UPDATE 7/21/2012 7:57 pm
It's a wrap for the 40th West Virginia Interstate Fair & Expo. The past two years haven't exactly been the kindest to fair goers.
"The fair does really well in getting through these bad situations," explains Russ Collins, Vice-President of the West Virginia Interstate Fair & Expo Board. "The heat last year, it was overwhelming and it got everybody... this year the storms at the beginning of the week. But the kids are out and the people are coming. They get through this stuff."
For 40 years the fair has built up a strong hold in the community. It's even become a yearly tradition for some.
"We come to the fair to spend time with family," says Chrissy Lanham. "My whole entire family is here. Enjoy the rides, see all the horses.
"I like the bunnies and I like the chickens and the turkeys and the lambs," adds Skylar Sams.
No matter what the weather conditions- the fair board works to see that each year is better than the last.
"We listen to the people. We have a website, wvinterstatefair.org, and people will write us and tell us 'hey, we liked this and we didn't like this,'" Collins says. "We try to improve and make it better."
That could make a fair fan out of just about anyone.
The 40th annual West Virginia Interstate Fair & Expo kicks off Tuesday, but it wasn't an easy road to get here.
The fair is going strong like scheduled, but they did have some roadblocks, quite literally, to get through before being able to open the doors on Tuesday.
Construction on Route 14 in Minerals Wells made for heavy traffic on Monday and Tuesday. The DOH was able to complete that project overnight bringing the road back to two lanes and making it much easier to get to the fair.
Last months storm also knocked down multiple buildings and caused heavy damage throughout the fairgrounds, but workers were able to clean all that up within just a few weeks.
Now it's time to focus on what a fair is all about family friendly rides, games, and food!
"We really just came for the rides and to have fun," says fair-goer, Logan.
And fun seems to be the theme this year. The West Virginia Interstate Fair and Expo is celebrating 40 years, and pulling out all the stops.
"Because it's fun. I like horses. They have dragons over there," Jacob says.
Braving the heat, over 40 thousand people are expected to be out on the fairgrounds during the week, both locals and visitors to the valley. Including this group who traveled from Columbus. Teresa Conley says, "I just like the small town feel. I like all the exhibits. The artwork is beautiful."
It's a time that families enjoy all the best a fair has to offer rides, games, and of course food.
"That's what we do. All these dealers out here have been here almost as long as I have. It's my 28th year out here," says food vendor Pat Sprouse.
And the fair prides itself with having something new every year, but always keeping to the family friendly tradition.
"They come out to show off their works and to try to pass off these skills to the younger generations because not many people do home canning or stitchery or even just sewing an apron for instance," says Kay Hill from Community Education Outreach Service.
"I got best of breed. That's when you have the best rabbit out of the breed and then I have these for my other rabbits," says Brady.
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