Top musical entertainment, harness and running horse races, an exciting midway, political speaking and many other attractions await visitors to the Neshoba County Fair which starts Friday for eight exciting days.

The Fair continues through Friday, Aug. 2.

The weather forecast shows highs hovering in the 90s during the daytime with lows dipping into the upper 60s and 70s for three nights beginning Saturday.

Eighteen young ladies will compete for the 2014 Miss Neshoba County title Monday night at the grandstand. (See story page 9B)

The theme of this year's pageant will be "Stampede of Beauties" and feature the contestants doing a country dance routine to the song "Boot Scootin' Boogie," donning cut off shorts, tank tops and cowboy boots!

Dance choreographer is Ali Gray.

The pageant will begin at 8 p.m. and include a flyover by two planes from the Naval Air Station in Meridian, said pageant director Gail Breazeale.

As always, the grandstand will be the venue to musical concerts during the Fair featuring The Dustin Lynch Show on Tuesday, July 30; The Greg Bates Show on Wednesday, July 31; The Joe Nichols Show on Thursday, Aug. 1; and The Craig Morgan Show on Friday, Aug. 2.

Harness and running races are held each day of the Fair beginning Sunday, July 28. Mitchell Bros. & Sons Amusements will be open on the midway each day as well as a free petting zoo at the cattle arena.

On Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Mitchell Bros. will office special family night prices for pre-Fair carnival rides.

The Harper, Morgan and Smith PRCA Rodeo will be Friday and Saturday of the Fair at 7:30 p.m. 

The Philadelphia Sertoma Club's Heart O'Dixie Triathlon will get under way on Saturday with the first competitors to cross the finish line at the grandstands. 

Also planned throughout the day on Saturday is the Fair's Arts and Crafts Show on Founders Square featuring over 100 vendors.

Thacker Mountain, the Oxford-based radio program hosted by Jim Dees, will bring its unique blend of humor and music to the pavilion on Founders Square on Saturday from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The show will feature the house band, The Yalobushwhackers, Memphis Soul Band, the Bo-Keys, ESPN journalist Wright Thomson and Blues singer Beth McKee.

Worship services conducted by the Rev. Scott Boater and God's House are planned for 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the pavilion on Founders Square.

Also planned on Sunday are an antique car show, a performance by the Vernon Brothers at the grandstand and a concert by First Baptist Church Choir at the pavilion at 6:30 p.m.

There will be a gospel music concert featuring The Way of the Cross Quartet and Celebration II at the grandstand Sunday night beginning at 8 p.m.

Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, executive director of the National Guard Association of Mississippi, will speak at the Veteran's Memorial Service on Tuesday of the Fair.

Three college and university presidents are scheduled to speak at the Fair this year under the pavilion. Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of The University of Mississippi, will be a special guest speaker on Wednesday, July 31 at 10 a.m. Dr. Bill Stewart, president of East Central Community College, will be a special guest speaker on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. followed by Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, at 10:10 ap.m.

Political speaking starts under the pavilion at the Fair beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday July 31, with Circuit Court Judges Marcus Gordon and Vernon Cotten first at the podium followed state Rep. Scott Bounds.

Also on schedule for Wednesday of the Fair are Sen. Giles Ward, Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey, Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, Attorney General Jim Hood and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

Gov. Phil Bryant will address Fairgoers on Thursday, Aug 8 beginning at 10:30 a.m.

District Attorney Mark Duncan will be the first speaker on Thursday of the Fair starting at 9 a.m. Other include Chancery Court Judge Joey Kilgore, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney; State Treasurer Lynn Fitch; and House Speaker Philip Gunn.

The annual Hometown Proud program is set for Thursday, Aug. 1 on Founders Square beginning at 11 a.m.

A fireworks show by Pyrotechnico will be held the final night of the Fair on Friday, Aug. 2 at midnight.

Season tickets to the Fair are $40, while day tickets are $15.

Children nine and under will be admitted free. For a complete Fair schedule, go to: neshobacounty