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‘Flying High for 100 Years’: Jackson County fair returns for centennial celebration

The Jackson County Annual Blue Ribbon Fair is happening Oct. 17-24, 2021.
Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 8:36 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:43 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Rides, games, livestock exhibitions and amazing food are back once again this year in Jackson County, and this year is set to be bigger than ever.

The Jackson County Annual Blue Ribbon Fair opened Sunday afternoon and quickly filled with families eager to enjoy the cool October air.

The fair is celebrating its 100th year anniversary after being canceled last year due to COVID-19. The weeklong centennial celebration runs Oct. 17-24, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Pascagoula.

“Things are getting back to normal, and normal in Jackson County in October is the fair,” said Dawn Jones, secretary of the Jackson County Fair Association.

The Jackson County Annual Blue Ribbon Fair is celebrating its 100th year anniversary after...
The Jackson County Annual Blue Ribbon Fair is celebrating its 100th year anniversary after being canceled last year. The fair runs Oct. 17-24, 2021.(WLOX)

The annual fair is Jackson County’s largest agricultural and entertainment event of the year and brings people from across the entire Coast together. This year’s theme marking the big anniversary is “Flying High for 100 Years.”

The rides and several vendors opened Sunday afternoon. On Monday, which is the first full day of the fair, the food booths and exhibitions will open, including the livestock barn and the display of arts and crafts.

Richard Mann, the owner of Mann’s Kettle Corn, is one of several vendors who sets up each year at the county fair. After the last year of seeing many events canceled due to the pandemic, he is excited for the upcoming week at the fair.

“Even though we came out to make money, we also make people happy because they like our kettle corn. So, we really enjoy it, and we’re gonna have fun doing it this week,” said Mann.

Richard Mann owns Mann Kettle Corn and has been a vendor at the Jackson County Fair for years.
Richard Mann owns Mann Kettle Corn and has been a vendor at the Jackson County Fair for years.(WLOX)

“Come and eat. Come and have a good time. Ride the rides. We’re open for business again, and we’re loving it,” said Jones.

After choosing to cancel the event last year due to the pandemic, the county is placing an emphasis on safety this year. The fair is also introducing a no-contact payment system for midway attractions with its Magic Money Card, which is a reloadable card that can be purchased through kiosks scattered around the fairgrounds and used to ride attractions.

“Our fair vendor for over 50 years, Vinson Amusements, has made a tremendous investment in the ‘Magic Money’ machines to reduce contact with exchange of money on the midway,” said Fair Board President Alan Smith. “Fairgoers will purchase the cards from one of 20 machines on the fairgrounds and pre-load with cash or credit/debit card.”

The cards will also be used to purchase arm bands on days where they are offered. Cards are reloadable using the “Magic Money” app or visiting a machine.

Masks are also recommended, although not required, and rides will be sanitized frequently. Other safety precautions new to the fair this year will be a 50% occupancy while inside buildings, as well as socially distanced seating at food booths and the addition of more tents to give people more space to spread out.

The weeklong celebration will feature arts and crafts, a variety of food booths, livestock displays, carnival rides and attractions, and a fireworks show on Saturday at 9pm.

Click here to see the full schedule of events for the 2021 Jackson County Blue Ribbon Fair.

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