Neshoba Fair makes national news

Out on the cabin porches where fairgoers have gathered for decades, it’s old home week.

There’s gossip, how’s-your-mama banter, ice-cold sweet tea and, if you know where to look in this mostly dry county, a little hooch.

As the nation roils in recession, overseas wars and the federal health care debate, in Mississippi it’s just too darned hot to care — at least at the Neshoba County Fair.

“There’s a hard-core cult of true believers who grew up coming to the fair and wouldn’t miss it,” said Dick Molpus, who hasn’t skipped one in his 59 years.

Tens of thousands of people make a sweltering pilgrimage every July or August to the eight-day fair on 60 acres of rolling hills, red clay, oaks and pines in east central Mississippi.

The fair is known as “Mississippi’s Giant House Party” because extended families set up residence in 600 shotgun-style cabins that are among the state’s most prized pieces of real estate. More than one divorce has stalled because of fights about who would get the cabin.

About 50 cabins surround Founders Square, where politicians swoop in for two days of speeches under a tin-roofed, open-air pavilion filled with wooden pews. Other cabins line small, unpaved passageways with names like “Happy Hollow.” Still others surround a dirt track, where jockeys race horses and teenagers prod unpredictable mules.

Kansas City Fox affiliate