Bill Mayo and wife Cherri Mayo sit on either side of their grandson Elliot Mayo, 6, on the porch of Cabin 211 at the Neshoba County Fair Thursday. The Mayos arrived at the Fair last Wednesday after a trip that included Chicago, Ghana and London.
Bill Mayo and wife Cherri Mayo sit on either side of their grandson Elliot Mayo, 6, on the porch of Cabin 211 at the Neshoba County Fair Thursday. The Mayos arrived at the Fair last Wednesday after a trip that included Chicago, Ghana and London.

Dr. Bill and Cherri Mayo traveled halfway around the globe and then sprinted back across the pond to make the Fair.

Cherri Dees Mayo is a Neshoba County native and has been coming to the Fair for as long as she can remember. Bill, a native of Drew, says he “married into it” 42 years ago. The Mayos of Oxford purchased Cabin 211 in 2001 and have raised children and grandchildren there since on a busy stretch down from the Post Office.




Dr. Mayo was recently named president of the American Osteopathic Association and traveled to Chicago in his new role on July 21. He and Cherri then whisked off to Ghana, leaving Chicago on July 22 and arriving in the African nation on July 23. Then it was on to London before returning just in time to catch the last couple of days of The Neshoba County Fair that ended officially Friday at midnight.

"You just don't miss the Fair," Cherri Mayo said.

Dr. Mayo was on official duty, however.

“I was going there (Ghana) to represent the AOA at the Association of Medical Councils of Africa,” Bill Mayo said. noting that it is an organization making up the licensing boards of 17 African nations. “I have never been to Ghana before. I have been to Haiti, Guatemala and Belize on medical and mission trips, but never to Ghana.”

During their stay in Ghana, the Mayos said they stayed in a lovely resort in an impoverished area of the country.

“We did not leave the resort except for one time,” Bill Mayo said. “We went to a restaurant about 15 minutes away overlooking a hydroelectric dam over the Volta River.”



Cherri Mayo said that security was a constant presence in their hotel, including one occasion in particular.

“One day I noticed that the guards were walking around with machine guns,” Mayo said. “That day the vice president of the country came to speak to Bill’s group.”

Four days after they arrived, on the day the Neshoba County Fair officially began, Friday, July 27 the Mayos left Ghana on their way to London.

“We had to connect through London, and we met with Maurice Cheng, the CEO of the Institute of Osteopathy in the U.K.,” Dr. Mayo said.

The couple’s trip to London was significantly different than their experiences in Ghana.

"We were actually in Westminster, and there was a bike race going on," Cherri Mayo said. “There were no cabs or buses, no transportation at all. We had to go everywhere on foot."

"We walked around the city for about two and a half hours," he said. They visited Buckingham Palace, spending four hours there and in the underground bunker that Winston Churchill used during World War II to conduct the British war effort.

Even in London, the Fair was not far from their minds.

"While we were in London we talked about getting back in time so that we could get back to the Fair," Mayo said.

Before coming back home, the couple got the chance to experience high tea at the Ritz-Carlton in London.

"The Ritz was nice," Cherri Mayo said. "Everything you would think it would be."

"We had high tea at the Ritz and then came back home to have sweet tea on our porch here at the Fair," Bill Mayo said.

The couple left England Tuesday midday and arrived back in Oxford by 11 p.m.

"After being gone for several days we had some laundry and other chores to take care of," Cherri Mayo said.

The couple, with little rest, continued their trip on to the Fair, arriving at the fairgrounds by 8 p.m. last Wednesday.

"At one point I asked myself are we stupid to do this?" Cherri Mayo said of their travel experiences. "But you just don't miss the Fair."

The couple said they were exhausted when they arrived at the Fairgrounds and that their plan was simply to relax.

"The goal is to take it easy as best as we can," Bill Mayo said Thursday at the Fair.

When asked why the couple put in such an effort to return for the Fair, Mayo had this to say, "One word, family. It is great to know that my grandchildren know their third cousins from Ohio because of the Fair. It is an opportunity to just sit on the porch and visit."

Mayo said he felt that the Fair has something to teach the country.

"We have gotten away from just visiting with our neighbors," he said. "We need to get back to that, the country could learn something from the Fair."