Free Fans Popular As Neshoba Fair Heats Up

First came the midmorning mugginess, then came the afternoon heat that's so typical of the Neshoba County Fair. As temperatures hit the 90s Wednesday and the humid felt air thick enough to drink, out came the hand-held fans -- all manner of them. Red and white fans from Meridian Fire & Rescue. Red, white and blue ones from Appeals Court candidates Kenny Griffis and Jim Brantley.

People sitting under the tall, tin-roofed pavilion for political speeches steadily waved their cardboard freebies to beat the midsummer humidity.

Just outside the pavilion, in the hub of the fairgrounds, Dawn Lupo of Meridian fanned herself and her 4-month-old son, Bobby, whose pudgy cheeks were flushed pink. Lupo's husband is an air traffic controller at Naval Air Station Meridian, and the couple was attending their first Neshoba County Fair with Bobby and their two other children, 7-year-old Nick and 3-year-old Nila.

"I wish I had come here before. It's very interesting,'' Dawn Lupo, a New Orleans native, said as she glanced around at the colorful, two-story cabins that surround Founder's Square.

"Ooo! The race! The race!'' Nick called as he heard a bugle call from the harness racetrack nearby.

"Let's go! Let's go!'' Nick tugged on his mom's T-shirt sleeve.

"I guess we'll have to go over there, won't we?'' she said.

The eight-day house party just south of Philadelphia is attracting thousands of people -- Mississippians and others. A day after a torrential rainfall, folks squished through patches of red clay bog near the square.