Mississippi holidays like to showcase its cultural heritage throughout the year with festivals celebrating the state’s rich musical traditions, tasty seafood and love of motorized vehicles. Most of the top events happen along the Gulf Coast, in the capital of Jackson or in historic towns along the Mississippi Delta. They try to avoid the brutal heat of summer, so most are scheduled in spring and fall.

Gulfport Memorial Day Blowout

Nearly everyone gets a long weekend each May for Memorial Day, and the seaside town of Gulfport goes out of its way to put on an extra special show for bikers. Spanning four days, this wild event attracts thousands of cyclists for a series of races, tattoo competitions, music, and general mayhem.

Country Cajun Crawfish Festival

One of Mississippi’s culinary specialties gets it own special event every April in Gulfport. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum is held over two consecutive weekends as people descend on the Gulf in droves to chow down on crawfish in its many incarnations. Besides the food, this family-friendly festival serves up carnival rides, live entertainment, concerts, and games.

Biloxi Seafood Festival

One of the pleasures of any trip to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is its fantastically fresh seafood. In September, the port city of Biloxi makes an effort to celebrate this tradition with its annual Seafood Fest. Enjoy local specialties like soft crab cakes, shrimp and crawfish pie along with entertainment like a fishing competition and fun for the kids.

Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival

The state is famous for its Blues, and this annual musical extravaganza in Greenville’s Freedom Village it the highlight of the calendar. For several days in September thousands of Delta Blues lovers pack into the Juke House Stage to see one virtuoso after another. Gospel fans are also taken care of on the dedicated Gospel Stage that showcases some of the state’s finest singing voices.

Cruisin’ the Coast

Motorheads get the own special day each October along the Gulf Coast. This hugely popular car show lures thousands of enthusiasts to Biloxi for the big mass cruise along the coast to Gulfport. The theme is vintage, so expect at least 4,000 classic vehicles from the 1950s and ‘60s showing off their treasures. Drag races, live music and other fun round off the weekend.

Mississippi State Fair

American state fairs are always an exciting event, especially if you are a family with kids. Mississippi’s takes places in October at the Jackson Fairgrounds just outside the capital. Though agricultural and livestock shows are a centerpiece, there are also loads of tasty food, live music and carnival rides to ensure a festive atmosphere. Music is a highlight with three tents featuring gospel, blues, folk, and rock bands from across the state.