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Time to visit the state fair

August 1, 2009
By Kenneth Cobb

From Aug. 14 through 22, West Virginians will celebrate the 85th annual State Fair located at Fairlea near Lewisburg. There will be the traditional carnival rides, exhibits, grandstand entertainment, harness racing and a lot more. The theme for the 2009 Fair will be "Farm Fresh Fun."

I have been to this event one time when I was a member of the West Virginia Highlander Bagpipe Band. The Highlanders put on two concerts in front of the grandstand during the middle of the week. I have to agree with the promoters of this fair, this is a great place to meet new people, share farming ideas, and simply have a good time.

When the band was not performing, I enjoyed watching the harness racing and looking over the various exhibits. I did not venture over on the carnival side because those things never did impress me.

The West Virginia State Fair has an interesting history. The first event to be called the "State Fair" took place on Wheeling Island in 1881. The Lewisburg Fair evolved from local events that date back to 1854. This was before West Virginia became a state. The Lewisburg Fair became the Greenbrier Valley Fair, the predecessor of today's State Fair, held in 1921. In 1941, the state government officially declared the Lewisburg location the State Fair, but this event was postponed until 1946 because of World War II.

During the first several days (Aug. 14-19) of the Fair, visitors will get a chance to see magnificent horses of different breeds. They will be putting on shows in the "Bluegrass Bowl." Each day of the schedule, there will be several classes of horses that should please horse lovers of all ages.

The State Fair also offers other horse events. This includes the Draft Horse Pull. People who have never experienced a draft horse pull should enjoy watching these powerful animals. Teams of horses will start with a minimum pulling weight of 3,000 pounds. The sled and weights must be pulled a minimum of 27.5 feet to qualify and stay in competition. The weight is increased for each succeeding pull, according to the judge's decision.

I think everyone will enjoy the harness racing. The 2009 racing schedule should be posted online. If you would like more information on this event, call the Racing Department at 304-645-1090.

The farm exhibits represent rural West Virginia at its best. Farmers throughout the state will be showing off their best livestock and/or crops. Rural homemakers will be competing in the various cooking contests with their homemade cakes, pies, jams, jellies and other delicacies. I believe when the people of our state see all of this, it makes them proud to be Mountaineers.

Some of the other activities include manufacturers of farm machinery and tools putting on exhibitions of all sorts. A beauty queen will be selected. In the years when we have a general election, the candidates and political parties put on an elaborate display as part of the fair.

I know by the standards of some larger states that the West Virginia State Fair is somewhat small. I remember when I worked at Memorial General Hospital, I knew a nurse who was from Ohio. This person was used to the Ohio State Fair, which is one of the biggest in the United States. She thought the West Virginia State Fair looked like a "Sunday School Class Picnic." Well, our "State Fair" may be small because West Virginia is a small state in area and population. However, there is quality entertainment packed into the State Fair.

In 2006, our fair generated 174,438 paid admissions. The fact that children younger than 5 are admitted free, along with other admissions, brings the total attendance to well over 200,000.

The State Fair receives no appropriations from the state and largely supports itself from admissions, fees charged to vendors, and rental of the fairgrounds to other groups. It does receive support in kind from the State Department of Agriculture and West Virginia University. According to the 2006 report, the State Fair had an economic impact on Greenbrier County of nearly $9 million. Our State Fair is something all West Virginians can be proud.

From Aug. 14 through 22, West Virginians will celebrate the 85th annual State Fair located at Fairlea near Lewisburg. There will be the traditional carnival rides, exhibits, grandstand entertainment, harness racing and a lot more. The theme for the 2009 Fair will be "Farm Fresh Fun."

I have been to this event one time when I was a member of the West Virginia Highlander Bagpipe Band. The Highlanders put on two concerts in front of the grandstand during the middle of the week. I have to agree with the promoters of this fair, this is a great place to meet new people, share farming ideas, and simply have a good time.

When the band was not performing, I enjoyed watching the harness racing and looking over the various exhibits. I did not venture over on the carnival side because those things never did impress me.

The West Virginia State Fair has an interesting history. The first event to be called the "State Fair" took place on Wheeling Island in 1881. The Lewisburg Fair evolved from local events that date back to 1854. This was before West Virginia became a state. The Lewisburg Fair became the Greenbrier Valley Fair, the predecessor of today's State Fair, held in 1921. In 1941, the state government officially declared the Lewisburg location the State Fair, but this event was postponed until 1946 because of World War II.

During the first several days (Aug. 14-19) of the Fair, visitors will get a chance to see magnificent horses of different breeds. They will be putting on shows in the "Bluegrass Bowl." Each day of the schedule, there will be several classes of horses that should please horse lovers of all ages.

The State Fair also offers other horse events. This includes the Draft Horse Pull. People who have never experienced a draft horse pull should enjoy watching these powerful animals. Teams of horses will start with a minimum pulling weight of 3,000 pounds. The sled and weights must be pulled a minimum of 27.5 feet to qualify and stay in competition. The weight is increased for each succeeding pull, according to the judge's decision.

I think everyone will enjoy the harness racing. The 2009 racing schedule should be posted online. If you would like more information on this event, call the Racing Department at 304-645-1090.

The farm exhibits represent rural West Virginia at its best. Farmers throughout the state will be showing off their best livestock and/or crops. Rural homemakers will be competing in the various cooking contests with their homemade cakes, pies, jams, jellies and other delicacies. I believe when the people of our state see all of this, it makes them proud to be Mountaineers.

Some of the other activities include manufacturers of farm machinery and tools putting on exhibitions of all sorts. A beauty queen will be selected. In the years when we have a general election, the candidates and political parties put on an elaborate display as part of the fair.

I know by the standards of some larger states that the West Virginia State Fair is somewhat small. I remember when I worked at Memorial General Hospital, I knew a nurse who was from Ohio. This person was used to the Ohio State Fair, which is one of the biggest in the United States. She thought the West Virginia State Fair looked like a "Sunday School Class Picnic." Well, our "State Fair" may be small because West Virginia is a small state in area and population. However, there is quality entertainment packed into the State Fair.

In 2006, our fair generated 174,438 paid admissions. The fact that children younger than 5 are admitted free, along with other admissions, brings the total attendance to well over 200,000.

The State Fair receives no appropriations from the state and largely supports itself from admissions, fees charged to vendors, and rental of the fairgrounds to other groups. It does receive support in kind from the State Department of Agriculture and West Virginia University. According to the 2006 report, the State Fair had an economic impact on Greenbrier County of nearly $9 million. Our State Fair is something all West Virginians can be proud.

 
 

 

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