By Marie Roberts / Guest writer
The Meridian Star
The annual event known as Mississippi’s Giant House Party kicks off Friday, with the Southbound dance band as entertainment and the Harper, Morgan and Smith PRCA Rodeo taking center stage. This year’s Neshoba County Fair will play host to numerous musical acts, including country artists Dustin Lynch, Greg Bates, Joe Nichols, and Craig Morgan.
Inaugurated in 1889, the 124th annual Neshoba County Fair will take place from July 26 through Aug. 2, following the standard seven-day schedule set forth in the mid-1900s.
The 600 two-story cabins, 550 RV spaces, and more than 10,000 fairgoers create a social phenomenon that garners national attention. For many residents in and around Neshoba County, the annual fair is a family tradition passed down through the generations.
“We always plan our summer around the fair,” said Philadelphia resident Diana Ethridge, whose family rents an RV space each year. “It’s a fun-for-all-event and we even decorate our RV in a different theme every summer.”
The cabins, some of which can sleep as many as 64 people, have a unique history of their own. Cabin neighborhoods such as Happy Hollow, Sunset Strip, and Greenleaf Hollow each offer distinct fair tradition.
“It is amazing just to walk down one of the cabin streets and see how much work some of the owners have put into their home. Some cabins have been passed down for generations and each year they raise the bar,” Ethridge said.
Located on Highway 21, the Neshoba County Fair is also a favorite with politicians, who network around the grandstand to connect with potential voters in future elections. This year, the fair will boast incumbent politicians and newcomers alike. Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are both scheduled to make an appearance at Founders Square on Wednesday, July 31, and Thursday, Aug. 1, respectively.
This year’s event will also play a role in the Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon, presented by the Philadelphia Sertoma Club. Triathlon participants will finish off the race in celebratory fashion on the fairgrounds on Saturday, July 27.
Daily tickets for this year’s event at available for $15 for adults age 10 and older, while season passes are $40. Children nine and under are admitted free of charge.
There is information and contact info on the fair's website at http://www.neshobacountyfair.org.