Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Every year, hundreds of people migrate to Philadelphia, MS, for the week-long Neshoba County Fair. They come in trailers, campers, pick-up trucks, and cars of all sorts to set up camp for the festivities. Many, many of these people have come every year since childhood. It's just one of those things you do.
Alleys of the fairgrounds are lined with colorfully painted cabins. From what I understand, the real estate for these cabins is intense, and they are very expensive (especially since they are "vacation homes" you only use at most two weeks of the year). I don't think people are allowed to build anymore, so oftentimes the cabins are passed down from generation... or at least the property is. Most are two-storied, with a big kitchen and living area downstairs, and sleeping room for up to 20 people upstairs! Wild!!
And all of them have big ol' porches for the masses to sit and hang out and chill in the heat. With an atmosphere like this, it's no wonder it's nicknamed "Mississippi's Giant Houseparty"! Walking down the dusty, lit-up alleys is pretty magical for an innocent outsider like me.
Of course, the Neshoba County Fair isn't just about the cabins and campers. There are a few rides and food booths, too. As far as rides and things go, I'd prefer the Jackson State Fair, but the State Fair doesn't have horse races or chair races! Ha!
We had three main reasons for going to the fair on Friday afternoon: first, our dear friends from church, the Warrens', go every year with their camper, and we wanted to see them; second, we were going to Philadelphia anyway to see family on Saturday; third, there was a concert! Haha! Country singer/songwriter Phil Vassar was performing, and he was actually good!
I'm not a huge fan of country music (that is, I don't listen to it on the radio) but I used to be, so I knew most of his songs. And sometimes it's just one of those fun indulgences, you know? Country music equals summer, and Phil Vassar's concert on the Neshoba County Fair horse racing track was just what you picture summer in Mississippi to be -- hot and dusty, with people sitting in metal lawn chairs waving paper fans frantically, listening to upbeat country music about girls and life and hanging out. It was a pretty family-friendly environment, but it still had a bit of that frat-party-meets-family-reunion feel.
I like the juxtaposition of the bright lights and the old-fashioned "...County Fair Assn." sign in this picture. :)
Saturday was spent with family. Oh, how I love them! After our continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn, we made our way over to Mom's Aunt Peggy and chatted with her for an hour or so. Then we headed over to Williams Brothers, a local Philadelphia grocery/clothing/shoe store that's been around for ages.
Here's a picture of the hustle-and-bustle around the bacon and cheese cutting area. It's fun to watch. :)
George Road is named for my relatives! Yeah! Let me tell you, it was so much fun hanging out with Uncle Robert and Aunt Coweela and second-cousins Mike and Diane. And we had some goood food, too! Mmm...
To wrap up our weekend away, we dined at Newk's with my cousin and her husband who live in Clinton, and then went to see my great-aunt in the same town! Seriously, I love my family. I wish I could retell some of the stories second-cousin-something-removed Mike told us, but those retellings--especially written in blogs--never have quite the same effect.
Also, I wish I could give a more profound analysis of the Neshoba County Fair, but being outsiders as we are, and unfamiliar with customs and attitudes, anything I said would be mere assumptions.
Now! I have only 12 days before I go back to school... and only TEN days till Jane Shibley makes a brief appearance in Mississippi!! Hooray!