An Inside Guide to the World’s Biggest House Party

The best parties tend to just happen—and when they’re really good, people keep coming back. For more than a century, the Neshoba County Fair has been the perfect place to spend the dog days of summer.

What started as a meeting of local farmers in 1889 to show livestock and catch up with family and neighbors quickly grew into the premiere event of the year. Today, more than 600 colorful cabins line neighborhoods in this 140-acre site with names such as Happy Hollow, Founders’ Square and Sunset Strip, all centered on enjoying the best of Mississippi.

Here’s how to get the most from your trip to the 2017 edition of the legendary Neshoba County Fair, July 21-28.

What to See

Everything, of course. Daily livestock shows of cattle and sheep lead to the Pretty Cow Contest, while the petting zoo and exhibits of field crops and arts and crafts carry on the country-fair tradition. PRCA rodeo riding and roping and hilarious harness horse racing take over the Grandstand and race track in the afternoon. Nighttime at the fair starts with a festive backdrop set by the glow of the carnival midway and twilight hot-air balloon displays. Make sure to catch the live taping of Thacker Mountain Radio at Founders’ Square on July 22 at 8 p.m.

Who to Hear

The fair didn’t invent political stumping, but it may have perfected it. A long-held fair tradition dating to 1896, politicking at Founders’ Square heats up later in the week. Elected officials from the statehouse to the local courthouse step to the podium in the morning to speak on the issues of the day and join in the good times. By evening, attention turns to the Grandstand for live country, bluegrass, soul and pop music, including headliners William Michael Morgan, Brothers Osborne and more.

Where to Stay

Porch sitting is a marquee event at the Neshoba County Fair. But if you don’t own a cabin—most are passed along through the generations—or haven’t made the right friends yet, there are plenty of other places to sleep off the “World’s Biggest House Party.” The fairgrounds include hundreds of slots for RV campers, and neighboring Philadelphia and Choctaw offer more than a dozen accommodation options, including more than 1,000 rooms in two hotels at Pearl River Resort.

Tickets are $15 per day, and a $40 season pass gets you in all week. Children ages 9 and under get in free. See you on the square.