There’s something about the pageantry of this fan-favorite, largest-east-of-the-Mississippi rodeo – the Dixie National – that brings tens of thousands to Jackson every year. Image: Freeman Photo

Yippee ki-yay, JXN lovers! The rodeo’s in town (well, technically, the RODEO doesn’t start until next Thursday, but livestock shows begin this weekend.) Head for the coliseum or venture further into downtown for arts and entertainment. We’ve got a plan…

Matilda the Musical – New Stage Theatre – Through February 9
If you saw the 1996 film adaptation of this Roald Dahl novel with Danny Devito and Rhea Pearlman, you’ll likely enjoy this stage version, the “inspiring story of an extraordinary girl with an unbounded imagination who proves that despite the odds, you can do anything you put your mind to—and change your destiny.” Inspirational, indeed. This is a children’s musical season extra and perfect for a family outing. Tickets

2020 Dixie National Rodeo & Livestock Shows – Mississippi Fairgrounds – January 31-February 16
I’ve got to admit, I’m not a “horse and cows” kind of guy. But there’s something about the pageantry of this fan-favorite, largest-east-of-the-Mississippi event that brings tens of thousands to Jackson every year. It’s etched in my memories: my grandparents took us to the rodeo when we were kids. The clown, Lecile Harris, is the SAME clown from back then (he’s 83). The nightly rodeo itself is February 6-12 (featuring roping, riding, bulls, live entertainment and more), but livestock shows get underway Friday. Find yourself at the fairgrounds sometime over the next two weeks. Tickets for rodeo/concert events are available.

More Than a Tourist’s Downtown Walking Tour – Beginning at Hal & Mal’s – Saturday
Bet you didn’t know that. Or how about that little factoid. Jane Jones will blow your mind with enough Jackson tidbits to make the two and half hour walking tour fly by (I’ve done it. Wear your comfy shoes. It’s well worth it). The group will meet at 1:55 p.m. so grab a pre-bite or drink beforehand at Martin’s (just across the lot). You can pre-pay or pay day-of. It’s $25.

Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Pops II – Star Wars – Thalia Mara Hall – Saturday 7:30 p.m.
DUN-duh-duhduhduh-DUHHH-duh… (the Star Wars theme? See now your humming it). Hear music from episodes one through eight plus Rogue One as the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra turns on hyperdrive and flies you through a galactic sonic adventure. It doesn’t say costumes are discouraged, so, if that’s your thing… (hey, when in Tatooine…) Tickets

Perpetual Groove with Funk You – Martin’s Downtown – Saturday – 10 p.m.
A quick slide through this band’s Spotify listing gives you an indelible impression: the Athens, Georgia-based quartet knows a thing or two about crafting a tight soundscape. Their jam band gems are mesmerizing (take that from a first-time listener who’s happy he had to do research for this post). Beyond the musicianship, there’s a deeper side with songs that explore loss, redemption, and hope. This is an 18+ show.

More Jackson events can be found at