Another time and place at the Neshoba County Fair

By Doug Walker – bio | email

PHILADELPHIA, MS (WLOX) - It's a piece of Americana right in the heart of Mississippi.  The Neshoba County Fair is a fair unlike any other in the country. You won't find big rides or a carnival atmosphere. At Neshoba, the simplest things give the greatest pleasure. Like putting rocks in a bucket, or swinging on the porch.

Alex Willoughby is a Army cadet at West Point, and has never been here.

"It's definitely amazing, definitely different than any other fair I've been to," Willoughby said.  "You expect to go to a fair and it be just attractions and that is just about it."

Even when folks are tapping away on cell phones, there's still an old time feel at Neshoba. Dot Gamblin and her husband have been the proud owners of cabin 39 since 1966.  When they are here, it's family time.

"Well, we love coming back and seeing our friends from year to year at the fair and our children have grown up here every year at the fair," Gamblin said.

Over the years, modern conveniences have come into the Neshoba County Fair. First it was the air conditioner; today it's the Blackberry. But when you're standing in Founders Square amongst all the cabins, it's like taking a trip back in time 100 years.

The Army cadet agrees.

"It's just kind of old fashioned and laid back," Willoughby said. "The mature trees and the shade and the cabins everywhere, it's definitely like it was 100 years ago."

And even total strangers become best friends with very little effort.  Good food and cold drinks do the trick every time.

Sidney Allen is a cabin owner.

"That's what makes it so great," Allen said. "You can walk around the whole fair, visit and just walk in and have lunch, walk in and have dinner, have a cocktail and you don't have to know the people."

But not knowing someone doesn't last long at the place where everyone is a pal.

Next year's fair should be even more interesting. Statewide elections are being held in November 2011, and most candidates for statewide office will be addressing the crowd.

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