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Unharness your appetite at the fair

By Staff
TEA CAKE QUEEN Myrtis Skinner of the Bethsaidi Community in Philadelphia has made tea cakes for more than 50 years to take to the Neshoba County Fair. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 31, 2002
Myrtis Skinner, Christy Phillips, Rebecca McClain and Beverly Woods all have one thing in common.
They are among the thousands of other area residents who are cooking up their specialities this week at the Neshoba County Fair.
Tradition runs deep at the fair and that's no more evident than at cabin #51 the Skinner, Hooper and Kuykendall Cabin.
At 90 years young, Myrtis Skinner is still going strong. She loves to work in her garden and cooking at the fair is a passion.
On the first day of the fair, the family sat down to a lunch of homegrown corn, butter beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, with fried chicken and homemade cornbread.
Other families
Meanwhile at cabin #80, Beverly Woods is preparing a Fiesta Corn Dip and waiting on her family to arrive.
Woods' husband, Andy, is the former mayor of Louisville, so she has a lot of experience feeding local politicians.
Tradition is special at the Woods cabin also.
Planning ahead is something Woods also believes in.
Large families
On the menu this year at the Phillips cabin is Boston Butts and casseroles.
Phillips started preparing food about two weeks prior to the fair. She has about 24 family members who are planning to join her this week.
Not too far away, Philadelphia resident Rebecca McClain's cabin, which has been in her family since 1946, faces Founders Square.
This year, she did have a request from her grandson, Chas, who celebrated his 16th birthday Tuesday.
Out-of-town guests
At all the cabins, families were expected from other states.
Myrtis Skinner was waiting on her son from the Gulf Coast who was bringing fresh seafood.
About 40 of Skinner's family members are coming in from Pascagoula, Colorado and Nashville, while Phillips was expecting her cousins from Louisiana and Arkansas to joining her family.
Her daughter, Shirley Hooper, adds: "Mother's attitude is fair first, heaven second."