Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mississippi Madness

It's been a crazy fun summer with lots of travel, but there's one thing left that I think I need to do. It's called the Neshoba County Fair and it's a true Mississippi original. Or at least that's what I'm told.

Here's what I know about it.

It's a county fair that takes place for one week in the middle of the Mississippi Delta. So, that part is normal - funnel cakes, candy apples, corn dogs, you know the drill.

What's not normal is this:

Many families own cabins on the fairgrounds and move in for the week of the fair. Did you hear that? MOVE IN! These so-called cabins are very expensive wooden sheds (read:no sheetrock) that have electricity three weeks a year and are as coveted as grandma's diamond ring. It's near impossible to get such a cabin unless it is willed to you, or you feel like shelling out a truck load of money. Seriously, I was too embarrassed to even type the figures.

The cabin folk cook a mess o' food, take it down there, and then just porch sit, or drink and ride the occasional ferris wheel for seven days straight.

The kids run around with dusty, dirty feet and sleep in rooms that house like eight double bunk beds. That's bunk beds with double mattresses on top and bottom! So eight of these babies and you got 16 sleepers. I'm pretty sure that 16 beds is actually considered a small cabin bedroom.

Today, I asked my friend Lauren what food she was taking, because there's nothin' like a slew of southern casseroles to tempt me into making the two and a half hour journey over there, but it was WAY too much to type. I saw the list though - she had scribbled it down on multiple spread sheets with a grocery list as long as my novel's first chapter.

So, I plan on checking it out maybe Tuesday and I'll take plenty o' pics to share. I'm secretly hoping to get inspired for a future novel. It's entirely possible - in fact, I'd say it's likely.


Lisa and Laura said...

Ok, so Laura and I were just lamenting the fact that we're not Southern the other day. I mean, we've always sort of wanted to be Southern. We love all things Pat Conroy and The Help was just phenomenal.

But this fair thing totally seals the deal. We. Want. In.

Where do we sign up for Southern Belle Bootcamp? We'll even start saying y'all. Whatever it takes.

Hardygirl said...

Hm. I think I would rank my Neshoba County Fair experience (I was thirteen) as one of top five "worst days of my life". Might have had something to do with the fact that we didn't actually know anyone there which meant I had no bathroom access.

And, Ross Barnett spoke. As if it was still the 1960s in Mississippi. And, people thought he was great.

I'm very interested to read your follow up post. Very interested.


Katie said...

Well, I have 2 cabins in which to crash at my leisure, or porch-sit, or whatever else you do there?

And, I have a dinner invite complete with mucho casseroles, so I think my experience might top yours.

BUT, I loathe a theme park, so it might suck hard.

And Lila, if it rocks, you're coming next year!

Katie said...

And we'll drag SF with us!

Paul Ă„ertker said...

I had a blast there. I even picked up this line, which is used somewhere in my writing:

It was sprinkling and the guy and the girl were walking around the racetrack and he said, "We ain't none us gunna melt if'n it do rain."

NCF: love it.

Little Ms J said...

Oh, this is so my kind of thing. I am literally pushing LiLa out of my way to be included! I grew up at the Florida State Fair where we had Cracker Country, which were one room shack/cabins so we could see how our ancestors lived. Serious. I don't think you could stay in them, but I certainly could be caught walking around with candy apples, elephant ears and corn cobs the size of my face. Oh, and turkey legs! My fave memory was when I was shoving a funnel cake in my face while my best friend threw up in a trash can from riding the Zipper. My dad just stared at me and shook his head.

I can smell the chicken grease.

Christy Raedeke said...

This is the most interesting setting for a novel that I've heard of in a long time! You must take tons and tons and tons of pictures and eat your weight in funnel cakes!

ElanaJ said...

Gotta love Mississippi! Can't wait for the pics. :)

Jeannie said...

That was some kind of interesting post! There is never a dull moment in your otherwise "cliff hanger" life. I was laughing when reading as I just saw the movie Hangover yesterday and was reminded of the mayhem and lunacy of the situation you describe comparing it to the appearance of the hotel suite when the bachelors woke up after their night on the town. I look forward with gleeful anticipation to vicariously visiting the Neshoba County Fair!

Hardygirl said...

I think this will make a fabulous setting for a novel. But, your main character might not have a full set of teeth . . . just sayin'

:-) sf

Anne Spollen said...

The setting is so weird that it's brilliant. Dust, kids, bare feet, the South, country fair -- you could do a Mark Twain goes modern thing. Actually, you could do anything with that setting - it's got so much possibility.

Christena said...

Great photo , i love these kinds of images it will give some relief...........

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