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The 164th annual Mississippi State Fair will return to Jackson Oct. 5 and run through Oct. 15.
One of Mississippi's biggest events of the year, people travel all over and from different states just to attend and enjoy the festivities, fair rides and most of all the fair food.
"I got to tell you, my favorite food is what I get to give out every year at the biscuit booth full of old-fashioned homemade biscuits and syrup," said Andy Gipson, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. "But I also like the classic ribeye sandwich which will be located right across from the biscuit booth, and of course funnel cakes, elephant ears and all that good stuff."
There will also be new food vendors that will be available on the midway with expanded barbecue offerings from Strings BBQ and Circle L's pork skins as well as new mini doughnuts.
This year is a little different than any other fair year. Why? Because the Mississippi State Fair will also host a talent competition to recruit singers for “American Idol” new season. The top-40 performers will showcase their talents at the competition. The competition begins Oct. 9 inside the Mississippi Coliseum.
"Everybody knows Mississippi has the best talent anywhere in the world, and this is something that is open to the public, and that I think a lot of people would want to come out and watch the talent we have here and we are excited to be a part of American Idol this year," Gipson said.
The top-20 finalists will advance to one last performance on Oct. 10th at 6 p.m. where the top five will be selected. The final five contestants in the competition will have the chance to win a VIP executive producer audition.
Emmy Award winning personality Ryan Seacrest serves as host of the popular program once aired on television.
Something else fairgoers can look forward to at this year's state fair is a taste of the Dixie National Rodeo. It runs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the weekends. It will be a miniature family friendly rodeo event that will take place in the kids' section of the state fair where the public can watch live bull-riding, live entertainment and more.
"This will be an educational event for the public to learn more about how the rodeo became rodeo events that all started on a farm," Gipson added.
The following security measures are being implemented for the 2023 Mississippi State Fair:
Beginning at 9 p.m., any guest under the age of 18 seeking admission to the Fairgrounds must be accompanied by a legal adult (21 or older). Any guest may be asked to show official proof of age to be admitted after 9 p.m. When entering the Midway, all guests will proceed through one of the seven entry security points utilizing a metal detector, and/or be subject to magnetic wanding.
All bags are subject to search. The maximum bag size that will be accepted into the Fair is 12 inches by 12 inches six inches.
No outside food or beverage allowed.
No marketing, soliciting, political, or vending items allowed unless authorized under fairground regulations.
No animals (other than service animals or as authorized by fair management for fair activities), banners, fireworks/explosives, or laser pointers allowed.
Pursuant to state law, the legal carry of firearms by all lawful adults is recognized on the Mississippi Fairgrounds.
Exceptions and challenges to these policies will be satisfied at the discretion of Fair Management.
"We have a great working relationship with the Hinds County Sheriff office, JPD, Mississippi State troopers and a lot more that will be on site and these folks really do a great job keeping everyone safe and making sure families are welcomed to be here," Gipson said. "Anybody who is up to no good, they'll stay away."
IF YOU GO:
When: Thursday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 15
Where: Mississippi State Fairgrounds, 1207 Mississippi St., Jackson
Admission: $5 at the gate and $5 parking per car. Free Admission for children 5 and under. Buses are $4 per person and $10 parking. Free admission and parking weekdays from 11a.m. to 1p.m.
Know an event coming up? Reporter Kiara Fleming can be reached via email KDFleming@jackson.gannett.com
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: What is new at the MS State Fair in Jackson?