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Commissioner Andy Gipson's Report of the 2022 MS State Fair

Successful New Strategies Result in Better Experiences at the 2022 Mississippi State Fair

Hosting the Mississippi State Fair is a lot of fun! At the same time, it is a challenge. As the State’s largest public event, the Fair always attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees from every background and from every geographic corner of the Magnolia State. Whether livestock show families, 4-H and FFA youth from all 82 counties, vendors, lunch patrons, or fair attendees, the State Fair truly brings together a diverse cross section representative of all of Mississippi. People come to make family memories, and that’s what I really like about the Mississippi State Fair.

For many people the State Fair is an annual tradition they get to be a part of and pass on childhood experiences to the next generation. The State Fair is one of our largest agricultural events, and also a huge economic driver for Mississippi and the metro area. A recent study concluded the economic impact of the Fair is nearly $50 million annually. This year alone, some 519,000 people attended the Mississippi State Fair. Given that this year’s Fair was a shorter 11-day event, we nearly reached pre-pandemic attendance levels. During the Fair, our new Fairgrounds water well pumped 1.3 million gallons of fresh well water that was used for everything from making lemonade and sweet tea, to washing cattle, sheep pigs and goats.

But following the recent rise in crime in Jackson and across America, hosting events like the State Fair has become more of a challenge. I don’t have to tell anyone about the issues with crime we’ve seen in Jackson, and crime has escalated in recent years. Going into planning this year’s Mississippi State Fair, we knew we would have to create some new partnerships and adopt some new policies to curb crime while at the same time providing a safe, enjoyable atmosphere for our livestock show families and fairgoers. We were successful, and I want to tell you how.

Fairgrounds Director Michael Lasseter and our Fairgrounds Chief of Security Jimmy Herzog assembled a world class team of state, county and municipal law enforcement. I would like to personally thank each and every one of them: Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Police Department, Pearl Police Department, State Capitol Police, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau, and private security officers. These additional law enforcement resources served as a major deterrent to would-be criminals. And, when problems arose, the issues were dealt with immediately.

We adopted a new youth curfew policy requiring youth under the age of 18 to have adult supervision when entering the Fair after 9:00 p.m. And to keep bad actors and illegal weapons out of the Fair, we controlled access to the State Fair Midway by placing magnetometers at each of our seven entry points. All this resulted in keeping potential troublemakers out of the State Fair, while allowing law abiding citizens in. We did all this without sacrificing the rights of lawful citizens who choose to carry for personal protection.

While the new procedures resulted in slightly lower attendance numbers than prior years, I’m very pleased to say we accomplished our Goal for 2022: We recreated an experience of peaceful familyfriendly, fun and security at the Mississippi State Fair. For this, we owe sincere appreciation to all our staff but especially to our law enforcement and security officers.

With the success we had for the state’s largest event, I have no doubt that this same type of law enforcement presence and teamwork can be implemented on a much larger scale to restore peace and safety for the entire City of Jackson. The law-abiding people of Mississippi, including the people of Jackson, deserve nothing less for our capital city.

The MS State Fair’s Biscuit Booth

The Biscuit Booth has always been a delicious destination for fair goers each year.  Waiting in line for a free hot fluffy biscuit is an important part of the midway ritual.  For close to 50 years, employees of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) have volunteered to scratch make and bake these southern comforts, fill them with syrup and serve them piping hot with a smile– all at no charge!  This year, with flour donated by Kroger, syrup from Blackburn and buttermilk provided by Prairie Farms, almost 74,000 biscuits were made and given away at the MDAC Biscuit Booth.  It’s a delicious time-honored tradition!

biscuits

2022 Mississippi State Fair Sponsors

About the Fairgrounds

The Mississippi Fairgrounds Complex covers over 105 acres and hosts more than 700-event days per year. With various facilities for exhibitions, trade and consumer shows, you will find all the elements to make a truly successful event, along with Mississippi’s tradition of hospitality. The complex is an integral part of beautiful downtown Jackson, where the charm of the old and new South blends to form a modern city with a wealth of activities and cultural attractions. The Fairgrounds Complex is truly one of the South’s most inviting locations for practically any attraction or event.

Coliseum

This modern facility is an all-season arena with large capacity seating. The seating arrangement is one of its most versatile features where a crowd of 6,500 can view a rodeo, monster truck show or ice show. Up to 3,500 temporary seats are available for concerts.

Coliseum

This modern facility is an all-season arena with large capacity seating. The seating arrangement is one of its most versatile features where a crowd of 6,500 can view a rodeo, monster truck show or ice show. Up to 3,500 temporary seats are available for concerts.

Trade Mart

The Mississippi Trade Mart has a size of 110,000 sf. There is 63,000 sf. of column-free space that can be divided into three trade halls. The three trade halls can be configured to provide a seamless connection to the Coliseum’s 26,000 sf. arena floor, allowing for larger trade shows and events than possible in the current facility. There is also 2,500 sf. commercial kitchen with a service corridor and a lobby that features two cafes as well as a reception area for smaller events.

Trade Mart

The Mississippi Trade Mart has a size of 110,000 sf. There is 63,000 sf. of column-free space that can be divided into three trade halls. The three trade halls can be configured to provide a seamless connection to the Coliseum’s 26,000 sf. arena floor, allowing for larger trade shows and events than possible in the current facility. There is also 2,500 sf. commercial kitchen with a service corridor and a lobby that features two cafes as well as a reception area for smaller events.

Equine Center

The Equine Center is completely temperature controlled. The arena dirt floor is 260′ x 120′. There are 2,500 chair back seats and the facility is equipped with sound system and scoreboard. Stalls, pens, and exercise area are adjacent to the Equine Center.

Equine Center

The Equine Center is completely temperature controlled. The arena dirt floor is 260′ x 120′. There are 2,500 chair back seats and the facility is equipped with sound system and scoreboard. Stalls, pens, and exercise area are adjacent to the Equine Center.

Livestock Facilities

The Livestock Facilities are made up of multiple barns for small and large animal events. The facilities host a livestock Judging Arena, a Sales Arena, and Show Barns. Also, available in the barns is an indoor and outdoor wash rack, dairy parlor, and promoter office. This building is used for various horse shows, livestock competitions, and sales of all types.

Livestock Facilities

The Livestock Facilities are made up of multiple barns for small and large animal events. The facilities host a livestock Judging Arena, a Sales Arena, and Show Barns. Also, available in the barns is an indoor and outdoor wash rack, dairy parlor, and promoter office. This building is used for various horse shows, livestock competitions, and sales of all types.

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