Neshoba County Fair ag winners excited about shows
The Neshoba County Fair has a deep connection with agriculture, dating back to its beginning in 1889. Those early Fairs were all about showcasing livestock, farm produce, and handcrafted items like other county fairs across the South during that era.
At the most recent Fair, two standout individuals in agriculture were Caleb French and Susan Snow.
French, a 17-year-old from Noxapater, was awarded the Otis Nicholson Award for his outstanding sportsmanship and herdsmanship in the Beef Cattle Show.
“It’s an accomplishment, and I’m thankful and proud that I got it,” he said. “It should be something that everyone strives for.”
French has been showing livestock for six years, and it has transformed him in a multitude of different ways.
“Before, I was really shut in. I didn’t get out much and was a really shy person. Doing this has opened more avenues in my life with people that I’ve met, and it’s made me more outgoing,” he said.
He dreams of expanding his family's cattle operation and making their name known in the world of cattle shows. Right now, they have about 80 heads of cattle and a growing farm. His biggest influences are his mom, Deana, and her husband, Jason, who helps keep him motivated.
The Exhibit Hall features field crops, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, and arts and crafts that are all judged individually for ribbons.
Susan Snow earned a Blue Ribbon and Purple Ribbon for Best of Show with her watermelon at the Fair.
She attributes her win to the unique stripe variety and shape of her watermelon.
“I’m very proud of my blue ribbons. I challenge myself to get all blue ribbons,” she said. “When you get Best of Show, you feel like you’ve really done something, and it was worth all the hard work. It makes you want to do it again next year.”
Snow’s granddaughter, Emma Katherine Jackson, also won top 4-Her at the Fair after receiving multiple Blue Ribbons for fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, and field crops.
Susan and her husband, Darrel, tend to a 3-acre garden with a wide variety of crops featuring peas, butterbeans, ocrea, squash, cabbage, peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, string beans, tomatoes, eggplants, and most recently pie sized pumpkins.
Darrel often prays over the garden before planting, and when there's an abundance of produce, they share it with elderly members of the community who are unable to have their own gardens.
Snow is also passionate about helping others with their exhibits during the Fair and wishes more people would join in to keep this tradition alive.
The Exhibit Hall is a hidden gem for nontraditional Fairgoers, but she says it is gaining more attention lately.
“When people not from around here come in, they can’t believe it and are overwhelmed with all the growers and things that are in there. It’s something different that’s not anywhere else,” she said.
“We’ve been doing the Exhibit Hall for a long time and really enjoy it,” Snow said. “It’s not something you can do overnight. It takes several months in advance to get what you can ready.”
Susan and her family start preparing in January, working tirelessly until the Fair kicks off in July. Their labor of love ensures this Fair time tradition continues for years to come.
Families with youth ages 8 and older interested in showing livestock should contact the MSU Extension Neshoba County office at (601) 656-4011.