Brian, Leann, Adela, Brilee and Kemper
Brian, Leann, Adela, Brilee and Kemper
Brian Lillis.

Current city:

Occupation and what it entails:
P.E. Coach for Madison Ave. Upper Elementary with is third through fifth grades.  I also run the website for the school and produce a live student ran tv morning show called MAUE TV.

Tell us about your family:
Leann and I have three children (two girls and one boy) Adela is 4, Brilee is 3 and Kemper is 1.
Leann works as a Nurse Anesthetist at St. Dominic's.
Adela and Brilee both attend MRA Pre K.  Kemper goes to St. Domicare which is where my wife works.  

How long have you been coming to the Fair?
I have been coming to the Fair since I was born. I can remember being very young (3 or 4)  before we had a camper and mom bringing Brock and me out to watch the horse races and then go visiting their friends that had a cabin (Steve and Vickie Burt).  
Brock would always get to stay a night or two because he was three years older than me and not nearly as hyper and rambunctious as I was.  I would either try to throw a fit to get to stay or pretend I was asleep in a bed upstairs so I would get to stay(it only worked 1 time).

Tell us about the cAMPER you are staying in:
Before mom and dad bought a camper, I always stayed with friends usually it was at either with Landon Byars at his family's cabin or the Morrow Cabin with Cody Morrow.  Eventually when I was 6 or 7 years old dad bought a camper and we got camper spot #75. We absolutely love  the camper section because it is peaceful and quiet at night.  We also have made really good friends that camp next to us(Sparky Bryan).  We have been camping long enough together that we pretty much know what the menu for the Fair will be and cook together and have big spread with both of our families.  
Our Sunday night tradition of fried fish has become a favorite of most of the people around our camper.  You will look around and there will be 10 or 15 people there just "randomly" stopping by to sample some of Keith Lillis' famous fried fish!   We love it....Dad and I fish for white perch year around so there is always more than just gives a good excuse to tell our wives that we need to go more and we are really doing to feed

What are some of your favorite memories of the Fair growing up as a child?
I guess my best memory as a kid growing up was being 7 years old and dad had taken me walking down to listen to a band at someone's cabin and we ran into a neighbor from the Fork Rd.(Mark Boatner) and he gave me a HUGE stuffed animal (not really and animal but a joker character) he had won shooting the basketball into that football shaped basket on the midway.   The next morning I took my oversized prize down into the grounds to go show my friends what I had accumulated.
It was probably 8 or 9 in the morning and I was cutting through the midway.  One of the carnies spotted the big animal and offered me $30 to buy it back and I lied to him and said, "I spent more than that winning it" so I went to walk away and said, "what will it take to buy it" and I said $100.  He offered me $85 and I sold it to him.   That may not seem like a big deal but my parents limited me to $20 a day playing games at the midway.  I didn't tell them about selling the stuffed animal so when they gave me my $20, I added my $85 to it and spent the whole night throwing darts, picking up ducks, busting bottles with baseballs and trying my best to win another one of those HUGE animals so I could do it all over again.

What do you like best about the Fair now?
Far and away my favorite part of the Fair is the horse races!   I have always been hooked on watching horses race.  I started out watching horse races when a neighbor (Joe Tidwell) would bring me out to watch match races at Happy Jack McNair's cabin on Sunday's before the Fair actually started.  
Then when we got a little bit older my brother and I would go watch them from The Morrow's cabin.  That was always the best time because we would have anywhere from 20-50 kids hanging out of the cabin screaming and yelling for their horse to win!   I hope my kids enjoy it as much as we did!  Every year we meet back up at the Morrow cabin and there will always be stories told that will make you laugh so hard tears will fall.
What events or happenings do you attend each year at the Fair and why?
Outside of horse racing, I really enjoy listening to music at night.  It is not really so much to listen to music as it is to talk to friends.  And it never fails that I will run into somebody new every night that I have not seen since last years fair.  
One event I really miss is the Santa Fe Band singing at the grandstands on Saturday night.  That was always the biggest gathering Philadelphians of the year.  We would literally stay there talking two hours after the band quit singing.  But anybody that knows me will tell you carrying on a conversation is not something I struggle

What are some of your favorite "family traditions" at the Fair?
It's one of those games that I remember my mom taking me to do when I was very young and I carry my kids every year.  I hope my children will let me watch them pick up ducks for a very long time. They get so excited to pick our those silly cheap toys and it makes me laugh.  
I also love the fact that barring a significant life changing event our family will be together to hangout for an entire week every year.  The fair is one event you can count on everybody coming too.  
In my 31 years of living I have only missed one Fair and that was when Leann(my wife) and I were living in Nashville, Tenn. while she was in school to practice anesthesia. I was working as a technician with Comcast cable.  I sat down with my boss a told him about the Fair and how down I was about having to miss the horse races.  He could tell how passionate I was and he told me if I came up with a plan to listen to horse races I could work through my lunch hour and take it at the end of the day to listen while I did paperwork.  You may not believe this but I would call my mom's phone and she would prop it up beside a radio on 102.3 FM and i would listen to the running horse races in Nashville, TN.  I will never forget my boss running into the room I listening to races in and asking "who is Kenny ray?" because he had heard me screaming for Streaking Kenny Ray to win the Jim Dance Memorial.  Mark this down...outside of life changing event in my family I will not miss another fair.

What significant events have happened in your life since you left Philadelphia?
The only significant events that has happened to me since leaving Philly is becoming a dad to three of the most energetic children in America. I look back and try to remember what I did with my days and nights before having kids.  My wife and I absolutely love living in Madison because the kids always have something to do with the Children's Museum and different events that take place in Jackson and Madison.  As we are talking about this article my wife are getting things ready to go to Mississippi State Bulldog Extravaganza here at the Convention Center to get pictures taken with Bully and meet some of the Bulldog players and coaches.