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Civic center prepared to host Wildlife Expo

The Lincoln County Wildlife Expo is thekickoff of hunting season for many in Southwest Mississippi, andstarting Friday the Lincoln County Civic Center will be transformedinto a paradise for sportsmen and women.

    “It takes place two weeks before hunting season begins, so itreally sets the mood for the whole area around here,” said MattShell, advertising chairman for the expo.

    The event runs Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and picks up againSaturday at 9 a.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. Tickets for adults are$5; children ages 7-12 gain entrance for $3; and children 6 andunder get in free.

    The expo will feature a variety of vendors ranging from home décor,taxidermy, jewelry, feed and seed companies and game calls, amongmany other aspects of the outdoor world, Shell said. Vendors comefrom all over the Southeast, but most are from Mississippi.

    New to the expo this year will be a designated children’s area witha rock wall and fun-jumps along with other attractions. For a smallprice in addition to the entrance fee, children will receive armbands that allow them to play all they want, according to LincolnCounty Civic Center Director Quinn Jordan.

    Returning this year is “The Snake Guy,” Terry Vandeventer, who willperform two shows on Saturday.

    Wild game themed food will also be available from local places likeMitchell’s, Bailey’s on Highway 51, the Ice Cream Factory and theLoyd Star Future Farmers of America, said Jordan.

    “We’ll have buffalo burgers, gator dogs, gumbo, shrimp and grits,”Shell said, naming some of the popular items to enjoy while at theexpo.

    People in attendance also have opportunities to compete in a numberof events for prizes.

    The Big Buck Contest, one of the most popular reasons forattending, features bucks harvested in the state during the 2010-11hunting season. The contest is separated into divisions for men,women and youth.

    In addition to the Big Buck Contest, the expo will put on acompetition for turkey calling as well as an archerytournament.

    Several drawings for prizes will also be held. Among them will beone for an alligator hunt, given by Wild Nights BowfishingCharters, out of Belle Chasse, La.

    “I think it’s a good family-oriented weekend,” Shell said. “There’slots of stuff for everyone to do.”

    Jordan added the event is beneficial for families economically aswell.

    “It’s a cheap, safe event to bring the family out to enjoy thecenter and the expo,” he said. “The event brings in booths for bothinformational and entertainment purposes not only for the countybut all of Southwest Mississippi. We’re passionate about gettingpeople to come out, and in order for the center to continue, we askfor the support of the citizens of Southwest Mississippi.”

    Shell said in the event’s first year, 2008, about 1,200 peopleattended the event, followed by 1,800 the next year, and 3,000 lastyear.

    “Our goal is to bust 3,000,” he said. “I always like to tell thehunters out there to come out and see 3,000 of your closestfriends.”

    Additional information can be obtained by visiting the civiccenter’s website, www.lincolnciviccenter.com, orwww.lincolncountywildlifeexpo.com.