|Location(s)||Lander's Center in Southaven, Mississippi|
The Mid-South Fair is a fair that was held for many years held in Memphis, Tennessee, every year in late September and early October. It is now held in neighboring northwest Mississippi. It hosts many shows and attractions, as well as different types of rides and concession stands. Not only is it popular in the Memphis area, but also in the adjacent states of Mississippi and Arkansas, and even nearby Missouri. The fair's official website states, "As a non-profit organization, our mission is not to make money. Rather, the Fair exists to create a cultural and entertainment experience that exposes the people in our community to items and events they might not otherwise encounter. In addition, we serve as a focal point for all sorts of organizations and communities."
The event was last held in Memphis from September 19–28, 2008, in its 152nd year. The fair has been held at the Lander's Center in Southaven, Mississippi since September 2009 and will remain there until at least 2014. When the fair lost the lease on the Memphis Fairgrounds location, plans were to move the fair to a new permanent fairgrounds in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi. The new fairgrounds were supposed to be available in 2009, but was delayed when progress on the new facility was slowed by weather and economic conditions.
The Shelby County Agricultural Society agreed to host the second fair in the fall of 1856. During World War I, the military used the Mid South Fair to find recruits. In 1908, the name was changed to the Tri-State Fair to encourage more people in areas around Memphis to attend the fair. In 1911, African American Memphians founded the Negro Tri State Fair, which was discontinued in 1959.
In 2008, the city of Memphis announced that it would not renew the fair's lease on the grounds, which is owned by the city. The fair then announced that it would move to the casino resort area in Tunica County, at a new site along U.S. Highway 61. The fair has secured the use of the DeSoto Civic Center as a temporary site until permanent fairgrounds are completed. Plans to redevelop the former fairgrounds in Memphis have been put on hold, and another local promoter has announced plans to host a different fair-like event at the site. The fair lasts two weeks and begins the last weekend in September each year.
Events and attractions at the Mid-South Fair include a carnival midway and rides, concerts (Ronnie Milsap and The Sugarhill Gang were featured in 2007), a home-made ice cream contest, a horticulture contest, the Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show, agricultural exhibits, a pig race, and the world's largest youth talent contest. Previous entrants in the talent contest (first held in 1953) include Mississippi natives Elvis Presley and Lance Bass and Tennessee native Justin Timberlake.
- Moore, Linda (2009-06-04). "Mid-South Fair will have event at Memphis fairgrounds in the fall". The Commercial-Appeal.