Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mardi Gras In Th' Dirt

AKA the "Neshoba County Fair"

Click on for larger pictures

Or, because there are so many sweat-soaked, seersucker-suited politicians giving stump speeches, some of my "enlightened"(progressive) friends might be moved to call it, "Republican Woodstock".

On a twisty stretch of Highway 21 outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, since 1889, the Neshoba County Fair has celebrated the very essence of Southern hospitality (usually the last week in July). For seven days, folks do a lot of eating (fried foods required), drinking (you might find some 'shine), front porch sittin', and late-night pickin'. It's a time to slow down. To forget laptops and cell phones. And to practice the art of conversation and storytelling on a lazy summer day.

For one week in July during the Fair, the fairgrounds operate like a self-contained city. About 600 (difficult to acquire) brightly painted wooden cabins are divided into neighborhoods with names like Founders' Square, Happy Hollow, and Sunset Strip. Trucks drive around making daily ice deliveries (you go through a LOT of ice at the Fair). And there's even a post office on-site, where you can get your own Neshoba County Fair postmark.

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