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W.VA. State Fair Begins With Fun, Food And Precautions

state fair.jpg
West Virginia Tourism
The carnival rides are a popular fair attraction.

The 97th Annual State Fair of West Virginia opens Thursday in Greenbrier County. There are some changes this year, but still plenty of fun, food, music and interests for all ages.

State Fair CEO Kelly Collins wants fairgoers to visit safely, so several precautions will be in place for 2022.

Hand sanitizing and hand washing stations will be set up throughout the fairgrounds. The stations are there to help protect against COVID-19. Collins also advises those visiting the livestock exhibits to wash their hands.

“Anytime you visit an animal exhibit, whether it's here at the state fair or a different facility, you need to take precautions like washing your hands,” Collins said. “There are certain diseases that can transfer from animals to people. We've always encouraged folks to wash their hands after visiting the animals.”

To protect against swine flu, the swine barn will be off limits. With an avian flu outbreak elsewhere around the country, there will be no live birds at the poultry barn.

“We haven't had any cases of the avian influenza in the state,” Collins said. “But this is such a strong industry in our state. We don't want to do anything to possibly jeopardize that.”

For the first time, the fair will have metal detectors at the front gates. Collins said this is an open gate system that scans for weapons only with minimal intrusion to the patron.

“You don't have to take things out of your pocket,” Collins said. “You can just keep walking through unless the system notifies us. We kindly ask folks not to carry any type of weapon on fair property.”

Collins said one of the most popular exhibits is back this year. The Farm Credit Dairy Birthing Center brings 20 pregnant cows each fair. She says the chances of catching a live birth are great! Fairgoers can listen to the public address announcer who will keep the fairgrounds updated. The new calves will be available for pictures and petting being just days old.

“It is a full moon this weekend,” Collins said. We never know when a birth is going to happen. But those were the old wives tales that's going to help it along.”

Collin said there is no limit on what the 50 food vendors can deep fry at a state fair.

“We have our new ‘Fair Food’ contests that challenge our vendors to come up with new and exciting fair food,” Collins said. “We've got some really great entries this year, including pickled lemonade, deep fried reuben fritters, blueberry dark chocolate ice cream, jalapeno popper pizza, cinnamon toast crunch funnel cake, big nacho dorito pizza - so it's a pretty fun list.”

Collins said there are a number of special offers for seniors, children, families and more. She said the concerts every evening run the musical gamut. The opening night country music star Cody Johnson has canceled due to illness. Collins said people can go to the State Fair of WV Facebook page for updates, schedules and information on all things fair related.

The State Fair of West Virginia runs from Thursday, Aug. 11 through Saturday, Aug. 20 in Fairlea, just outside Lewisburg.

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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