I was interested in the front-page article in the February 3 Times-News about the debate over the annual Desha County Fair. I also enjoyed your editorial on that subject in the same issue titled "When a jar of jelly and a goat just isn't enough." I too have fond recollections of the fair and would also hate to see it become nothing but a faded memory.
Back on January 8, the 75th birthday of Elvis Presley, the Tulsa World asked readers to send in their memories of their first encounters with Elvis. My memory of the King, which involves the Desha County Fair, was published by the World on its Web site:
My first encounter with Elvis’ music was in 1954 at a [Desha] county fair in Southeast Arkansas. The carnival kept playing "That's All Right, Mama" over and over. I thought it was "hickey." Later some of the girls from my [McGehee] high school class came back to school with autographed photos of Elvis they had bought at one of his concerts in a neighboring Delta town [Dermott]. I took one look at those long sideburns (which no one but country clods wore in those days), all that greasy hair, and that curled-lip sneer, and said, "You mean to tell me y’all paid a quarter for a picture of this yap?"—our word for a county hick. Later I became a fan of the King and began to call his birthday "Elvismas."
I think of the Desha County Fair and Elvis Presley every time I drive around McGehee and pass by the fairgrounds.