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Colombian natives impressed with Fair
Monday, August 4, 2014 1:30 AM
Front, from left, are Alyas, Tinsley, Martha Londono, Kael Tinsley and Jorge Londono. In back are Sue, Kirk and Lina Tinsley
Many believe the Neshoba County Fair is solely a local or state event but they would be wrong. Each year sees visitors from all over the world, from Australia to Germany, and this year is no different.
Five years ago Kirk Tinsley made an addition to his family's Cabin 138, with the arrival of his wife Lina, who hails from Medellin, Colombia, South America.
The two now have two sons, Kael and Elyas, and they reside in Nashville, Tenn.
Lina explains that she has only visited the Fair once before but this year she was treated to showing her parents, Jorge and Martha Londono, around the Fairgrounds. Her parents still live in Colombia.
"It was different," Lina said of her first visit. "I liked it then but I'm enjoying it more this time because now I feel like I belong. I love it."
She added that she especially loves the Fair traditions, something she wanted her children to enjoy as well.
"I love the family reunions and environment. It is great for kids and adults," she said.
It's not often that The Fair Times requires an interpreter for an interview but Lina was happy to relay questions and answers back and forth for her parents.
"I came with a lot of expectations," Jorge said. "But now being here it is much better. I love the family environment and I'm impressed by it."
He went on to explain that having everything together in one place makes it easy to do several things together.
Jorge added that the emphasis of food surprised him.
"The next door cabin invited us over," he said, noting that he liked the fact that everyone is brought together over food.
Martha agreed, saying she loved the traditions especially that the Fair has been going on for 125 years.
Laughingly Lina said she warned her parents about what to expect at the Fair.
"They warned us but you can never say enough to really describe it," she said.
Jorge agreed, saying all the lighting on the cabins reminded him of Christmas in Medellin.
Both Jorge and Martha said they loved the horse races, especially seeing a harness race for the first time.
Lina planned to attend the Miss Neshoba County Fair Pageant and the nightly musical entertainment.
"As a Latino American, we love music," she said. "Everywhere we go, we go to music."
Jorge added that they liked the antique car show also.
Jorge and Martha stayed at the Fairgrounds until Wednesday when they were to travel to Nashville with their daughter's family.
Kirk and Lina said they met in a Miami hotel while she was on a business trip and he was taking his mother Sue on a cruise.
"Southern boy meets really Southern girl," Kirk said with a laugh.
Kirk added that Colombia is not as dangerous as it is portrayed in the media.
It's really a great place to be," he said.
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JOSHUA S. LADD
MATTHEW R. STOVALL
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