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Memories of the Neshoba Fair still strong
by Chris Alllen Baker, The Scott County Times
Jul 31, 2014 | 118 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As I write this, I have images in my head of kids running around the Neshoba County fairgrounds playing and thousands of people around the fairgrounds partaking in the 125th annual Neshoba County Fair — also known as “Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty.”

I can almost smell the great food from here that I know is ever present in the hundreds of cabins as families and friends are gathered for visits and fellowship. There is the carnival on the Midway full of rides for the young and old at heart as well as numerous other activities.

They have already had the Heart ‘O Dixie Triathlon that was held on Saturday along with the flea market. They have already had the antique car and truck show, and I am sure the harness racing on the track has started.

I had the unique honor and privilege of working for The Neshoba Democrat newspaper, which by default includes publishing The Fair Times, which is distributed only at the fairgrounds. It is a lot of hard work taking all of those pictures and doing numerous stories, but getting to enjoy and experience the Fair and getting paid to do it has its benefits.

It’s hard to describe in a few simple words what the Fair is because it is something different for everyone. So is the fact that so many people would migrate to that special place and live in cabins that many of them put more money into than their own homes for just one week of the year.

It is a place of family and class reunions, a place where I have seen people get married on Founders Square, and I have heard, although not necessarily confirmed, that there have even been one or two childbirths during Fair week.

During my time at The Democrat, I had the privilege of covering two Fairs, and even after leaving and finding my way here, I still covered another two or three Fairs to help out my former publisher.

I have been able to generate some material for the newspaper on families from here who participate.

Unfortunately I have missed the past couple of Fairs due to family obligations, and it is possible the same will happen again this week. Aaron had the great timing of being born during the last week of July, which means most years Fair week will include his birthday.

We were in New York City when he would have made his first Fair visit and something has seemed to come up the past two years since then that has caused us to miss it.

We will just have to wait and see how it goes this week with his birthday being today, Thursday, the day before the Fair ends.

As I am often fond of pointing out odd coincidences, it is interesting that my wife Emily was born during the Wimbledon tennis tournament week, and we were married during the French Open tennis tournament, and a tennis tournament was on television when Aaron was born.

Likewise, my dad was born on a decade year, 1940; I was the same with 1970; and Aaron was born in 2010. Well, Aaron has also kept the tradition alive with being born during Fair week.

On a final thought... you can’t talk about the Fair without mentioning something about politics. Stump speaking at the Fair is a requisite for any office holder or seeker who wants to either win or hold on to a government seat, and it has had national implications when President Ronald Reagan came during a campaign.

This year, the U.S. Senate race is still garnering attention despite being a month and a week after the runoff saw Sen. Thad Cochran take the win.

Chris McDaniel is still stirring things up as he and his supporters have apparently not accepted the loss.

I just hope the speeches will be given their due respect without any hecklers or disruptions and maybe I will make it back next year.

Chris Allen Baker is a native of Winona and serves as the managing editor of The Scott County Times in Forest. He can be reached by e-mail at

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