Look no further. Mississippi has plenty of festivals to keep you busy!
Story by Carlie Kollath Wells
May 1-2 | 62nd Annual Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival, Meridian
Named after the “Father of Country Music,” this festival showcases live entertainment on the lawn of Meridian City Hall. Grammy-winning bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers and singer-songwriter Jason Isbell are the headliners this year. Weekend passes are $50 at the gate. Early-bird discounts and single day passes are available.
May 1-2 | 20th Annual Market Street Festival, Columbus
Nearly 40,000 people head to downtown Columbus for this free festival, which features more than 250 arts & crafts and food vendors. The 20th annual festival’s music lineup features all-star bands and multiple headliners.
May 2 | 11th Annual Jerry Clower Festival, Yazoo City
This free festival is held downtown and is named after popular comedian Jerry Clower, AKA “The Mouth of Mississippi.” Highlights include a classic car show, arts & crafts vendors, live music and children’s activities. The main stage focuses on blues, jazz, country and gospel music.
May 14 | 7th Annual Taste of Ocean Springs Food & Wine Festival, Ocean Springs
This elegant festival under the trees at L&N Depot Plaza serves up food and drinks from 30 to 40 vendors. Chef Robert St. John and artist Wyatt Waters will do a special demonstration this year. Attendees are asked to wear black, white or red. No ties allowed. All 500 tickets sold out last year, so buy your’s early. Tickets are $50, with an extra fee for the demonstration.
May 16 | 41st Annual Annual A’Fair, Hernando
This fair on the Hernando Courthouse Square features more than 200 arts, crafts and food vendors. Booths include pottery, photography, water and oil colors, jewelry, woodcraft and knitted items. Plus, there’s live music and children’s activities. Admission is free.
May 22-25 | 33rd Annual Mississippi Memorial Day Blowout, Gulfport
This motorcycle rally at the Gulfport Dragway draws thousands of riders each year. This festival is geared toward adults and features drag races, a tattoo contest, a bikini contest and bike shows. Camping is available. Motorcycle admission starts at $40.
June 4-7 | 17th Annual Tupelo Elvis Festival, Tupelo
This festival honors its native son and features local, regional and national musicians, along with a Sunday gospel contest and a pet parade. A highlight is the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition, which is indoors and is sanctioned by Graceland. Tickets start at $17 for the competition.
June 4-7 | 86th Annual Blessing of the Fleet & Fais Do-Do, Biloxi
This festival starts off on a somber note with the Memorial Mass for Deceased Fishermen. The rest of the weekend is full of fun—a seafood cook-off for the state’s finest chefs, live music, craft vendors, local artisans and local seafood. The festival ends with a boat parade and the blessing of the fleet. Saturday’s admission is $5 for adults, free for kids. It’s free to watch the boat parade.
June 6 | 38th Annual Wathall County Dairy Festival, Tylertown
This free festival celebrates Wathall County’s dairy heritage. There’s even free ice cream and milk for festival-goers. The event takes place at Holmes Water Park and features an ice-cream eating contest, a butter-churning contest, a sack race, a tractor show, petting zoo, arts & crafts show and a flower show. There are also turtle races for the kids and a fireworks show at the end of the festival.
June 13 | 3rd Annual Hattiesburg Craft Beer Festival, Hattiesburg
Held in the Historic Hattiesburg Train Depot, this 21-and-up festival celebrates Mississippi’s burgeoning craft beer culture. It’ll have samples of more than 100 beers from local and regional breweries. General admission is $35. Designated driver tickets are $5.
June 26-27 | 10th Annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, Holly Springs
This laidback summer festival highlights Mississippi Hill Country Blues music and includes all the major contemporary artists with direct ties to R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Otha Turner. Held in an open, grassy field, the festival also offers onsite camping and picnicking. Plus, there are guitar and harmonica workshops. Day passes start at $25.
July 3-5 | 31st Annual Crab Festival, Bay St. Louis
This free festival at Our Lady of the Gulf Church celebrates the crab—boiled crabs, crab-stuffed potatoes, shrimp and crab biscuits, cheesy crab bread and all sorts of other tasty treats. It also features arts & crafts vendors, carnival rides and live music. Admission is free.
July 4 | Celebrate America Balloon Glow, Ridgeland
This free night festival outside Northpark Mall includes a concert, about 20 hot air balloons and a fireworks show.
July 9-11 | 28th Annual Slugburger Festival, Corinth
This festival celebrates the slugburger, which is a burger made with a deep-fried beef-and-soymeal patty that once sold for a nickel (then nicknamed a slug). Along with live music, a pageant and an arts & crafts market, a highlight of the festival is the World Slugburger Eating Championship. Last year’s competition set a record with 43 slugburgers in 10 minutes. Admission to the festival ranges per night but is less than $10.
July 24-26 | 15th Annual Natchez Food & Wine Festival
This festival features food and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, special dinners and educational workshops.
July 31 – Aug 1 | 2nd Annual Delta Dragon Boat Race, Greenville
This waterfront festival celebrates Chinese heritage and culture in Mississippi. The weekend kicks off with a gala Friday night that features ribbon dances, a lion dance and traditional music. On Saturday, racers take to the water in their dragon boats. Watch the race for free, or pay to participate in the action. On shore, there are events and crafts for the kids. Crafts focus on Chinese culture, such as making Chinese paper dragons.
Aug 14-15 | 3rd Annual Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival
This music festival features 35 acts on five stages at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Four of the stages are indoor with air conditioning. This year, headliners include Chaka Khan, Macy Gray, The Isley Brothers, Raheem DeVaughn, Cupid, Eddie Cotton Jr. and more. Day passes start at $40.
Aug 22 | Mississippi Book Festival, Jackson
This new book festival, held at the Mississippi State Capitol building, features readings and signings with local, regional and national authors. It also features 20 panel discussions on various genres, such as Civil Rights, history, poetry, science fiction, children’s illustrated books and romance authors. Plus, it will have live music and cooking and gardening demonstrations. Admission is free.