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Mississippi State Fair

Sereena Henderson / Mississippi Today

Vendors line up along the midway at the Mississippi State Fair

In a state proud of its traditions, the Mississippi State Fair — now celebrating its 157th edition — evokes fond memories of amusement rides that make kids squeal and adults scream, food greasy and sweet enough to send a nutritionist into shock and live music that pulls audiences out of their chairs to dance.  And pigs and cows and horses — and even camels.

All on 100 acres in downtown Jackson now through Oct. 16.

Mississippi Today met some early birds at the fairgrounds this week as hundreds of thousands of others gear up for the first big weekend.

Bands including the Luckenbach Tribute Band, Jesse Robinson Blues Band, the Harmony & Grits Bluegrass Band and the Delta Mountain Boys are scheduled to perform this weekend.

Saturday morning, fiddlers compete, followed by a hula hoop contest in the afternoon.

Sunday catch some dare-devilish acts at the ‘Freestyle MX’ Xtreme Motorcycles event.

All weekend, animal lovers will get up close and personal with the exotic creatires in the petting zoo.

But for thrill-seekers, it’s all about the rides. Tonight’s and next Friday’s Ride-A-Thon offers unlimited twists and turns, ups and downs for $25 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.