The 30th annual Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza takes place Friday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 7, at the
Mississippi Trade Mart. Photo courtesy Mississippi Wildlife Federation
August marks the 30th anniversary of the Mississippi Wildlife Foundation's largest annual fundraiser, the Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza. The event began as a small outdoor event and is now a weekend-long festival filled with catfish, alligators, educational seminars and more.
Melanie Starnes, the events director and office manager for the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, said that the federation's goal in coordinating the weekend is to expose the youth to the outdoors and foster an appreciation for nature.
"It's important to the federation to keep having events like this so we can host free events throughout the year," Starnes says.
"We want to instill a love of the outdoors and teach (our children) how to conserve it so they can pick up where we leave off."
This year's extravaganza will have more than 200 vendors and exhibitors from across the United States and Canada, giving demonstrations on bows, boats and almost anything that can be used outdoors. "Realtree Outdoors" host David Blanton, cast members from the hit show "Swamp People" and Mark Davis of Outdoor Channel's "BigWater Adventures" will be the guest speakers, and the event will have turkey-call seminars, a snake exhibit and a catfish tank where children can learn how to grab fish with their hands.
The 30th annual Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza is Friday, Aug. 5, from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug.7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mississippi Trade Mart (1200 Mississippi St.). General admission is $10 per day. Admission is free for children under age 12 on Friday, Aug. 5. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 and under. For more information, visit mswildlife.org.