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Fun things to do in the South

Things to do Illustration Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

A curated list of the best upcoming events in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.


War Eagle Fair

FREE! October 13–16 Since 1954, Ozark regional crafters and artisans have exhibited along the banks of War Eagle Creek. Today’s fair features more than 250 booths. Note that some exhibitors accept only cash. Parking is $5. The fair opens each day at 8 a.m. High Sky Inn Road, Hindsville.

Mountainview Bluegrass Festival

November 10–12 From the Thursday All Gospel Night to a host of first-rate acts that include Grammy Award–winning Tim Graves and The Farm Hands, the lineup at this renowned music festival in the Ozarks is sure to keep your toes tapping all weekend. Tickets start at $20. Ozark Folk Center Auditorium and Grounds, Mountain View.

Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase

December 2–4 Shop for fine arts and crafts created by members of the Arkansas Craft Guild and its juried guests. You’ll find treasures at this expo, in its 44th year, including jewelry, sculpture, garden art, pottery, home decor, and stained glass. There will also be food service and a cash bar. Admission is $5 per person, though it’s free from 5–8 p.m. on Friday and 9–10 a.m. on Saturday. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Little Rock.


116th State Fair of Louisiana

October 27–November 13 Every member of the family will find fun at the fair, which includes a carnival, a rodeo, a car show, musical entertainment, livestock exhibits, and more. The fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and admission on other weekdays is free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From September 19 through October 26, purchase advance tickets ($8), or passes that include admission and unlimited carnival rides ($35). Gate admission is $12 ($47 for admission/rides pass). State fairgrounds, Shreveport.

Smoke & Barrel

FREE! November 19 This annual bourbon, barbecue, and whiskey celebration showcases expert pitmasters from across the Gulf Coast along with bourbon and whiskey from around the world. Enjoy regional bands and admire works by artisans and craftsmen at this event that benefits the United Way. Barbecue and beverages will be available for purchase, and VIP tickets are available for $115. Downtown Calcasieu Parish Courthouse lawn, Lake Charles.

Noel Acadien au Village

December 2–23 The grounds and historic buildings in LARC’s Acadian Village, including the chapel, will be adorned with 500,000 lights to herald the holidays. Stroll the site that brings to life 19th-century Acadian life and enjoy new animations, live entertainment, carnival rides, local cuisine, photos with Santa, and holiday shopping. The event benefits LARC, a nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities. Tickets, $10. Lafayette.


34th annual Mississippi Pecan Festival

September 23–25 Purchase pecans, shop at more than 200 vendor booths, listen to bluegrass and gospel music, and see farming demonstrations on vintage machinery. Admission is $13. Fulmer’s Farmstead, New Augusta.

Loblolly Festival

FREE! October 1 Honoring Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town, this festival—named for the species of pine trees that can grow to be 150 feet tall—includes arts and crafts, food, music, and chainsaw art. An area for children will keep the young ones entertained with free art, bouncy houses, and rides. Downtown, Laurel.

Angels on the Bluff

November 3–5, 10–12 To celebrate Natchez City Cemetery’s bicentennial, this popular event has been expanded to 2 weekends. During candlelight walking tours, living historians will portray some of the famous people interred at the cemetery. Purchase tickets early as the event often sells out. Tickets, $40. Natchez.

Gulf Coast Veterans Parade

FREE! November 5 Celebrating American veterans with active-duty military, marching bands, JROTC, and patriotic floats, the Gulf Coast Veterans Parade begins and ends at 19th Street. Held in conjunction with Veterans Day, the parade steps off at 11 a.m. and has been honoring veterans for more than 20 years. Explore downtown after the parade. Gulfport.

Snow Much Fun

December 9–10 Jackson rarely gets much snow during the winter, but children (and adults!) can play in scheduled “snowfalls” at this fun event that includes craft-making, winter STEM experiments, visits with Santa, and more. Plus, dance the night away during the Snow-Ball each evening. Ticket prices weren’t set at press time. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson.

FREE! indicates free admission to the event, but additional fees may be required. Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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