Scottish family making Fair a new tradition
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 AM
After two visits to the Neshoba County Fair, a native Scotswoman is confident an annual visit will be a new tradition for her family.
Ashona Ard wasn't prepared for her first encounter in 2012, but she got into the festivities quickly and enjoyed her stay.
"I absolutely roasted last time," she said. "Everyone was doing their thing. It was like one big party."
Political speaking gets under way this morning on Founders Square as the Fair is in day six of its 125th run.
Sen. Thad Cochran will launch his general election campaign on Thursday. He is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. Democratic nominee Travis Childers will speak at 10:20 a.m.
Gov. Phil Bryant will speak on Thursday morning along with other state officials.
After his speech, Bryant will give special recognition to The Yates Companies which is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. (See story on page 1A).
The A.J. Yates Memorial Late Night Sing, a favorite at the Fair, is tonight at the Pavilion on Founders Square.
On Monday night, Macy Martin, daughter of Ike and Carla Martin, was crowned Miss Neshoba County.
Fairgoers should expect mild temperatures with the forecast predicting even cooler weather as the week progresses.
Ard is married to Phil Ard, a Jackson native. They have one son together, Brodie, and Ashona has a son from a previous relationship, Matthew Helstrip.
She especially noted the Fair's party atmosphere and the horse races, giving her the impression that everyone was relaxed.
Ard said with a hearty laugh that no one prepared her for Mississippi's Giant Houseparty.
Unfortunately, she missed the 2013 Fair because of the birth of her son Brodie but she made sure she returned this year and this time she was prepared.
The couple stayed in the cabin of Phil's aunt and uncle.
A couple from Colombia was just as struck as Ashona on her first visit to the Fair.
Jorge and Martha Londono were here with their daughter and son-in-law, Lina and Kirk Tinsley, a former Philadelphia resident.
"I came with a lot of expectations," Jorge said using his daughter as an interpreter. "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 on 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.
Eschol Lewis fondly remembers the taffy she used to get on the first day of the Neshoba County Fair.
Lewis, 100-years-old as of May 15, is one of the few remaining people who remembers when the Neshoba County Fair only consisted of a handful of cabins and no one had electricity.
"I've been coming to the Fair most all those years but there have been a few years I've missed," she said.
When entering the Fair flag competition, artist Kyle Stribling knew he wanted to keep the design simple.
Stribling, the son of Larry and Debra Stribling, said from the onset of the design process he looked at the current flag and the design for the 100th anniversary in 1989 for inspiration.
The Fair Association chose his design for the 125th anniversary flag earlier this summer.
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.
This year Mitchell Brothers and Sons Amusement features a 125-foot tall ride known as the "Starflyer."
For the thrill seekers, rides like the Ring of Fire, Orbiter and the Extreme are drawing long lines on the midway.
The Fair Association presented the Youth Achievement Award to John Thomas Bates Jr. Monday night.
Bates recently graduated from Neshoba Central High School and is the son of John and Penny Bates.
Top entertainers to
perform at Fair
CMA "New Artist of the Year" nominee Brett Eldredge will take the grandstand stage tonight at the Fair.
The award-winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will perform their country rock and bluegrass favorites Thursday night and Easton Corbin, an up and coming country music star, will close the Fair entertainment line-up on Friday.
All four acts will take place at the Grandstands and will begin at 8 p.m. each night.
Kosciusko-based band, Class Reunion, will be the dance band tonight at 9:30 p.m. on Founders Square.
Thursday brings The Chill to Founders Square. They also begin at 9:30 p.m.
The Jason Miller Band will close out dance music at the Fair on Friday at 9 p.m. at Founders Square.
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.