Carnival pursues regional appeal

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quinn Jordan has a vision for 2012 totransform the Lincoln County Carnival Fair into the SouthwestMississippi Carnival Fair.

    Fair board members met Tuesday at the chamber of commerce buildingto establish objectives for brainstorming new ideas to increase thefair’s outreach and map out plans to bring those ideas tofruition.

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    Jordan, board director and Lincoln County Civic Center manager,said he hopes to spread the coverage of the fair from LincolnCounty to the entire region.

    “Our goal is to grow this carnival to become SouthwestMississippi’s premier state fair,” Jordan said.

    “We want to come up with new ideas to break into the populace,” hesaid. “We need to use these meetings to keep us from staying insidethe box.”

    One thing Jordan stressed about planning for the fair is to keepeach of the committees “in-house” as opposed to letting too much ofthe weight fall on people outside of the board. Jordan hopes thisstrategy will keep people in-sync with each other to make for abetter, more successful operation.

    An example of the many ideas being thrown around by the board comesfrom the food committee.

    Each year at the carnival, the Food Alley consists of local foodmerchants who contribute their own unique creations to the standardfare fair food the event producer supplies. Jordan suggested comingup with a new location for the alley that will more naturally andeasily draw fair attendants to the vendors.

    “We have good food to eat here in Brookhaven,” Jordan said. “Whynot showcase it? Let’s let them [local food vendors] sell somefood.”

    Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Vice President CliffBrumfield agreed that the Food Alley should be a more integral partof the fair’s concessions.

    “It’s a part of the draw,” he said. “A part of the aura.”

    Among the other committees the board are the security committee,the school committee and the advertising committee.

    “We’re going to do some research to see where people will comefrom,” Jordan said, speaking of the advertising committee’s duty tomake the fair a regional event.

    The board also pondered how to make the weeknights of the carnivalmore enticing for people to come.

    “Fridays and Saturdays take care of themselves,” Jordan said. “Wehave to figure out how to get people to come out on a Thursdaynight.”

    Board members threw around ideas such as a talent and karaokecontests to hold on the weeknights, which typically draw lowerattendance numbers than the weekend.

    The carnival will be produced for the third consecutive year by theNorth American Midway Entertainment (NAME) organization, whichproduces such events as the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson andthe Crawfish Festival in Biloxi. The tentative dates for thecarnival next year are May 9 through May 13.

    Jordan said he enjoys having the carnival in the spring becausethat is when no other major fairs are happening in the state. Andhe spoke highly of NAME.

    “They’re professionals, and they have good, nice people to come runit all,” he said. “We’re very excited about making this a regionalattraction.”