Looking for a fun way to spend the day? Searching for the perfect family outing? Well, look no further! Mississippi hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, all of which have something special to offer. So, check out the list below to make sure you don’t miss out on some of the best festivals in the state.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Blessing of the Fleet, Biloxi
A tradition since 1929, this is one of the oldest festivals in the state. The annual festival marks the beginning of the fishing season for shrimp fishermen, and originally began as a way to celebrate one of the biggest industries on the Gulf Coast. The event is kicked off with a blessing, which is meant to invoke a safe and prosperous fishing season, and has grown to include several other events including a seafood cook-off, street party, Shrimp Queen pageant, and the coronation of a Shrimp King and Queen.
2. Elvis Festival, Tupelo
Being that Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, it should come as no surprise that the city has an annual festival in his honor. The yearly celebration includes performances by regional, national, and local artists, a Sunday Gospel Concert, and a Tribute Artist Contest which leads to the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. The fun doesn’t end with great music as the festival also includes a number of food vendors, carnival rides, a pet parade, a beauty pageant, a 5k run, disc golf, exhibits, and much more.
3. Slugburger Festival, Corinth
Pretty much every Mississippian has heard of the slugburger, but many may not know that there is actually an annual festival to honor this culinary delight. For over 20 years, crowds have gathered and the festival has grown to include live entertainment, carnival rides, the Slug market, the Slugburger Pageant, and, of course, the Major League World Slugburger Eating Competition.
4. Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia
Referred to as “Mississippi’s Giant House Party,” the Neshoba County Fair has become one of the top events in the state. Established in 1889 as a way to promote “political, agricultural, and social exchanges of knowledge and ideas,” this week long fair is unlike any other. In addition to quintessential entertainment such as carnival rides and games, the Neshoba County Fair also includes political speeches, harness horse races, an antique car parade, and more.
5. Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival, Greenville
Considered one of the nation’s most important musical events, the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival is meant to celebrate the state’s contributions to the world of music. In addition to a number of live musical performances, the event also includes a street festival, family day, and contests.
6. Cruisin’ the Coast, Biloxi
If you’re a car enthusiast, than this event is for you! Attracting people from all over the country as well as Canada and Sweden, Cruisin’ the Coast was started as a way to celebrate antique, classic, and hot rod vehicles. The festival has grown tremendously since beginning in 1996. The first year, the festival included 374 cars which, by 2014, grew to over 7,000! While the cars are the festival’s biggest attraction, Cruisin’ the Coast also features a number of vendors as well as live musical performances.
7. Market Street Festival, Columbus
For the past 16 years, the Market Street Festival has been included in the Southeast Tourism Society’s list of top events in the state. Attracting about 40,000 people on an annual basis, the two-day festival offers well over 200 arts, crafts, and food vendors, musical entertainment, and numerous activities for the entire family.
8. Pecan Festival, Richton
Pecans are a big deal here in Mississippi, so why not celebrate the delicious nut with a three-day- long festival? Held annually in September, the cool fall weather combined with the rich canopy provided by the pecan orchard creates the perfect setting for a day of outdoor fun. The family-oriented event includes a bake-off, beauty pageant, contests, mule pull, over 250 regional vendors, and live Bluegrass and Gospel music.
9. Mississippi Book Festival, Jackson
While this event was established in 2013, the first festival wasn’t held until this past August. And with over 3,700 attendees, it’s safe to say it was a success! The festival included author readings and signings, live music, and vendors. In addition to all of the activities at the Capitol, the festival also included several Library of Congress and Mississippi Library Commission presentations.
10. Tunica Rivergate Festival, Tunica
Held in April of each year as a way to kick off spring, this two-day-long festival is perfect for the entire family. From blues and country to Bluegrass and southern rock, musical entertainment is definitely not lacking. And while enjoying the great music, visitors can visit numerous vendor booths as well as indulge on delicious food including some of the best barbecue in the south and a local favorite, crawfish.
11. Spring and Fall Natchez Pilgrimage, Natchez
Held twice a year, the Natchez Pilgrimage offers visitors the chance to view antebellum mansions, most of which are private residences that are closed the remainder of the year. Tours are given by costumed guides who are either family friends or descendants of the original owners. The homes are complete with furnishings of yesteryear along with period pieces including silver, porcelain, tools, documents, and diaries, making for quite an unforgettable experience. Aside from touring homes, attendees can also enjoy musical entertainment, dancing, the Historic Natchez Pageant, and more.
12. Mississippi International Film Festival, Pearl and Jackson
Scheduled to be held this November at the Tinseltown Cinema in Pearl, this film festival aims to bring together both international and domestic films and film-makers. For the past six years, the Mississippi International Film Festival has attracted a number of well-known celebrities such as Lance Bass and Danny Glover.
13. Leland Frogfest, Leland
Established in 2011, the Leland Frogfest is held in October as a way to pay tribute to famed Muppets creator, Jim Henson. Enjoyed by adults and children alike, Frogfest includes carnival games and prizes, train rides, a bounce house, and hands-on activities for children of all ages – all of which is free! In addition to the numerous activities, visitors can spend the day shopping at on-site vendor booths as well as participate in the chili cook-off.
14. Gautier Mullet and Music Fest, Gautier
Music and mullets; does it get any better? For over 20 years, the city of Gautier has been combining the two. The result? An awesome festival that is perfect for the entire family! The two-day event offers a number of free activities including live entertainment, a kid’s area, and classic car and motorcycle show in addition to a number of vendor booths, making for a great day of fun and shopping.
The state has so many festivals, listing all of them would be nearly impossible! So, if you know of any that should be added to this list, tell us about them in the comments section below. And if you’ve been to any of these festivals, please share your share your experience below.