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Wildlife expo planned to coincide with 2008 Ole Brook Festival

While the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce makesthe final preparations for the 2008 Ole Brook Festival, officialswith the Lincoln County Multi-Purpose Facility are planning anextravaganza of their own.

The 2008 Lincoln County Wildlife Expo will be held at thefacility the same weekend as Ole Brook. The expo begins Friday,Sept. 19 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. and continues throughoutSaturday, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Facility manager Quinn Jordan said the event was chosen becauseof its potential to draw large numbers of visitors, and is one stepin the facility’s goal of become entirely self-sufficient.

“With so many people in Lincoln County and the surroundingcounties being hunters and outdoorsmen, or having a hunter in theirfamilies, this event touches a large section of our population,” hesaid. “This event has been really successful in the past.”

Jordan said the expo would feature all things outdoors, withsports and outdoor vendors occupying approximately 50 booths insideand out – all under the cover of roofs – that will pass outinformation sell products ranging from seed and feed, game callsand vehicles.

Companies like Bardwell Yamaha will have four-wheelers, boatsand campers on display, while sporting goods companies like GanderMountain will be showing off various calls and hunting tools.

Bruce Brady Jr. will kick off the event Friday night with apresentation on Catch a Dream, an outdoor-centered charity similarto the Make a Wish Foundation. Saturday, several speakers andentertainers will take the stage, including Vander Venter and hissnakes, David Fortenberry of Crossland Game Calls, Vick Coffman ofWomen of the Outdoors, representatives from the Mississippi Museumof Natural Science and a presentation by the Mississippi StateUniversity Extension Service.

The expo will give away door prizes and other goodies throughoutthe two-day event, and several contests and special demonstrationswill be held, such a venison cook-off, a 3D archery shoot and a bigbuck contest.

Jordan said the big buck contest was open for any deer killed inMississippi during last year’s hunting season. Categories will besplit among men, women and youth, and within those categories therewill be two divisions for typical and atypical deer. The winner ofeach division will receive $75, and the overall winner will receivea new shotgun as the grand prize.

Mississippi Magnolia Records will be on hand to score the deer,and will also score any deer that has never been checked forrecords. Scoring will end at noon on Saturday.

The expo has been planned and executed on a budget of only$6,500, Jordan said, all from sponsors – none from the county.

“We lean heavily on our sponsors, and we couldn’t put the expotogether without them,” Jordan said.

Most of the money has been pooled for an advertising partnershipwith the Ole Brook Festival.

“We’ve advertised from pretty much south of Jackson to theLouisiana state line, and from the Mississippi River to this sideof Hattiesburg,” Jordan said. “With this being our first year back,we don’t really know how many people will show up, but we’veadvertised to around 150,000 people.”

Jordan said space is still available for rent at the expo to anybusiness, church or organization that would like to be represented.Six spaces remain inside the facility, while plenty of floor spaceis available in the arena. To rent space or for more information onthe expo, interested people may contact Jordan at the facility at(601) 823-9064.