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Wildlife Expo brings the wild together

The snake man. The archery shoot. Lumberjacks and face-painters and boats for sale.

Just about everything an outdoorsman and his family would need to know, or see, or purchase, will be on-hand at next month’s annual Lincoln County Wildlife and Outdoor Expo, a two-day event featuring numerous outdoor-focused booths, vendors and performers under one roof, just in time for deer season.

“Come out and see what’s new and available for the 2018 hunting season from some of the top vendors in the area,” said Lincoln Civic Center Manager and expo organizer Quinn Jordan. “They are looking forward to sitting down and discussing the products and services they have to offer.”

The expo stretches over two days at the Lincoln Civic Center — Friday, Aug. 24, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for children and free for children 6 years old and younger.

There will be plenty of attractions for those children, including pig-catching, a jump zone, animal viewing, baby alligators, fish-grabbing, face-painting and a presentation by Terry Vandeventer — Mississippi’s “Snake Man.”

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will host a bow shoot to promote the Archery in Mississippi Schools Program, and an open bow shoot will be held under the stall barn outside.

New to this year’s expo are day-long performances by Minnesota-based Lumberjack Enterprises, who will demonstrate log rolling, chainsaw carving and host an interactive camp for children.

And, of course, there will be outdoor gear for sale — hunting knives, game cameras, game calls, stands, tractors, side-by-sides and ATVs, campers, boats and just about any other item a hunter or angler might need. There will also be ladies’ booths, food and outdoor organizations handing out information.

“Come out to the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks booth and you can have a positive and informative discussion and can ask any questions you have about hunting and fishing laws — instead of just running into them out there and getting a ticket,” Jordan said.

Previous expos have been held after labor day, but Jordan said competition from high school and college football was hurting attendance.

“With the economy doing better, people are traveling more, doing more, so we needed to get away form those other activities,” he said. “The end of August is just a good staging time for the fall.”

Proceeds from the event go back into the civic center, and around $3,000 is set aside each year to pay for the Hunt of a Lifetime, which covers the cost of taking local disabled outdoorsmen on hunting and fishing trips. The hunt is done in cooperation cooperation with the M4 men’s group of Macedonia Baptist Church.

This year’s expo will be the second year the event is paired with another popular outdoors gathering — the annual Quality Deer Management Association banquet. The banquet is a fundraising event, with proceeds going toward the conservation of the state’s whitetail deer herd.

“It’s a good way to get the community involved, and for anyone who has an interest in the outdoors or hunting in general,” said QDMA head Bruce Gray, a wildlife expo committee member.

The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24, at the Brookhaven Building on Beltline Drive. Tickets are $50 per person, or $65 per couple. Veterans will be admitted for $30, with no charge for their spouses.

The banquet will feature an auction, silent auction and a raffle, with numerous items — from guns to crossbows to game cameras — up for grabs. Diamond J Meat Market is catering the banquet.

Sponsorships and tickets may be purchased by calling Gray at 601-754-5592. Tickets will also be sold at the door.