SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The Mid-South Fair makes its return Thursday at the Landers Center after COVID forced organizers to cancel last year’s fair.  

It was the first time the 165-year-old fair had been cancelled since World War II. Organizers say they’re excited to be back. 

“We’re really thrilled. The sights, the sounds, the weather,” said Todd Mastry, executive director of the Landers Center.  

Masks aren’t being required at the fair since it’s an outdoor venue, but organizers have erected a number of hand sanitizing stations and are encouraging fair goers to use electronic tickets in a bid to reduce crowds at the box office.  

“Get your tickets, mobile tickets scanned, head right on in. No stopping to get your tickets at the ticket stand,” said Mastry. 

Gates open at 4 p.m. Thursday, but the Mississippi State Health Department will be on hand inside the Landers Center from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday to offer vaccines.  

Mastry said that those who get vaccinated will get a free wristband for one of the rides.  

Country music star Sam Hunt will perform at the fair Friday night and organizers say there are about 50 rides for attendees to choose from.  

Thursday, Southaven Fire Department investigators roamed the fairgrounds to inspect the rides.  

“We check for any kind of safety, fire violations, any type of concerns that we may have,” said Tim Rowland with the fire department.  

Mastry said tens of thousands of people attend the fair each year.