There are many visitors in Philadelphia this week for the 124th edition of The Neshoba County Fair. So, once again, we extend a hearty welcome to all, most especially to those who have come back home to the red clay hills of Neshoba County.

The Fair is a unique part of many lives and helps boost the local economy.

No one has ever put a definitive monetary figure on the Fair's economic impact, but among the building supplies, cabin furnishings, food, beverages, water, electricity, fuel, horse feed and cheese, the amount would be staggering.

The Fair is Mississippi's Giant Houseparty, a grand celebration of kinship and friendship, where strong ties are renewed every summer, meaningful ties that bind, fellowship that is like that to that above.

Tonight is the Sing at the Pavillion, a tradition since the turn of the last century where Fairgoers have gathered around the old piano and belted out standards that go "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do, I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage ...."

We like how first-time Australian visitor Alec Singleton came to the Fair during the weekend and fell in love with the South.

"The Neshoba County Fair and Maker's Mark are a perfect mix," said the college student from Sydney. "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."

To be sure, every cabin has its drama, some of it just kids being kids or guests bringing guests or, more seriously, the pain and confusion that comes with grandpa's dementia and his drinking.

So many people in a confined space for multiple days builds character and patience, patience that is sometimes lost.

While the Fair is an escape, a step back where time stands still, where long, rambling conversations about life and politics can last into the wee hours, there's no escaping the loss of a loved one or friend.

About the Fair, someone said, you can see the stars, hear the rolling thunder, feel a gentle breeze and consider in awesome wonder all the Lord has made, His power throughout the universe displayed, oft remembering the dear ones through Christ He's called home, called home to a happier, sweeter place than even the Fair.

We're genuinely glad you are here. We'll see you in The Fair Times.

Enjoy the Fair!