Horses round the curve. Below left, the antique car show.
Horses round the curve. Below left, the antique car show.
Australian Alec Ingleton attended his first Neshoba County Fair and fell in love with the South.

"The Neshoba County Fair and Maker's Mark are a perfect mix," he said. "And as long as I can I'm going to come back to The Neshoba County Fair every, single year because the South is the real America and the only place worth considering if you're going to come here from Australia."

Political speaking gets under way this morning on Founders Square as the Fair enters day six of its 124th run amid some of the coolest consecutive nights in decades.

The Late Night Sing is tonight at the Pavillion.

On Monday night, Macken'z Smith was crowned Miss Neshoba County.

The Fair will continue through Friday. Season tickets are $40 and day tickets are $15. Go to neshobacountyfair.org for a complete schedule of events.

Gov. Phil Bryant will speak on Thursday morning along with other state officials.

A college student from Sydney, Australia, who might have traveled the furtherest to the Fair, Ingleton was here with his girlfriend, Claire Whitehurst of Madison and an Ole Miss student.

Whitehurst is childhood friends with Rosalie Nolan of Jackson and has been coming to the Fair to the Pete Perry cabin for years. (Nolan's mother, Connie Jeans, is part of venerable Vernon Brothers bluegrass group.)

"I didn't know I was coming," said Ingleton, who has traveled America and been to places like New York City. His girlfriend entered a painting in the Art Show at the Exhibit Hall and told him last week they were coming, but she "didn't explain where we were going."

Ingleton said the hospitality of the Fair is amazing if not overwhelming and that he's seen nothing else like it anywhere.

A visitor from Germany was just as struck by her first visit to the Fair.

Chicken-on-a-stick, horse races and cabins are not the norm where Mathilde Tittel comes from in Germany.

A native of Magdeburg, Germany, Tittel is a Foreign Exchange student who lives with Neshoba County native Larry Blalock and his family in Greenville, Tenn.

"I like the small town because everyone seems to know you," said Tittel. "People are just welcoming you all the time."

Tittel said it was a change going from German food to down-home cookin.'

"People really like sweet tea and biscuits and gravy down here," she said.

One major adjustment for Tittel was that she had to go from saying the German "guten tag" to "hello" to "hey y'all," especially while at the Fair.

Tittel said the rodeo was her favorite part of her visit to Mississippi's Giant House Party.

"I have heard about rodeos, but this was my first time seeing one," said Tittel. "This was my first seeing a cowboy that was not in a movie."

Philadelphia resident Myra Thrash said she was not well enough to come to the Fair, but she came any way.

She has particularly enjoyed the cooler temperatures.

"The Fair has been good," she said. "We haven't had as many people as we usually have. The weather on Saturday was wonderful.  It was so cool and nice."

Dot Gamblin and her husband Tag have been coming to their Fair cabin for years, but this year they came as guests.

The couple is letting their four children run the cabin this week.

"So, we got to come as guests this year, enjoy our 11 grandchildren and not have to do work," said Dot.

Despite the Fair being a festive place, it can also have some unpleasant moments.

Meanwhile, a World War II airplane propeller was stolen off the front of the Mars Hangar Cabin on Founders Square. The propeller was hung the weekend of July 20.

"To get it down, someone must have gone to a lot of trouble," Sam Mars said.  "They would have had to get a ladder and cut the steel cable."

The family is offering a reward for information leading to the return of the propeller.

There's one dog on the Fairgrounds this year, Rusty, the official Fair dog. And he's back despite a snake bite injury.

Rusty was born under Cabin 15 on Founders Square about five years ago. The mixed breed dog has lived on the Fairgrounds all his life.

Fair Manager Doug Johnson said Rusty serves as the "watch dog" of the Fair.

The midway has also seen a lot of action at this year's Fair, especially the Ferris wheel, one of the largest in the Southern region of the country.

The gondola-style wheel can hold a family of four to six.

For the thrill seekers, rides like the Ring of Fire, Orbiter and the Extreme are drawing long lines on the midway.

The Fair Association did not present the Youth Achievement award this year.

Fair President Gilbert Donald said that area schools did not nominate any students for the annual award.