Every day is hump day at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi as the Summer Fair continues its runs through Sunday.
The fair features midway rides, music, food and fun, but this year it also features a Camel Kingdom with more than a dozen one-hump camels daily in free shows.
The animals are raised from infancy, and in addition to being tame, they do a few tricks under the direction of Ian Garden, a longtime circus performer and trainer.
The camels parade around a ring, turn in circles, lie down and even give hugs and kisses. Throughout the show, Garden provides facts about camels and tells audiences about the care given to the animals.
Ryan Henning, a former assistant animal superintendent with Ringling Bros., created Camel Kingdom along with Garden. The Summer Fair is their debut show.
“It’s all about education and how we take care of the animals,” Henning said.
The camels come from North Africa. They aren’t all the common tan color, but also are black, brown and one is brilliant white. They chew their cud with large teeth that protrude outward. The sound they make is a lot like James Cagney’s “meh.”
The animals are curious and playful. I made friends with a few who sniffed my hands and rubbed their heads against my neck. Sitting atop one of the camels a rider is at least 8 feet off the ground. Following each show, anyone can get on a camel and ride a few circles around the ring for $10.
The Camel Kingdom is just one attraction at the Summer Fair. There are thrill rides, carnival games, a petting zoo and food booths.
Other free shows include a magic show, swine racing, live music, and a show that mixes martial arts with Christian ministry.
Hours this weekend are Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 1-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-9 p.m.
Admission is $5 Friday and Saturday, for ages 12 and older, and free to others. The event is free to all Sunday.
Hours: Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 1-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-9 p.m.
Admission: $5 Friday and Saturday, for ages 12 and older, and free to others. The event is free to all Sunday.