The first Harrison County fair in more than 80 years is underway through Sunday.
From the action-filled midway rides and carnival games to the sticky sweetness of cotton candy and caramel apples, the county fair promises to delight the senses and build memories that will last a lifetime. In addition to the rides, special events throughout the weekend include livestock shows, a petting zoo, pony rides, laser tag and exhibits such as quilting and pickling.
Justin Skinner, president of the Harrison County Fair Association, said organizing the event was a year-long labor of love.
“Nineteen thirty-seven was the last year we found on record of a county fair,” Skinner said. “It’s been in the works since November of last year, and it’s a dream I’ve had for the past two years.”
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On Friday night, guests can enjoy the thrills of the TNT Tri-State Rodeo.
On Saturday, guests can see the Coast from high above the fairgrounds in hot air balloon rides from 2 p.m. to sunset. The rides are being presented by Coast Electric. Rides are $10 per person and all proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association.
Other attractions on Saturday include a classic car show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., a barbecue contest at 1:30 p.m., sheep herding at 6:45 p.m., and a sunset story time at 7 p.m. Also, a cornhole tournament, held from noon to 5 p.m., will offer a top prize of $1,000.
On Sunday, a Sept. 11 memorial will include a lunch at 1 p.m. for first-responders, a 9/11 tribute at 2 p.m., and a VA pinning ceremony at 3 p.m. Also on Sunday, the 5D Rodeo Exhibition will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the rodeo from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Little Mr. & Miss Harrison County pageant will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 0 to 11.
The top music draw is country music headliner Frank Foster and special guest Josh Thompson. Thompson will open the show at 9:15 p.m. and Foster will play at 10:30 a.m. Foster is a Louisiana native who is touring in support of his fifth album, “Boots On the Ground.” Fans can expect to hear his hits “Southern Man” and “Outlaw Angel.” Tickets are $25 general admission and $40 VIP, available online at harrisoncountymsfair.com.
There will be many great free acts throughout the weekend, also. On Friday night, Ross Grisham will play at 7 p.m., Ryan Broshear will play at 7:30 p.m. and Trent Ladner will play at 10:30 p.m. Saturday’s lineup also includes the Gary Young Band at 5 p.m. and Lainey Wilson at 7:15 p.m.. Sunday’s lineup starts at 2 p.m. with New District, followed by Southern Halo at 4 p.m., Jake Thibodeaux at 6 p.m. and the Jason Miller Band at 8 p.m.
Hours are Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-midnight. and Sunday from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. The midway opens at 3 p.m. Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is free, but organizers are asking for donations of $5 or canned goods for local food banks.
The fairgrounds are located at 15321 County Farm Rd., Gulfport.