It’s time for authentic festivals and fairs in ‘The True South’

The Annual Mississippi Watermelon Festival in Mize next week is just one of the many events across the state this summer. ( photo)

Special to The Mississippi Link

JACKSON – One of the great traditions of summer in the True South is to attend an outdoor festival or fair for a taste of the diverse cultural heritage displayed across Mississippi.

Many of these are annual events that draw locals and visitors alike to enjoy long-standing traditions.

The Annual Mississippi Watermelon Festival in Mize next week is just one of the many events across the state this summer. ( photo)

“Throughout the summer, there are so many unique festivals and fairs taking place in communities across Mississippi that showcase the authentic sights and sounds of our state’s Southern culture.” said Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division.“ Now is a great time to plan a trip and experience the True South’s most interesting events of the summer.”

Following is a sampling of the entertaining festivals and fairs you can experience this summer in Mississippi:

64th Annual Choctaw Indian Fair, Choctaw, July 10-13 Enjoy four fun-filled days in Choctaw, near Philadelphia, where Choctaw tribal culture infuses each day’s activities, including tribal arts, crafts, dances, food and the action of World Championship Stickball. The Choctaw Indian Fair offers fun for young and old alike, from exhilarating rides and contests to well-known entertainment.

26th Annual Slugburger Festival, Corinth, July 11-13 Sponsored by Main Street Corinth, this unique festival named after a unique burger features a slugburger-eating contest, carnival rides, a variety of food vendors and musical performances, including the popular Slug Idol competition.

35th Annual Mississippi Watermelon Festival, Mize, July 19-20 Since 1978, the Mississippi Watermelon Festival in Mize has celebrated the delicious, ripe, world-famous Smith County watermelons. It’s a great opportunity to experience Southern hospitality at its finest and cool off with a local treat that is a hallmark of summertime.

Natchez Food and Wine Festival, Natchez, July 26-28, The Natchez Food and Wine Festival has become one of the most anticipated events in the area. With an agenda taking you from one remarkable experience to the next, you will find yourself constantly surrounded with some of the region’s most prominent chefs and restaurants, and indulged in the finest of food, wine and entertainment.

Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia, July 26-August 23 Established in 1889, the Neshoba County Fair fosters political, agricultural and social exchanges of knowledge and ideas. Home of the state’s only licensed horse track since 1922 and the nation’s largest campground fair, the fair is “Mississippi’s Giant House Party” and has been entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Rides, games, entertainment and hundreds of fair cabins provide a great atmosphere for visiting and discussing the latest political issues.

25th Annual Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival, Clarksdale, August 10-12 The first Sunflower River Blues Festival took place in 1988 and was funded primarily by Clarksdale’s downtown merchants. Since then, one of the largest blues and gospel festivals in Mississippi has grown every year to include some of best names in the business. Celebrated for its authenticity and focus on Mississippi’s musical heritage, the event features entertainment by local and nationally known blues and gospel artists and also offers lectures and seminars about music and its unique roots.

Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival, Jackson, August 16-17 On multiple stages at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, this inaugural event will be headlined by six-time Grammy Winner Dr. John and the Nite Trippers and will feature over 30 of the best R&B artists ever assembled in the Southeast, including: Laura Izibor, Mint Condition, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Zac Harmon and Grady Champion.

There are plenty of festivals and fairs to experience this summer…and the list above highlights just a few of the main events. Go to

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