Crowds are pouring into the 164th annual Mississippi State Fair for both old and new attractions with the same security protocols as last year.
“There are only seven ways to get into this fair,” said Agricultural Commissioner Andy Gipson. “With every way, you go through metal detectors. We recognize the right to concealed carry for law abiding citizens, but anyone is trying to slip something in and up to no good, they won’t even try going through the metal detectors. It worked last year and we expect it to continue to work.”
Law enforcement agencies from across the state as well as private security worked together to further ensure an overwhelming police presence.
Gipson also addressed concerns families still have over the safety of the fairgrounds.
“Everyone who comes to the fair should know it’s safe to come and bring their family,” said Gipson. “I’m here every day with my family. We have to do what it takes to keep events going and traditions alive.”
Organizing fair is not only part of Gipson’s responsibilities as commissioner, but he also has personal family ties to the event.
“My parents met at the Mississippi State Fair. I probably would not exist without the fair,” said Gipson.
There is a similar connection for Bobbie Spikes of Madison, who has attended the fair with her husband Karry and their children every year.
“The fair has a special meaning to us,” said Spikes. “My parents met at the state fair in 1945. She was 18 and he was 28. They got married the next year. They always made sure we went to this fair every single year. As we grew up, it was a part of our life.”
In addition to the yearly rides and food, American Idol auditions were held at the fair with the top five advancing to have a chance to compete on the main show. There has also been concerts, comedy acts and a mini Dixie National Rodeo running through the week.
The fair began on October 5 and will run through October 15.