History etched on Neshoba Fair walls
Madison residents Amba and Buddy Ogletree are spending this week in the heat and mud at the Neshoba County Fair.
The words “record-keeping” have a pretty dreary and bureaucratic ring to them but at the Fair they take on a lively spirit of ingenuity.
Many cabins log visitors by signature and their Cabin 309 is no different — though instead of signing a Fair poster, guests are invited to sign the walls in the downstairs bathroom.
The bathroom walls, ceiling and door in the Stokes Wreck Cabin is covered with signatures and still has space for many more. Logan Lynch, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, said the earliest date he can make out goes back to the mid-’80s. Buddy Ogletree of Madison, said that sounds about right for when the tradition was started.
Whenever a new guest pops by it is not long before you see someone’s eyes light up and say, “Get me a marker.”
Buddy’s wife, Amba Stokes Ogletree, is the cabin owner. It was built by her father, the late Harold Stokes in 1962. Harold owned a tow truck and wrecking service in Philadelphia. Amba’s mother Eloise Stokes is 93 years old and makes trips out to the Fairgrounds when it is not too hot.
The Stokes Wreck sleeps 28 people at full capacity. Logan is Amba and Buddy’s son-in-law. He is married to their daughter Danielle Lynch. They have two children Carson, 10, and Juliet, 7.
Like at most Fair cabins, food is a big part of the Stokes Wreck cabin tradition. Cabin lore says that one year a cousin making a delivery of chicken to the cabin got caught up in the middle of one of the horse races. Buddy said that truthfully it happened in between races and it did cause a bit of a stir.
Logan is “responsible for all the protein” with his signature meal being ribs.
Amba spends the weeks leading up to the Fair preparing and freezing casseroles to ensure there are always ready-to-eat meals for everyone.