By Elijah Mangum
The 163rd annual Mississippi State Fair began Thursday at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson with the largest opening crowd in years.
The fair had 85 food vendors and 65 rides including six new rides. “The Great American Wild West Show” has been added which features reenactments of Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and Native American dancers. There was also a Frontier Village, a petting zoo, pig races, a big top circus, an agriculture expo located in the trade mart building and separate ticketed events over the weekend.
“It’s all about Mississippi families. This event brings together all kinds of Mississippi families for great family fun,” said Andy Gipson, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.
One of these Mississippi families were the Pollmans of Jackson who enjoyed the fun atmosphere.
“We love it here! We love the food, the rides, and mostly the food,” said Alex Pollman.
New security protocols were put in place to ensure guests have fun while being safe. Upon entering, Guests will be subject to metal detectors and bag searches. No one under the age of 18 will be allowed to enter the fairgrounds after 9 p.m. unless they are unaccompanied by an adult. Guests may have to show a form of ID to enforce this measure.
The old armory building has become a command center for all the event’s agencies. Agencies included Department of Homeland Security Mississippi, Mississippi Highway Patrol, K-9s from the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau, Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Capitol Police, Jackson Police Department and Pearl Police Department.
“Everyone has one goal to keep people safe. It is to keep the bad guys out of here and make sure the good folks can enjoy a great time at the state fair,” said Commissioner Gipson.
These new policies come after shots were fired by teens at the Mudbug Festival last May.
The Mississippi State Fair will run through Sunday Oct. 16.