There are a lot of perks that come along with the fall season and festivals are definitely one of them. The cooler fall weather means that we Mississippians can finally go outside without succumbing to heat stroke, and what better way to spend the day outdoors than surrounded by great food, live music and fun for the entire family? So, just to get your festival season started off right, we put together this list of some of the best in the state.
1. Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival, Greenville
Celebrate the state’s rich heritage at this Delta festival, which is considered one of the nation’s most significant musical events. Scheduled for September 17th, the festival includes a ton of live performances, vendors, food booths, and contests.
2. Mississippi Pecan Festival, Richton
Although Fulmer’s Farmstead is a must visit year-round, you’ll definitely want to head to the farm during its annual Pecan Festival, which will be held September 23rd – 25th. The 3-day long affair includes over 250 craft vendors and a variety of family events, including draft horse farming demonstrations, the mule pull, fiddling contest, “purtiest” rooster contest, quilt contest, wheel pottery, dulcimer makers, knife makers, wood carvers, beauty contest, live music, and the “south’s finest foods.”
3. Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day Festival, Carrollton
One of Mississippi’s oldest towns, Carrollton is full of buildings from yesteryear, and the city’s annual Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day Festival is a great time to see these architectural gems. Visit Carrollton during the 2-day festival, which is scheduled for September 30th – October 1st, and tour historic homes and churches, including the J.Z. George Library (pictured).
4. Loblolly Festival, Laurel
Held every year on the first Saturday in October, this small town festival is big on fun. During the annual event Laurel’s downtown area is full of booths set up by artists, crafters, and vendors, great food, and contests.
5. Cruisin’ the Coast, Biloxi
Each year, thousands of antique, classic, and hot rod vehicles make their way to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast for this weeklong festival. Scheduled for October 2nd – 9th, the event includes cruise-ins, headline bands, a variety of live entertainment, swap meet, auction, and more.
6. Sweet Potato Festival, Vardaman
As the “Sweet Potato Capital of the World,” it should come as no surprise that Vardaman hosts an annual festival dedicated to the vegetable. Scheduled for November 5th – 12th, the festival includes several food booths, featuring a variety of sweet potato dishes as well as Vardaman’s “famous chicken dinners,” arts and crafts, a 5k run, contests, antique tractor judging, and the annual auctioning of the Sweet Potato Quilt.
7. Mississippi Peanut Festival, Collins
Head to Mitchell Farms from October 1st – 2nd and experience the wonder that is the Peanut Festival. With over 75 vendors of yard art, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, arts, crafts, and an impressive variety of food, there’s definitely something for everyone.
8. French Camp Harvest Festival, French Camp
On October 8th, the French Camp historic district will celebrate “life and small town living” with its Harvest Festival. The annual event includes crafts, food, music, buggy rides, and the highlight of the festival, the Quilt and Craft Auction.
9. Delta Hot Tamale Festival, Greenville
Celebrating the Delta’s specialty, the hot tamale, this annual festival will take place from October 13th – 15th. The 3-day long affair includes a tamale cooking contest and eating contest, making it the perfect time to indulge on the food that has become synonymous with the Delta. There’s also a ton of children’s activities, a street party, festival music, live bands, and a parade.
10. Hambone Festival, Clarksdale
Each year around Halloween, the folk and fine art gallery, Hambone, opens its doors for its annual festival. The annual event is set for October 27th – October 30th and offers everything from live music and art to football and bloody Mary samples.
11. Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, Natchez
One of Natchez’s most anticipated events, this year’s Great Mississippi River Balloon Race will be held from October 14th – 16th, and offers fun for the entire family. Aside from the highlight of the festival, the hot air balloon race, there’s also games, rides, live music, and a variety of food.
12. The Grenada Afterglow Film Festival, Grenada
Scheduled for October 7th – 8th, this annual 2-day event is jam-packed with music, fine art, food, and films. Held in Grenada’s downtown area, you can spend your time watching family-friendly independent films, browsing the selection of fine art, listening to live music, or chowing down on grub from one of the many onsite food trucks or vendors.