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Going back to the Neshoba County Fair

The View From Here

NESHOBA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS — We’ve come back to the Fair as we always do.

It’s hard to say anything about the Neshoba County Fair that hasn’t already been said, written, photographed, painted or sung. Originality is hard to come by for an event that has touched the lives of so many writers, poets, musicians and artists who’ve expressed what the Fair means to them and what it means to Mississippi and the South.

Family and friends are where you start when you walk onto the few hundred acres of rolling red dirt. Handshakes, hugs and “How have you been?” get things going.

That’s quickly followed by, “What’s for supper?”

Or lunch. Breakfast. Midnight snack. The Fair is family, friends — and food.

A sausage biscuit at 8 a.m. Polish sausage at midnight. Fresh vegetables — peas, beans and squash — whenever they’re ready. There aren’t any dietary rules and regulations at the Fair: fat grams don’t count; homemade caramel cake is good for you; and extra mayonnaise and salt on that second tomato sandwich is just fine.

Jumpin’ on the stump

After eating, the Fair is about politics. It’s a spectator sport when candidates climb onto the stage under the pavilion at Founder’s Square.

Between the ol’ time stump speeches, people reminisce about a few of their favorite memories: Ronald Reagan in 1980 for many. The Fordice-Molpus debate in ‘95 is one of mine. But what might happen this year is what most of us homegrown C-SPAN political junkies are anticipating.

The main event? The Thursday afternoon debate between Ronnie Shows and Chip Pickering, a couple of incumbents fighting for one seat in Congress.

Two words: yee haw. That, and mind the mud. It’ll be flung. Repeatedly.

And while he’s not scheduled to speak, watching more-than-likely-Republican-candidate-for-governor Haley Barbour role up his shirtsleeves and work up a sweat working the crowds will be fun. The


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