Thousands flock to Neshoba County Fair

NESHOBA COUNTY, MS - The annual Neshoba County Fair is celebrating its 125th anniversary this week, and for many, it's a time to remember past fairs.

"I grew up with the fair, I was about a week old when I came to my first one," said Dan Jordan, an attendee.

Jordan and his family have a cabin on Founder's Square, which look out into the pavilion right at the front of the fairgrounds. The structure has been the center of action for the fair for 100 years.

"We feel very privileged to be on founder's square. We have a 50 yard line seat to all the activities in the pavilion, both good and bad," said Jordan.

Most, if not all of the 600 cabins on the fairgrounds are in the family, passed down from one generation to the next. The fair hasn't always been so popular, though.

The fair started in 1889 as a time for farmers to display agriculture.

"As people came out here, they started staying in the same place. They'd have to spend the night, because back in those days it was wagons," said Joe Jordan, a fair goer.

The only rule for the cabin is to have an open porch. Folks at the fair sit all day and all night. For many, like the Jordans, it's the only time they get to see some of their friends and family.

"The interesting thing about it is that everybody out here thinks they've got the best spot on the whole fair. And the reason is because of their neighbors," said Jordan.

Although the fair is a week long event, there are two days set aside for political speeches, which draws a crowd to Founders Square.

"Every major political figure in Mississippi, since the turn of the last century, since 1900, has spoken at the fair," said Jordan.

The most notable speaker at the fair was Ronald Reagan, according to many fairgoers. A fair speech is an unwritten rule for Mississippi politicians these days, but it is just about guaranteed that candidates for major office and incumbents will make a fair appearance.

Whether a visit to the fair is for one day or the entire week, it still lives up to it's nickname of the Mississippi Giant House Party 125 years later.

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