Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Fair

The Fair. Mississippi's Giant House Party. It is almost impossible to describe the sheer magnitude of the Neshoba County Fair. It's hard to fathom that since 1889 an entire town has moved itself miles from town to wooden cabins packed with bunk beds to spend a week visiting, eating, politicking, watching horse racing, livestock shows, riding rides one finds at county fairs and listening to live music. It's a family reunion, class reunion and facebook-in-real-life all rolled into one.

I think my first fair was around 2003 - the summer after Leigh Allyn and I roomed together at Ole Miss. She and Wade talked about "THE FAIR" all the time and I remember thinking what in the world could be a big deal about a county fair?

Let me tell you. It's a big deal.

Willie Morris called the Fair a “combination camp meeting, picnic, recital, amusement park, music jamboree, race track, and political rally...[with] no institution quite like it in America.”

First, there are the cabins. Most are two or three stories with big porches and swings - swings are a must when you're in Mississippi in July. The bottom floor is a kitchen and the top floors are filled with double bunk beds. Fortunately, they have A/C. The one above is Leigh Allyn's parents, Susan and Andy King, they have hosted us many times and each time is more fun than the last. Which seems impossible!

Ryan and baby Audrey on the swing on Friday morning. She thought he was funny! She even had her own baby swing on the porch.

Kristen and Ryan watching Witt, Katelyn and Chad on some spinney ride on the Midway. The Fair is like it's own little city with neighborhoods: the rides and fair food are on the Midway, the Founders' Square is "downtown" and then there's the racetrack area, Happy Hallow (our neighbors live there) and others like Sunset Strip.

And Katelyn is still spinning. This does not look like fun to me. I could barely watch.

About dusk the cabins turn on Christmas lights and it's a beautiful site. When it's dark all kids head to the Midway for rides and greasy fair food. And lemonade.

Wade's parents graciously hosted us and Chad and Kristen and their family for the night. Witt stayed out playing later than us!

Katelyn made fast friends with Sadie - it's amazing how entertaining kids find gravel. Of course, this was about 11 p.m. - I'm surprised they were able to sit up much less play!

And this has got to be one of the best ways on earth to start the day. The Fair Times and coffee on the porch and not a soul in sight (except for those boys who were still stumbling around from the night before). A special thank you to the Kings and Whites for hosting all of us!

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