By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Tom DeWeese of Starkville has owned cabin No. 5 at the Neshoba County Fair with his sister, Debbie DeWeese Holman, since 1994, but the family history at the fair goes back much further than that.
“Prior to 1994, our family cabin was No. 32. The family got so large we decided to move because our family was growing,” DeWeese said. “Cabin No. 32 was in the family for at least 70 years.”
In fact, the family has grown so much even the new cabin can’t always accommodate every family member.
“All of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are there the first weekend, and we have to start getting rooms at local hotels for the overflow,” said DeWeese. “Our cabin sleeps 22, and we have nine children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and my sister (Debbie) has a family of three.”
For decades, the DeWeese family has enjoyed its time at the Fair. Members start attending it at a very early age.
“There always seems to be a new baby at the Fair,” DeWeese said. “This year it will be our 12th grandchild, Landon. He’s 6 weeks old and is my youngest son’s — David and his wife Michelle’s baby. The youngest baby to ever come was my son, Tony, who was 3 weeks old.”
The siblings call the new cabin Tom and Myrtle’s Full House after their parents, Tom and Myrtle DeWeese, and like to decorate the cabin the same way each year with Christmas lights, disco balls and signs featuring the name of the cabin in the front and back. The DeWeese family said they like a little bit of everything the Fair has to offer, and say in their downtime, they like to play dominoes.
“We love going to the horse races, concerts at the grandstand and dancing to the bands,” said DeWeese. “We always really enjoy the band Class Reunion on Wednesday night.”
Since their cabin is right on the Square, family members also have a guaranteed seat at the political speeches.
“We always listen to the politicians from our front porch on Wednesday and Thursday,” said DeWeese.
The family has some Fair traditions that are all their own, including a yearly Friday night barbeque for family and friends catered by The Little Dooey of Starkville.
“We always invite some cousins over and have a vegetable lunch on Thursday and appetizers on Thursday night,” DeWeese said. “The Fair is a family reunion we look forward to plan and talk about all year,
DeWeese said he has tons of funny memories from Fairs past, but declined to share the details.
“I couldn’t come up with one that could be printed,” DeWeese jokingly said.
These are some of the DeWeese family’s favorite Fair recipes:
Cathy Kemp’s Rye Bread Appetizers
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated parmesan (Kathy used the kind in the little tub)
4 ounce can mushroom pieces and stems – drained and chopped fine
1 2.8 can French fried onions
1 loaf party rye bread
Mix all of the “stuff” until well mixed and easy to spread. Spread on bread pieces and put on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for a few minutes maybe - 10-15. Let them sit awhile after you bake them and the juices soak into the bread better – serve warm.
I made up the mix the night before and it worked really well.
Myrtle’s Little Pizzas
2 lb. Southern Belle Hot Sausage
2 lb. Velveeta cheese
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 ½ tsps. oregano
1 ½ tsps. garlic powder
Fry sausage and drain, put sausage back in pan and add cheese. After it melts,
add the other ingredients. Do not boil. Cook slowly for a few minutes. This
freezes well. Spread on bread rounds and back 5-8 minutes at 350.
Allison DeWeese’s Recipe for Homemade Salsa
1 can rotel
1 can diced tomatoes with peppers and onion
¼ to ½ onion chopped
fresh cilantro to taste
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. garlic powder
Put all ingredients in blender and blend!
Strawberry – Pretzel Salad
3 cups crushed pretzels
½ cup melted oleo (1 stick)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 8 oz. cream cheese, creamed
½ cup sugar
1 small carton Cool Whip
2 (3 oz.) pkgs.Strawberry Jello – or 1 6 oz. package
2 cups boiling water
1 (16 oz.) frozen strawberries
This will be done in layers.
Bottom layer: Pretzels, butter and 3 Tablespoons sugar. Mix and press into 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees; cool.
Middle layer: Cream cheese, add ½ cup sugar and then blend in the Cool Whip. Mix together and spread on cooled pretzel “crust”.
Top layer: Mix strawberry Jello with the 2 cups boiling water. Add the strawberries.
Let thicken and spread on cream cheese layer. Refrigerate.