No wonder our Neshoba County Fair is such a success.

Checking the presidential register in my Fair lifetime, we have been led by Mr. Jim Hillman, Brown Williams, Jr., Norman Johnson, Jr., Allan King, Dwight Barrett, Kenneth Breland and Gilbert Donald.

The Neshoba County Fair 2013 came to a close on Friday, Aug. 2 at midnight.

Kenneth Breland, our 13th president and a true and considerate Fair-goer, departed from us Saturday morning, Aug. 3, bound for the fairground God has prepared for us in heaven.

"Squirrel" anxiously and patiently awaited the arrival of his father, knowing full well that he'd have to wait until the Fair was over.

Our prayers are with Shelby, Andy and Steve, Mike Miles, and their families, and their vast extensions of families and friends.


Tag Gamblin was an "only child" born to Vernon Gamblin, former President of The Citizens Bank, Philadelphia, and his lovely wife Cecile.

Tag "hunted down" cousins.

He never missed a family reunion or a family funeral.

His grandfather, Jeff Gamblin, and my grandmother, Maggie Gamblin Darby, were brother and sister.

And then Tag met Dot Boswell.

They married on Dec. 31, 1966, and how things changed.

They have created a population explosion on the east and south corners of the fairground by a count of nineteen, which includes two sons, two daughters, their spouses, and eleven grandchildren!

"They all love the Fair, and were all here this year, as usual," Dot told me, with the happiness of a Fair mother and grandmother.

Tag and Dot's children now open and close both cabins #39 and #33, so that their parents can come and just enjoy the Fair.

"We love being with our Fair friends, and it is a very special time for our family when we can all get together."

Tag worked as an architect in Jackson until his retirement. He and Dot now live in Madison.

Clark and his wife, Holly, and their children, Morgan, Thomas and Colbie, live in Milwaukee, Wis., where Clark is chief of the department of surgical oncology in the Milwaukee Medical Center.

Morgan, who is twelve, won first place in her age division in the talent show at the Fair this year.

Amelia and her husband, Brian Breeze, and their children, Sarah Elizabeth and Jack, live in Birmingham.

Amelia teaches at Mt. Brook Middle School and Brian is head baseball coach at Mt. Oak High School.

Rachel and Chip Wall live with their children, Zaidee, Sam and Allie in Hattiesburg where Chip is a general surgeon.

Jeff and his wife, Mary Shelton, and their children, Ridge, Parker and Ben live in Madison.

Jeff is an orthodontist in Ridgeland with a satellite office in Hazlehurst.

No wonder I have not seen Tag at many family reunions here of late!


This is the story of how Sumate Macarrao, an orphan from Mozambique Africa, ended up at the Neshoba County Fair 2013, as shared with me by Becki Kilgore Stacks of Fayetteville, Ga.

Come Fair time, Becki and her sisters, Karen Crantford of Columbia, S.C., and Julie Joyner of Ft. Mill, S.C., are just "Clayton and the late Jane Dees Kilgore's daughters," who reside with their families in Cabin #242 on Shady Lane.

Julie and Rick Joyner's daughter, Amber Joyner, met Sumate at the Iris Ministries Orphanage eight years ago when he was twelve.

Sumate and his brothers were taken to the orphanage when their mother died.

Sumate was six at that time.

Amber has made five return trips to the orphanage since then.

Sumate "aged out" when he became seventeen and really had nowhere stable to go.

Rick and Julie agreed for him to come to the United States and live with them for one year.

I knew the "rest of the story" before Becki told me.

"Sumate has become a beloved member of the whole extended Kilgore-Joyner-Stacks-Crantford family. We are all hopeful, and willing to help, that he can get another Visa to stay in the States, work and go to college. He would like to become a nurse, a practical skill which he feels he can use wherever life takes him."

Becki continued, "Sumate has an infectious smile, a humble and thankful spirit, a Godly grounded young man who feels "safe and comfortable" here in this great land we call America."

May God continue to bless America and our new friend, Sumate.


And now about Rusty Kynerd's third Fair hat creation. This year it was a large lounging lizard resting peacefully on the head of its artist-creator, aglow with a circle of white flashing, battery-powered lights. "Making it easy for Jane to keep up with me at night", Rusty volunteered. We will have to wait another three years for Rusty to perfect his next "Jimmy Buffet inspired Fair hat creation".


And now let's back up and catch up on what has happened "before the Fair." The time mode now being "after the Fair." Lillian and the late Hubert Killen's family continued a tradition that dates back to 1968 when they began camping for a week at Elkmont Campground, halfway between Gatlinburg and Townsend. I am talking real camping! The first thing they do upon arrival is set up their tents and the fun begins! The ones who opt to stay in town join in the fun of playing and tubing down the Little River, (quite treacherous this year because of the heavy rains), visiting the City Park in Gatlinburg, playing putt-putt golf at Treasure Quest, playing cards (spoons), walking over the campground site, and a whole lot of sitting and talking and eating.

The food is always a treat. What could be better than breakfast cooked and eaten outside or hamburgers and steaks cooked on the grill, (with this footnote - it always rains on steak day!), homemade fruit cobblers with homemade freezer-turned ice cream! And plenty of watermelons! When Matthew Killen was six years old, now in the Army serving our country in Germany, he told his grandmother to bring 33 watermelons for the week's stay!

The big event this year came in celebrating Aunt Helen Blalock's birthday on Saturday. Last year it was the wedding of Keri and Jay Griggs who married in a mountain wedding chapel on the weekend and joined the family later in the week to find their "honeymoon tent" almost afloat with an estimated 400 balloons! This year, the young couple was back to celebrate their first anniversary, and in tradition, they shared the top layer of their wedding cake with their friends and family.

Sharing Aunt Helen's birthday, Keri and Jay's wedding anniversary, and all the fun Lillian and Hubert made a part of their family's life together 35 years ago, were Matriarch Lillian Killen, Cheri, Barry, Presleigh and Weston Hucks; Gary, Kitty, and Morgan Killen; Jay and Keri Griggs; Helen Breland; Terry and Julia Thomas; Hillary Blalock; Larry, Sandi, George, Leighann and Matilda Blalock; Derrell and Cathy Thomas; Charles and Sonya Stevens; Robert and Margaret Thomas; Will Garner and Dylan Kahn.


Kay Copeland shares these fun-filled summer activities as enjoyed by the "Primetimers" at Sandtown United Methodist Church. "In May, they had a "mystery day". Not knowing what they were doing, they loaded on the church bus. They drove through the "back roads" of the county; once in town, they toured the Museum which everyone enjoyed. Back on the bus, they headed out of town, and by the long way around, ended up at the Neshoba County fairgrounds at Cabin #323 where a delicious salad luncheon was awaiting them.

"In June, they loaded on the church bus again for a trip to one of their favorite eating places in Madison, "Mama Hamill's". Then it was off to the mall for an afternoon of shopping. After a few more stops, they headed home, but not before stopping and getting ice cream for the ride home.

"This week, they pretended they were in Hawaii, with grass skirts for some, and leis for everyone at the home of Kay and Lynn Copeland. Those attending this luau were Marie Branning, Debra Bateman, Kenneth and Sandra Watkins, Homer and Frances Stovall, Diane and Rex Copeland, Ivy Pearl Robertson, Jerry Nell DuBard, Sue Fulton, Joe Zumpol, Nora Burton, Jim Steiner, Brother David and Nancy Upshaw, Brother Anthony and Carrie Miller, Connie and Jack Walters, Norma Tank, Diane and Charles Feasel, Prentice Copeland, Randy Seale and Shirley Pool."


And on a sad note, someone mistakenly took a white Yepi cooler with the fish logo on top from our back porch at Cabin #244 on Sunset Strip the last night of the Fair. It belonged to one of our guests and we'd like to get it back for him. Please call me at 601-656-3773 and we'll arrange a "drop-off" location. We thank you. The Fair should never end on a sad note.