The 33rd annual Mississippi Wildlife Federation kicked off today down by the fairgrounds, but fewer people turned out than expected.
This is the result of a group advocating pumps for the Delta being denied a booth by the organizers. They were finally given a green light to set up but not before a chain reaction of vendors pulling out occurred.
What this boils down to is in the past the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and Delta farmers have differed on the installment of the Yazoo Pump Project and its impact on the ecosystem. So when advocates for the pumps were told they couldn’t be there at first, a chain reaction began of vendors pulling out.
Extravaganza is underway, and families are getting in touch with the great outdoors.
“Some of the best venues are the kids’ events,” Wildlife Federation President Dr. Jeanne Jones said. “And we got fetch and fish where dogs are doing tricks and catching antlers.”
What’s meant to be a bustling fundraiser has seen a much slower kickoff after dozens of vendors pulled out when Delta pump advocates were briefly denied a booth creating a boycott. But now have a presence.
“It feels great to be here talking to the public and educating them about what’s going on in our own state that so many do not know about,” Delta farmer Victoria Darden said. “It’s been going on for six months and a lot of people just don’t know about it.”
With a booth given by John Deere delta locals showed pictures of wildlife starving from flood waters destroying their homes and peoples properties in ruins.
“See the map and the vastness of the area, and we show them our information that we have,” Darden explained. “Also our petition that we have to present to congress where they present the EPA to recent their veto.”
The state Wildlife Federation is also stepping in to help with ticket sales going out to the Delta to aid wildlife hurt by the flood.
“10% of our admissions is going to wildlife relief in the Delta,” Dr. Jones said. “And vendors had donated some incredible products and those proceeds are going to flood victim charities.”
But with less foot traffic and business boycotts other vendors who showed up are not happy with the lack of business.
“My business is affected because not many adults are bringing their kids out here they’re boycotting the show all together,” Emily Schmidt said. “This is my full time job, I generally like to bring in a couple thousand dollars, but I’ll be happy if I walk away with $300-$400 for the entire weekend.”
For Emily things got worse when a boycott extravaganza Facebook page was made listing all the vendors still going pressuring people to boycott their business all around.
“What they should have done is reach out to actual vendors and said help us with this cause and how we can work together,” Schmidt argued. “Instead of putting them to shame blasting the vendor list saying everyone needs to stand up against these vendors because they have no integrity and that was wrong.”
We spoke to Victoria Darden who tells us she has no ties to the Boycott MWF Wildlife Extravaganza Facebook page or any idea who made it. Their main goal is to just raise awareness on the Delta flood without bashing anyone.