MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The State Games of Mississippi has moved its opening ceremonies to May 31.
Since the Games started 28 years ago, the event has always been held in mid-June in conjunction with the youth soccer tournament. But it has now been moved to the first weekend of June.
With the earlier start, State Games officials are ramping up preparations.
"So it's a lot earlier than we're used to having it so all of our hotels and restaurants are having to prepare earlier than normal. People are having to change reservations and whatnot so they can make sure they have hotels earlier than they're used to," said marketing director Bobbie Harmon.
Food and beverage booths open at 5 p.m. on May 31 outside Meridian City Hall. The Parade of Athletes begins at 7:30 p.m., and the ceremonies conclude with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Athletes should report to the Parade line-up location at 6:30 p.m.
In case of bad weather, participants will be able to shelter in the Arts District Parking Garage and the Temple Theatre.
Last year, nearly 6,000 athletes competed in 42 sports in the State Games.