversary this year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Mississippi State Fair starts Wednesday and continues through Oct. 18 at the state fairgrounds in Jackson.

This year, the fair is celebrating its 150th anniversary and is being dedicated to the memory of Robert Stockett Sr., who was a member of the Mississippi State Fair Commission from 1946 to 1998. The fair is definitely the largest and most popular event in Mississippi and is the showcase of our state’s agricultural industry. 

John C. Coccaro is county Extension director. Write to him at 1100-C Grove St., Vicksburg, MS 39180 or call 601-636-5442. E-mail him at jcoccaro@ext.msstate.edu.

A special display of photos and memorabilia from the fair’s first 150 years will be in the Mississippi Trade Mart building. Patrons are invited to drop by and reminisce. While there, you might also check out the arts, crafts and cultural exhibits, including some items from Warren County’s 4-H youths, as well as blue-ribbon items from our Warren County Homemakers’ recent exhibit contest.

If you go

• The Mississippi State Fair will begin Wednesday and run through Oct. 18 at the fairgrounds in Jackson. For a full schedule and information, call 601-961-4000 or visit wwwww.mdac.state.ms.us. First, click on “Bureaus & Departments,” then “Fair Commission.”

• The Extension’s First Tuesday Gardening Series with horticulture agent Donna Beliech will be from noon to 1 p.m. this week at the Extension office, 1100-C Grove St. The topic will be Awesome Autumn Color. The program is free, and participants are asked to bring lunch.

Extension 4-H Agent Marcus Davis and I will be assisting with the 4-H and FFA livestock shows, in which Mississippi youths compete for top honors showcasing the best market and dairy cattle, sheep and swine. Of course, there are the rides, food and lots of entertainment.

As a special salute to seniors, Trustmark is sponsoring Senior American Day on Oct. 14 with a show in the coliseum featuring entertainment from nationally known musician and television star Guy Hovis, plus music from The Diamonds, Raphael Semmes and Judy Denson. On that day, show admission, fair admission and parking are free for those 50 years and older. The coliseum opens at 9 a.m., and the show begins at noon. If vaccines are available, the Mississippi State Department of Health will administer flu shots beginning at 10 a.m.

A few new events are scheduled this year, including the Mother and Daughter Look-a-Like Contest on Oct. 11, beginning at 3 p.m. on the Trade Mart Stage, the Mr. Legs Contest and the Beard Growing Contest on Oct. 17, also at the Trade Mart stage at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. The look-a-like contest is self-explanatory. The beard-growing contestants will compete for longest beard, best groomed, most unique and best beard with a costume. The Mr. Legs contest will recognize the fellows with the longest, skinniest, shortest and hairiest legs. Judges will also select a Mr. Legs Champion. Those contests should be quite interesting, but I’m not sure they’ll attract a larger audience than the Horse and Mule Pulling Contest scheduled to begin at noon Oct. 17 in the Kirk Fordice Equine Center.

Children 12 and younger have the opportunity to get free admission into the fair by going to the Web site, www.msfair.net and downloading the “150th Mississippi State Fair coloring page.” Children who color this picture and bring it to the fair Wednesday or Oct. 13 will get into the fair free.