It’s fall festival season on the Coast! Here’s the 2019 lineup of events.

Fairs, festivals, tournaments: What to do on Mississippi Coast for summer, fall 2019

A list of upcoming events along the Mississippi Coast. Have an event? Submit it to the Sun Herald online calendar at calendar.sunherald.com.
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A list of upcoming events along the Mississippi Coast. Have an event? Submit it to the Sun Herald online calendar at calendar.sunherald.com.

It’s time to celebrate the beginning of the end of constant 90-degree days and welcome fair and festival season in South Mississippi.

Sept. 15 is the unofficial date when daytime highs begin to inch downward on the Coast, and signal it’s time for weekends of music, art, crafts, good food — and Cruisin’ The Coast.

Here’s where the best food and fun will be:

It all starts this weekend with the Biloxi Seafood Festival at the Biloxi Town Green. Officially it’s a celebration of the city’s seafood heritage, but anyone who’s been there knows it’s a time to indulge in local dishes, listen to the music and judge for yourself who makes the best gumbo in the Sun Herald’s Gumbo Championship. The festival runs from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

A 200-foot shrimp po-boy will be built and devoured at 2 p.m. Saturday and the Gumbo Championship gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. For an additional $10 fee, participants can sample the gumbo and vote for the people’s choice. Festival admission is $5; or $10 Saturday from 4-9 p.m. and $20 for come and go both days and the gumbo championship.

The 2016 Sun Herald Gumbo Championship at the Biloxi Seafood Festival brought chefs together to compete for the title of Best in Show. The winning chefs talk about what makes their recipes special.

Also this weekend, Inkin The Coast, a tattoo and arts festival, runs Friday through Sunday at Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi. Admission is $20 for a day pass, with children under 10 admitted free. Details: 228-383-2150

From 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday a Hummingbird Migration and Nature Festival flits in to Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. Admission is $8 for members, $10 for non-members and $5 for children. Details: 228-475-0825

The first Chillin’ on the Gulf Coast music, food and arts festival premiers Sept. 20-22 at the newly reopened Centennial Plaza in Gulfport. Those who haven’t yet visited Centennial Plaza since the resort opened can roam the grounds under the oak trees and see the dancing fountain. Dozens of performances are planned by artists like Cowboy Mouth, Copper Chief and Bag of Donuts, along with Southern cuisine, arts and crafts. A one-day pass is $59 for adults and $10 for children, and a 3-day pass is $150 for adults and $30 for children. Details: 800-813-6884

Paul Overstreet, who hails from Vancleave, will be the first inductee into the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame Sept. 19 in Ocean Springs to launch the 10th annual MS Songwriters Festival. Overstreet told the Sun Herald how he left Vancleave after high school in his Ford Fairlane and headed to Nashville. He’s already been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, but there’s something about being honored in front of a hometown crowd.

He’ll play a set of his best songs — he has written 27 top 10 songs like “Some Beach,” recorded by Blake Shelton, “Forever and Ever Amen,” sung by Randy Travis and winner of a Grammy for Best Country Song, and “When You Say Nothing at All,” recorded by Allison Krauss.

Tickets to the Hall of Fame concert at the Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center are free but should be reserved in advance. That concert will kick off the free Songwriters Festival Sept. 19-22 with 100 national and regional songwriters at 13 venues.

Sept. 18-21 — Hancock County Fair & Rodeo at the fairgounds, 4184 Kiln Delisle Road, Kiln. Take the kids Wednesday and Thursday, when admission is free and a carnival ride armband is $16 on Wednesday and $20 on Thursday. Friday admission is $5 and a ride armband is $20. Saturday admission is 10 and an armband is $20. Details: 228-467-5456

Sept. 21-22 — Diamondhead Arts & Crafts Show at Diamondhead City Hall, 5500 Diamondhead Circle. More than 150 art, crafts and gifts vendors and food stands. Saturday 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free admission

Sept. 27 – Splash Bash fundraiser for the Mississippi Aquarium 7-11 p.m. At Jones Park, Gulfport. Tickets are $100 and include entertainment, premium cocktails and cuisine by local restaurants and chefs. The aquarium’s ambassador animals will be there for photo ops.

Oct. 5 — Zonta Arts & Crafts Festival in Downtown Pascagoula typically brings 12,000 visitors to browse through the crafts. Details: 251-753-3443 or 228-335-1524

Oct. 5 — Ohr Fest from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at Biloxi Town Green. Themes are art, beer, music and community and there will be arts and crafts vendors, craft beer tents, homebrew competition, food vendors and a ceramic throw-down between Coast potters. Admission is free. There is a charge for access to the beer tent and 100 VIP tickets are available.

Oct. 6-13 — Cruisin’ The Coast is America’s Largest Block Party and spreads across South Mississippi, drawing cars and drivers from more than 40 states and Canada. The antique and classic cars will have stops in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gulfport, Pass Christian, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula, and where they go, spectators follow, lining U.S. 90 to watch them cruise all week.

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad owned by Dale and Teena Maddox of Sachse, Texas

Oct. 19 — Gautier Mullet & Music Festival at U.S. 90 and Dolphin Drive, Gautier. Mullet toss, arts and crafts, local cuisine, kids zone, car and boat show, fishing rodeo, live music. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free admission. Details: 228-215-0828

Oct. 19-20 — Fall Muster at Beauvoir – The Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library, 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi. Reenactors will set up camp and stage battles twice a day on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $12.50, military/seniors $10, children $7.50, children under 6 free

Oct. 18-19 — Mississippi Tea Festival at Poplarville’s Town Green aims to be a first-annual event with contests, live music and food and art vendors. It kicks off with a High Tea Event at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 with scones and more prepared by the Poplarivlle High School Culinary Arts Program along with meals for purchase. Interested vendors can get more info at sweetteafest@gmail.com.

Oct. 20-27 — Jackson County Fair at the fairgrounds in Pascagoula. Entertainment, rides, commercial booths, livestock barn, arts building

Nov. 2-3 — Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival in downtown Ocean Springs, with 400 booths and pottery, arts and crafts from artists who come from across the country.

Nov. 8-9 – Sugar Magnolia Music Festival at Hancock County Arena, 4184 Kiln Delisle Road, Kiln.

Nov. 9-10 — Mississippi Railfest at Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum, 615 Pass Road, Gulfport

Nov. 9-10 — Celtic Music Festival & Scottish Highlands Games – Nov. 9-10 at Harrison County Fairgrounds, 5321 County Farm Road, Gulfport

The 2016 Sun Herald Gumbo Championship at the Biloxi Seafood Festival brought chefs together to compete for the title of Best in Show. The winning chefs talk about what makes their recipes special.

Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.