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Getting wild at the expo

Weston Woolley loves a scaly reptile.

He was in awe Friday night at the Lincoln County Wildlife and Outdoor Expo at seeing a giant alligator’s head — mounted of course — that was bigger than his own.

The 5-year-old Brookhaven boy couldn’t reach high enough to wedge his head between the gator’s jaws, much to his mother’s relief. After his failed attempt, he headed to his next adventure with his family in tow.

There was a lot of that going on at the opening night of the expo and more expected today. Moms, dads, children, hunters, fishermen and the like walked the aisles looking at booth after booth of merchandise.

The event is 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Civic Center. Admission is $6 for 13 and up, $5 for 7 to 12 and free for 6 and under.

There are 42 booths inside the air-conditioned building and 25 outside. Also outdoors, there will be a Splash Dog competition, a pig chasing competition and a hand-grabbing contest, which Civic Center Director Quinn Jordan explained is “catching catfish by hand.”

Activities are free. Concessions and services are available for sale.

The Archery in Mississippi Schools Program bow exhibition will offer kids an opportunity to shoot a bow for the first time.

The expo kicked off with a banquet dinner Thursday at the Brookhaven Building with Preston Pittman, known as “Mr. Gobbler.”

He will have a booth at the expo today, Jordan said.

Lincoln Civic Center partnered with the Quality Deer Management Association to have a kick-off dinner to start the weekend. Organizers raised $5,245 for its Hunt of a Lifetime, which is given to someone with a debilitating illness or handicap.

Jordan said attendance was good Friday night but he expected bigger crowds today. He said they’re planning to move the expo up a few weeks next year and have it the weekend before Labor Day so it won’t interfere with high school football.

He said the expo attracts a wide variety of participants.

“This is a true family festival. It’s not just for the hunters,” he said. “There’s something for families. There’s something for ladies. There’s something for kids.”