Jenny Lynn Wilkerson
Jenny Lynn Wilkerson
When Lacie Wilkerson was just two years old, her parents, Steve and Jenny Lynn, rented a cabin on the race track at the Neshoba County Fair. Thus, began a family tradition.

The following year, Steve received word that a cabin located in Beverly Hills was for sale. He jumped at the chance to buy it. The Wilkersons haven't missed a Fair since and have cherished every moment of family time spent here.

Steve, the owner of Steve's on the Square, and Jenny Lynn, a pharmacist at Fred's, plan time off every year for the Fair.

Having raised their daughter going to the Fair, Lacie, now 33, never misses Fair week.

"She takes her vacation to come stay at the Fair cabin during Fair week. If we ever entertained the idea of selling the cabin, Lacie would disown us," said Jenny Lynn.

"In 1990, we tore the cabin down and rebuilt it, but we kept the traditional aspects of the original cabin we loved. We kept the barnyard door and a barnyard window," Jenny Lynn said.

A lifetime Fair goer, she has enjoyed many years of Fair life, but says it's really all about the porch.

"To me it's all about the porch, because it's just family and friends and visiting. It's just really about the conversations you have on it, the memories shared, and definitely the laughter heard," she added.

The biggest event shared at the Wilkerson cabin is the annual Sunday lunch or feast as many refer to it.

During Sunday lunch, 50-60 family and friends join together to partake in anything ranging from traditional Southern cuisine to Puerto Rican chicken.

"Sunday lunch is really my time to cook and entertain," Jenny Lynn said. "We'll have lots of fried okra, shrimp casserole, marinated carrots, peas, egg plant casserole, ham, turkey and squash dressing. We cook just about everything imaginable. Lacie helps with the cooking. She enjoys it, too.

"There have been times we've had people to come that we don't even know. We don't care. Everyone is welcome."

Sunday lunch isn't the only good food being served at the Wilkerson cabin.

"We have dip of the day. We serve a different dip everyday, and everyone always looks forward to the new dips," said Jenny Lynn.

She was quick to add, however, that the traditional favorite of the Fair, shrimp dip, is served every year.

One Fair family tradition is to go to another family member's cabin for Mexican night.

In addition to the great food, the Wilkersons also enjoy watching the races at Kenneth Wells' cabin, going to the beauty pageant and the flea market.

"We enjoy going to the all night singing on Wednesday night at the pavilion. Last year, I got to play the piano for some of the songs. I love all of the old songs we sing," said Jenny Lynn.

On the big political years, Jenny Lynn and Steve always go listen to the major political candidates.

Outside of Fair week, the couple enjoy attending Beacon Street Baptist Church.

Their most enjoyable hobby to do together is to load up Steve's ice cream truck with sweet treats and ride around giving away ice cream to excited children.

"Steve has always said he just wanted to make enough money so that when he retired, he could buy an ice cream truck and give away ice cream. For his 60th birthday, I surprised him with his own ice cream truck that even plays the music," Jenny Lynn said.

"When the truck arrived at our house, Steve had been taking a nap after church. I woke him up and told him to go to the front door, because I thought someone was there. When he looked out the door, still half asleep, he said, 'If this is a dream, don't wake me up.'"

Both natives of Neshoba County, Steve and Jenny Lynn, went to high school together. However, the two did not begin dating until college. They dated on and off for several years, because Jenny Lynn was adamant she had to finish pharmacy school before she would get married. In addition to that requirement, one other requirement had to be met.

"I told Steve, if we could make it through spending a whole Fair week together without fussing, I'd marry him. The next year, we got married. If you can make it through a Fair, you can make it through anything," said Jenny Lynn.

Having just celebrated 35 years of marriage, she is happy to report they still make it through Fair week without fussing.

Cream Cheese Flan with Homemade Caramel Sauce

12 ounces evaporated milk

8 ounces cream cheese

2 cups sugar, divided

5 eggs

teaspoon vanilla

dash salt

Blend milk and cream cheese until smooth. Add one cup sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into nine inch mold caramelized with the extra cup of sugar. Cover with foil. Bake in water bath at 350 degrees for one hour.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup Karo syrup

1/3 cup butter

2/3 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Combine first three ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until comes a boil. Remove from heat. Cool five minutes. Stir in whipping cream.

Puerto Rican Chicken

1 chicken, boiled and deboned

1 large head cabbage, chopped

2-3 large onions, chopped

3/4 cup olive oil

1-1/3 cup ketchup

2-3 jalapeño peppers, chopped

Saute onion and cabbage in olive oil. Add peppers. Add remaining ingredients. Place in 9x13 dish. Cook at 350 degrees until bubbly.

Shrimp Casserole

1 stick margarine

Large onion, chopped

Large can mushroom stems and pieces

12 ounce package egg noodles, cooked as directed on package

Large jar Cheese Whiz

1/2 pound block mexiblend Velveeta cheese

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Boiled, peeled shrimp (at least 40)

Saute onion and mushrooms in margarine. Melt cheeses in microwave and add to onion mixture. Add shrimp and noodles. Place in 9x13 dish and heat at 350 degrees until bubbly.

Hot Marinated Mushrooms

4 pounds mushrooms

1/2 pound unsalted butter

1 bottle red wine (optional) or equivalent water

1 and 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 cloves garlic (minced)

2 cups water

3 beef bouillon cubes

3 chicken bouillon cubes

Combine all ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook three hours covered and one hour uncovered. Serve in chafing dish. Keep in refrigerator for several days.

Tomatoes Scofield

2 cans tomato wedges, slightly drained

2/3 cup oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 onion, finely chopped

Mix oil, vinegar, sugar and onions. Pour over tomatoes. Store in refrigerator. Will keep for several days.