WV Interstate Fair Celebrates 40 Years

By: Shannon Houser, Erin Pulsanti Email
By: Shannon Houser, Erin Pulsanti Email

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.

For a full list of events, click on the hot button.

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  • by fair days Location: local on Jul 24, 2012 at 08:33 AM
    When it was called the 4-H and wood county fair, their fair pageant for fair queen consisted of girls who were in 4-H which it should still be that way. Not someone from other counties or states. It's not the Miss America pageant. A lot of people would attend the fair just for the pageant and the talent shows they used to have. Now they have them somewhere else before the fair even begins. They should left have well enough alone. That's what happens when you try to turn something small into something big. Trying to be a state fair is not working very well.
  • by good times at the fair Location: country on Jul 24, 2012 at 06:49 AM
    I remember the fair as good times when it was the 4-H and wood county fair. They let 4-H clubs have concession stands to earn money for their clubs. I had a 4-H club and we had a concession and sold hotdogs 2/$1.00 and we sold a bunch of hotdogs, drinks and chips. But now days they don't do that at the fair. They have concessions that charge a lot just for a drink. People can't afford to feed their kids at the fair due to food prices. At the 4-H and wood county fair you could at least treat your children to cotton candy, hotdogs or drinks at a reasonable price. The fair has sure changed over the years.
  • by Belleville Location: Planet West Virgina on Jul 23, 2012 at 09:16 PM
    The best Livestock show and sale is at the stockyards..Every Saturday there is a stockyard somewhere that will show your livestock and sell them for you and then they make hamburger, pork chops,lamb chops depending on what you have...Its a win win for everyone. They are not near as overpriced as at the fair either.
  • by just so you know on Jul 23, 2012 at 04:29 PM
    for those people who are not in the fair, and who do like it thenkeep your mouth shut about it. As a member of 4H and FFA I am happy to even have a fair to go to and be able to show my animals and what all i havedonewith themover the year. If you dont like the wv interstate fair and expothen simply dont go it is that simple, However dont down on the highlight of 4h and FFA members week to have fun bewith friends and enjoy their fair. I am sure those of you who caomplain can not and could not remotly put on a fair and keep it all together
    • reply
      by Belleville on Jul 23, 2012 at 09:12 PM in reply to just so you know
      Why pay to see livestock ?? If you like to see livestock in a pen,go to the stockyards on a Saturday,they show them and sell them,with out in favortism.Besides that they all taste the same,whether they have a ribbon around there neck or not. Got Beef ?
      • reply
        by just so you know on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:28 AM in reply to Belleville
        well seeing that the fair is for youth. And a stockyard is not always youth friendly. Yes i have been to different stock yards and not just around here and i have also worked at one. also not all stockyards operate on saturday. And if you dont want to see the livestock then dont thats fine but dont rain on the parade of youth and 4h and FFA members. Got Beef.. hmm nope dont show them anymore or own any there are other and better forms of livestock.
    • reply
      by I know on Jul 24, 2012 at 05:38 AM in reply to just so you know
      Just so you know...you are telling everone who is not in the fair and do not like the fair to " keep there mouths shut " re you the only one that is allowed to have an opnion ? If no one agrees with you they are not allowed to have a voice ?? That is very narrow minded of you... We all have a right to speak our minds. Sorry but not everyone agrees with you !! You need to learn how to deal with it...
      • reply
        by just so you know on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM in reply to I know
        no im not saying that only I should have an opinion. Im saying dont rain on the parade of the youth and members of the 4H and FFA. Would you like it if alot of people went around saying nasty things about something you thought highly about. HMmm try thinking out side of the box. Before you go point fingers. First take a few steps back and look at your self and your actions for a change. Also i know not every one does not agree with me, but are you saying i can not have an opinion????
  • by numnuts Location: parkersburg on Jul 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM
    the fair has not been same since it became the wv interstate fair and expo. it sucks since the moved it across the road. it has not been 40yrs it was the 4-H years before the renamed it. someone needs to get info right. it needs to go back to 4-H. The fair is a joke thats why I quit going. it was some much more enjoyable 15 yrs ago compared to what it has become today. sometime change isn't better and making it it fair and expo is prime example. go back to old way and let 4-h run it some money can go to them and there program instead of someone pocket.
  • by JEREMY Location: WASHINGTON WV on Jul 22, 2012 at 03:19 PM
    • reply
      by Cindy on Jul 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM in reply to JEREMY
      I agree with bringing back the previous amusement company! My kids are so disappointed in the rides that they don't ride anymore! They used to go to the fair every day to ride but only attended one day this year and did not ride the rides!
      • reply
        by Belleville on Jul 23, 2012 at 04:10 AM in reply to Cindy
        They cannot bring back the previous amusement company because it was probably a better company and probably cost more to have....the fair is in the 2nd swirl of the flush of the toilet.
  • by Where does all our money go? on Jul 22, 2012 at 03:03 PM
    Please tell me where all our money goes? One dollar "donation" which isn't a donation at all since it's required, 9 dollars to even get in the grounds? I don't see where all the money goes? Not to mention the Jackson County JUNIOR fair has a band with several number one hits in the Eli Young Band this Wednesday, while we're stuck with second tier entertainers at best.
    • reply
      by Belleville on Jul 23, 2012 at 04:08 AM in reply to Where does all our money go?
      Where does the money go ?? It goes back to the enormous debt they have ,they probably are just able to pay the interest on the loan if even that. They are in debt 2 miles over there heads.
  • by Allen Location: Marietta on Jul 22, 2012 at 01:33 PM
    I agree Kurt. Not sure if the arm wrestling was an old or new event but it was great. The two big guys, Bob and Tiny were stars of the show and really nice guys. So glad I went. Looking forward to it next year. Hope they have more event like it in the area.
  • by Belleville Location: West Virginia on Jul 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM
    The fair is extremely over priced,over hyped and out of the way in a very inconveinant location. Many many years ago the fair was in the city park in Parkersburg,they should have kept the fair there and kept Butcher Bend for the 4-H camp grounds.If the fair was sill in the City Park there would be 10 times as many people go to the fair and it would be in a much better financial position. The City Park could have incorporated the fair with the right planning and design and we could have a beautiful park and a wonderful fair. For a few more dollars and a 2 hr drive you can go to the Ohio State fair and see a real fair that is 2nd to none in the eastern United States.. It takes about 2 hours to get into the Wood county fair and it is such a drag once you get there. I never could understand how anyone could stand to park a camper there and stay all week. It's time to pull the plug on this fair,eat your losses and let it go belly up and mark the losses up as experience. The money should never have been loaned to fund it to start with..
  • by Tammy Location: Washington on Jul 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM
    The Interstate Fair could not have celebrated their 40th anniversary! It did not became the Interstate Fair until much later than the original 4-H and Wood County Fair was started. I agree with others that the fair was ruined when they changed it to the Interstate fair. I, as a former 4-Her and FFA member, feel that it was taken away from the kids when it became the Interstate Fair. My grandfather was one of the first fair board members of the 4-H and Wood County Fair. I often wonder what he would have thought about the fair being changed over to the Interstate Fair. I have not attended the fair since it moved across the road and I do not plan to attend it until it once again becomes the 4-H and Wood County fair! I am so disappointed in the Fair now. My kids hated the fair so much they dropped out of 4-H. It just isn't the same.
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