Mid-South Fair adds metal detectors for heightened security

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — With constant security threats at public events both in the Mid-South and across the country, the upcoming Mid-South Fair is ramping up safety measures.

Just barely two weeks away, the Mid-South Fair has seen threats to public safety across the country and locally — including a woman being trampled after shots were fired at a similar event recently — and they’re taking precautions.

“As things have happened, tragedies have happened in the world, technology has also gotten better,” said Todd Mastry, the fair’s executive director.

While the Mid-South Fair has most of the same safety measures planned, there’s one large change: metal detectors. Officials say every patron will work through one on their way in, making it seemingly impossible to sneak a firearm onto the fair grounds.

“You’ll be metal detected,” Mastry said. “Walk through the metal detector, no different than the airport or FedExForum, or here at the Landers Center. All the same, easy walk through.”

Hosting an event that’s 11 days long, bringing in thousands of people, has its fair share of challenges. But the management at the Mid-South Fair feel they have an advantage because they’re used to planning events and hosting security year-round.

Due to the different events at the Landers Center, officials are required to comply with a large group of organizations, including the NBA. It forces them to constantly evaluate and evolve their strategies for safety.

“We have these at our disposal and are able to use them to ensure, to the best of our ability, that folks that come to the fair are going to be safe,” Mastry said.

And inside the fair, Southaven Police and DeSoto County sheriff’s deputies will be on patrol, ready if needed.

“We’re here to make sure it’s a safe environment, a fun environment,” Mastry said.

The Mid-South Fair will begin Sept. 19, and parking and entry will be free on the first day.

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