JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza kicks off Friday afternoon at the Mississippi Trademart, but this year’s event is entangled in controversy.
The Extravaganza is the state’s largest outdoors show with over 300 exhibitors. Doors open Friday at 2 p.m. and the event goes all weekend long.
More than 300 exhibitors from all over North America attend the Extravaganza, marking the kick-off for fall hunting, fishing, camping, and outdoor season in Mississippi. The event is also the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s largest fundraiser.
- Adults: $10
- Children 6-12: $5
- Children 5 and under: Free
- Weekend Pass: $20
- Friday, August 2: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.
- Saturday, August 3: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- Sunday, August 4: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
This year’s event is mired in controversy after dozens of vendors have pulled out from participating over the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s decision to deny a Mississippi Delta farmer, who was hoping to spread awareness about backwater flooding issues, the right to purchase a booth.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is one of the major vendors that has pulled out of the event.
The Federation has come out vocally saying they aren’t in favor of building pumps, but rather a plan to mitigate wetlands.
Victora Darden, who applied for the booth, said, “I do feel like we were singled out. I don’t know why you would deny a Mississippi group that has a large issue in the state to not be there to speak out.”
M.W.F. board member Elizabeth Barber said, “We want everyone to come. It is something that does impact us and we’re going to see it. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about our position and the fact that we had members in the lower Delta that had been impacted.”
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation says Victoria Darden’s initial application was denied because they had a waiting list. They’ve since offered to provide a booth for her.
Darden says she’s going, but will be at the Mississippi AG booth.
Friday, the MWF released a statement saying they will be donating a portion of the proceeds to charities benefiting the Delta and those affected by the flooding.
“The Mississippi Wildlife Federation is saddened by the continued flooding in the South Delta and the impacts to wildlife, businesses and people. We are a charity organization of Mississippians, run by Mississippians, and working to conserve Mississippi’s natural resources and protect our wildlife legacy. Whenever Mississippians suffer such devastating flooding, we grieve for the victims and are committed to supporting efforts to help the south Delta.
“At this year’s Wildlife Extravaganza, we are proud to join with our members and supporters in the small business community by donating a portion of the proceeds to charities benefiting the Delta and those affected by the flooding. We will donate 10% of admissions to the “Wildlife Relief Fund in the South Delta.” The Mississippi Wildlife Federation also will continue to work with our Hunter’s Harvest processors to provide meat to needy families and will seek to increase those efforts in the Delta.
“Please join us in helping these efforts by supporting the businesses who are supporting the Delta relief.”