By Alli Hill
Mississippi is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, especially when festival season abounds. The state hosts several fests and events each year dedicated to all the best parts of the outdoor lifestyle. They’re fun, inexpensive ways to delight every member of the family, and perfect for meeting others that share your passion for the outside world. These epic outdoor festivals and events deserve a spot on your social calendar.
Come celebrate at one of the largest birding festivals in the Southeast. This fun festival offers guided nature walks, guest speakers, live animal shows, kids activities, and an up-close look at the beautiful Ruby-throated hummingbirds being banded and released. It’s a full weekend of nature fun, and you won’t see this many hummingbirds anywhere else in the state.
Enjoy Mother Nature from an entirely different perspective with this massive hot air balloon event. Colorful balloons of all sizes and shapes lift off in a stunning patchwork of art. You might even get to catch a ride on one and view the town as you’ve never seen it before. Also included in the festival are live bands, kiddie carnival, local artists, and more.
You won’t want to miss this festival if you’re captivated by hot air balloons or picturesque nights. People of all ages gather at this festival full of hot air balloon races, family flights, balloon glows, fireworks, children’s activities, food vendors, and live music. The festival goes on for three days and involves a Balloon Chase Run Walk. The City of Canton, the City of Ridgeland, Mid-Mississippi Balloon Association, and the Good Samaritan Center bring you this spectacular event.
This festival centers itself around music and rodeo. Experience a musical lineup that truly speaks to the heart of Mississippi with acts like John King, the Coates Brothers Band, and the Double J Band. Nothing is better than getting food and beverage from one of the many vendors, checking out the exotic animal exhibits, and watching rodeo.
The biggest nature festival of its kind in the state, NatureFEST will be back in Spring 2019 just as big as ever. This festival highlights some of the best things in nature, from museum tours to group outings. This past year, visitors were able to enjoy an exotic animal show, guided and self-guided hikes, a tour of the museum’s plant garden, picnics, and games. Artists and food vendors are always on site to make your experience even better. Dates for next year’s NatureFEST have not yet been released, but you can stay tuned to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website for more details.