The Fair ‘is on’


The 2021 Neshoba County Fair is officially on, Fair Board President Gilbert Donald declared Tuesday.

“All I can say is this,” Donald told the Democrat. “As of this date we plan on having the Fair this year, period.”

On Tuesday, 2021 Arts and Crafts applications were posted on the Fair’s Facebook page.

For the first time since four runs during World War II, the Fair was cancelled last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fair was cancelled in 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 and resumed in 1946, according to the Democrat's archives. The Fair would have celebrated its 131st year last year.

Donald said organizers plan to monitor the situation and offer updates, but as of now, the Fair is on and will run from July 23 through July 30. 

Fair Manager Doug Johnson said that date has been in place for about three years.

His grounds crews are “working as hard as they can” towards holding the Fair this year. He said in some parts of the grounds they have close to two years of rain and weather to work against.

Donald said he knew many families missed an opportunity to see each other last year.

“The board knows that for many families this is the longest period of time they get to spend together and they missed that last year,” Donald said.

Donald said they hope to make regular updates on the progress of the Fair. He said the Fair would not be canceled unless something happens that the board could not foresee. 

First on the agenda to get things moving is the stockholders meeting set for Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the conference room of the Community Development Partnership Building. There, stockholders will appoint a fair board and set an agenda.

Johnson said organizers are looking at state and CDC guidelines as well as other safety concerns as they prepare the grounds.

Donald noted they are already distributing the applications for Arts and Crafts.

Laura Bryan, the pianist at the Fair’s Late Night Sing for the last 50 years, was so overcome with grief last year she sat down at her piano and played all 90 songs that include standards such as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “My Buddy,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

“I am so sad that we will not have the 2020 NCF,” she said. “I understand why we can't have it, but that doesn't help the sadness I feel — not just for the Fair but for all who are suffering from COVID-19 or anything else.”

The one thing she missed the most was the Sing. “When I heard the news last night, I went over to my piano and played all 90 songs!”

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