Focused on Mississippi: No Neshoba County Fair in 2020


NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – You drive along Highway 16 toward Philadelphia or Highway 21 to the campground or maybe on a back road just to see what’s down there. For a minute, your mind forgets COVID-19, and it is such a pleasant day to being doing exactly this: exploring.

But then, you remember the pandemic has shut the world away from each other for a while except for going to Walmart. 

Most notably, the absence of people will be acute on these 150 acres at the Neshoba County Fair grounds this week. Normally, there would be thousands of people everywhere during the week of the fair, but not this year.

The Neshoba County Fair is trademarked as Mississippi’s Giant House Party, and it’s true. The cabins are traditionally overflowing with people, who eat your food and sit on your porch and tell stories, but not this year. It is eerily quiet. The air is still and musty smelling.

There’s no horsing around on Mississippi’s only legal horse racing track. No one hanging off their balcony rail at the track’s edge, cheering on the harness drivers and their horses. 

No lemonade. No fair food. No carnival. Just an empty lot that normally has skyscrapers of rides to take you above the crowd below and lots of games of chance to separate you from your change. But there’s a change shortage this year, anyway.

It’s the lack of people, the empty porches, the quiet that is so strange. Well, the lack of voices. The cabins make plenty of nois,- straining against the breeze and tin roofs expanding under the July heat. 

I feel for the families that normally have their big reunions every year at the fair and have been for generations. They could get together with Zoom on the internet. It would be nice to see everybody, but no food.

For a place so full, it sure is empty. Cabin doors are closed and locked. So un-fair like.

This is history for the Neshoba County Fair. This is the first time the fair has ever been canceled other than during the World Wars.


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