PHILIPPI - The 2014 Barbour County Fair ended with a flurry of entertainment Friday and Saturday, as hundreds enjoyed country music stars and ATV races.
Nashville recording artist Colt Ford entertained a packed audience at the main stage Friday evening, while singer/songwriter/actress Jamie Lynn Spears performed Saturday.
Spears said this was her third time performing in West Virginia, noting, "Everything here is beautiful from what I've seen."
Ryan Owens rides the mechanical bull at the Barbour County Fair on Saturday.
Spears said her favorite fair food is anything with dill pickles, and she also loves funnel cake. She spent her childhood years as the lead actress on the Nickelodeon television series "Zoey 101," a show still watched by kids today, who look up to her.
When asked how she felt about being a role model, Spears said, "Oh, I've made plenty of mistakes, but I think it's important to own up to those mistakes and learn from them and then move on. When you fall down, get back up again."
Spears' favorite part of performing is connecting with her audience and being face to face with her fans. The crowd enjoyed every minute of it, standing near the stage so they could give Spears high fives as she knelt down to sing to them.
Spears writes her own music and said there is a story behind every song. Some stories are very personal, which was evident as she broke down while singing the song, "I Look Up To You."
Fairgoers enjoyed the variety of attractions offered at the fairgrounds.
Kayla Greathouse, age 8, from Flemington, attends the fair every year with her family and loves to visit the exotic snake exhibit. She held a snake, saying later it was nice, but noting it was also slimy and heavy.
When asked how many snakes were in the exhibit, Kayla replied, "There was a lot in there!" Her mother, Donna Greathouse, said her family enjoyed the exhibit.
Extreme Reptiles is owned by Kirk White from Monongahela, Pa. This is his eighth year bringing his reptiles to Barbour County. This year, he brought a collection of 17 venomous snakes from all over the world, including a 250-lb. python.
At the food court near the top of the hill, various fair favorites were sold, including Zul's Frozen lemonade at the Philip Barbour Band Boosters' stand, pizza at the Haven of Hope booth, and ice cream from the Belington Volunteer Fire Department.
On Friday, dirt bikes, four-wheelers and side by sides lined up to compete to see who would be the first man or woman to cross the finish line in the adult division of the ATV races.
On the hill, the lines were long for the carnival rides. Carmella Cleavenger said she grew up in Barbour County and always attended the fair as a child. Now she brings her grandson Liam West, age 3, from Morgantown. It was his first time coming to the Barbour County Fair, and he had fun "driving" the school bus.
Parsons resident Ryan Owens, 12, looked forward to coming to the fair this year just so he could ride the mechanical bull. He remarked it was hard to do, but it sure was fun.
"It hurt falling off the bull," Ryan said.
His mother, Roxcella Owens, watched his attempt.
"It's beautiful weather this evening," she said. "We're having a great time."
Local radio celebrity Joe Danger came to the Barbour County Fair to introduce the music entertainment for the evening. It had been three years since he had been to the fair and he said he was glad to be back. He brought with him his wife, Kathy, and also his granddaughter, who enjoyed the rides.
Gambill Amusement employee Glenda Bayes said she has been with the carnival for two years, but this was her first time coming to Barbour County.
"It's been great. I've really enjoyed it," she said.