161st State Fair kicks off Wednesday afternoon

The Mississippi State Fair will celebrate 161 years when it gets underway later today.

Despite the threat of COVID-19, the annual event will continue as planned at the state fairgrounds in the Capital City.  The gates will open at 5 p.m. this afternoon following a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The fairgrounds complex covers 105 acres and under the current executive order, maximum capacity now stands at 200-people-per acre.  According to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, all gates will be monitored to ensure maximum capacity is not violated.

Visitors must continue to abide by current social distancing guidelines.  Once inside, here is what you can expect:

  • Lines to rides, games, and food vendors will have six-foot markers to help people maintain the proper distance.
  • There will be fewer food vendors.
  • Outdoor music will be properly spaced to achieve social distancing.
  • Indoor events will be limited to 25 percent occupancy.
  • Livestock barns will only be accessible to participants, family, and personnel involved in the livestock shows.
  • Hand sanitation stations will be provided throughout the fairgrounds and high touch areas and surfaces will be routinely sanitized.

All attendees are asked to have been free of any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days prior to their visit. If you have a fever, cough, upset stomach, or shortness of breath, please stay home.

Do you have to wear a mask?

All staff (Midway employees, MDAC employees, contractors, and vendors) will be required to wear masks. All participants will be required to wear face coverings upon entry. If someone shows up without a face covering, the Fairgrounds will provide a mask.  Adult and children’s sizes will be available.

What will be different?

Sadly, the “Senior American Day” Program which features special entertainment, health screenings, and health resources for older Mississippians will not be held this year.  It will however be replaced with the “All American Day” program which will feature a live stream of patriotic and programming for those who cannot attend.

School Field Day at the fair has also been canceled.  In the past, this event allowed entry to students from across the state at a reduced rate.

Message from the Commissioner

Photo courtesy of Commissioner Andy Gipson

Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson said, “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advises that people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be higher risk for severe illness from Coronavirus. Guests should evaluate their own risk in determining whether to attend. By coming to the Fair, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and utilize the guidance of the Mississippi State Department of Health and CDC.  The Mississippi State Fairgrounds wants to make sure your visit to the State Fair is a memorable and safe experience. I hope to see you there,” said Gipson.