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The 100th Edition of the South Mississippi Fair

This year marks a monumental year for the South Mississippi Fair as it rolls into Laurel this weekend. This marks the 100th edition of the fair, and visitors are in for a treat because the fair and the Magnolia Center staff are pulling out all the stops. There are many surprises and new treats planned for fairgoers.

Officially, the South Mississippi Fair first opened in 1917 but was not held two years, during World War II and the fall after the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, because the much of the area and fairgrounds were damaged by the storm. Despite those two absences, the South Mississippi Fair is ready to bring new thrills in this grand celebration. As part of the celebration, the skies will come alive with fireworks on Saturday, Oct. 19, and Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 9 pm, weather permitting. Otherwise, the fireworks will be rescheduled.

In honor of such a grand party, the South Mississippi fairgrounds have dusted off the grounds and spruced up several of the buildings to give a very welcome greeting to fairgoers. Several of the buildings, including the Arts Building and the Agriculture Building, have gotten a new facelift, according to Pam Holifield, special projects coordinator of the Magnolia Center and South Mississippi Fair. It was in the plans for the Art Building to be restored to its original state. The building was remolded in the 1970s with pegboard walls and a new ceiling. Once they were removed and the building was reconstructed, the maintenance crews were surprised with what they found.

“The Fair Commission maintenance staff gutted the building revealing beautiful heart pine tongue and groove walls,” Holifield said. Now, guests will be greeted to thousands of twinkling fairy lights along the gorgeous walls that will display the artwork of local students and artists throughout the Laurel and Jones County area. Also, visitors will be greeted by a beautiful barnlike makeover for the main entrance and ticket office.

Besides the new exterior, fairgoers can expect all the fun, games, music, and delicious food that they have come to love throughout the years. Carnival rides will bring joy for all ages. For the youngsters, there will be plenty of fun rides, including the Carousel, train rides, race cars, and so much more. For the adventure and thrill-seekers, there will be plenty of rides to get the heart rate up, including the Pirate Ship, Parachute Drop, the Spinner, and more.

The air will be filled with delicious scents of carnival food, and you’ll just have to have to try corn dogs, candy apples, chicken on a stick, homemade ice cream, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and any delectable treat you can imagine. Grab something good to eat while you enjoy all the entertainment that is on the schedule. There is even more entertainment than ever before.

The highlight of the fair will be Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Magnolia Center. Legendary country group Sawyer Brown will hit the stage at 8 pm, singing all of their classics from “Step that Step,” “Shakin’,” “Some Girls Do,” “Betty’s Being Bad,” and more of their greatest hits. The midway stage located on the fairgrounds will feature musical entertainment every night beginning when the gates open. There will be a petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides, a sea lion show, tractor pull, art exhibits, farming exhibits, and something to please everyone in the family.

This is one event that you simply do not want to miss! Come celebrate the 100th birthday of the South Mississippi Fair and you’re sure to have a great time with the whole family. The Fair opens Saturday, Oct. 19 and runs until Oct. 26. Admission is $5 and parking is free.


Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.


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