County Fair Comeback
Funnel cakes, face painting, and the Ferris wheel are all in a day at the fair. This summer, pack up the family and check out our list of fairs across the state.
The smell of pizza and cotton candy fills the air. Blinking neon lights beckon passersby to “Step right up” as colorful carnival rides whip unsuspecting children into a screaming frenzy. These are the sights, smells, and sounds of county fairs—the classic summer ingredients. Although the past decade saw a slight decline in county fairs, they are experiencing an exciting resurgence. Case in point: the Monongalia County Fair.
After a five-year hiatus, the Mon County Fair returned last year and promises again to bring all the sweet and salty foods you can handle to the Morgantown-area community this summer at Mylan Park, August 9 to 14, starting with a parade on High Street at 6 p.m. on August 8.
Historically, fairs have acted as information centers for communities all over. Fair boards across the state strive to keep that going with help from 4-H groups and sponsors teaching about community activities, farming, and more. “We want to inform people about what’s going on and give them a central place to come to and enjoy,” says Mon County Fair Board President Ed Hawkins. Ed’s been involved in fairs since he was a toddler attending the Clay District Fair in North Central West Virginia.
The Mon County Fair dates back to 1959, when it originally took place in Westover. In 2010, the fair returned to take place at Mylan Park. “I never heard anyone in the county say they didn’t want it back. It was always a positive—why don’t we, as a community this large, have a county fair and have a good one? And that is what we are trying to do,” Ed says. Many sponsors stepped up to make the Morgantown comeback a success, and an estimated 10,000 people attended last year. This year’s Mon County Fair will offer even more than before, with a mud bog, lawnmower race, and bigger entertainment, including Marty Stewart & His Fabulous Superlatives performing an eclectic style of country music.
But more than anything, local fairs are an inexpensive way to enjoy the outdoors, reconnect with the community, and be a kid again. So “Step right up”—catch a fish, take a twirl on the merry-go-round, and enjoy freshly roasted corn-on-a-stick as butter oozes down your arm. You’ll take home more than a goldfish or an over-sized stuffed bear—you’ll take home memories.
Fairs Across West Virginia Include:
Barbour County Fair, Aug. 27–Sept. 3
Battelle District Fair (Monongalia County), Aug. 2–5
Berkeley County Youth Fair, July 30–Aug. 6
Braxton County Fairs And Festivals Celebration, Aug. 2–6
Brooke County Fair, Sept. 9–11
Cabell County Fair, July 23–30
Clay District Fair (Monongalia County), Aug. 16–20
Doddridge County Fair, Aug. 23–27
Hampshire County Fair, Aug. 14–21
Hancock County Old Time Fair, Sept. 16–18
Jackson County Jr. Fair, July 25–30
Kanawha County Fair, Sept. 8–11
Lewis County Fair, July 19–23
Magnolia Fair (Mingo County), Aug. 15–20
Mannington District Fair (Marion County), Aug. 8–13
Marshall County Fair, July 24–30
Mason County Fair, Aug. 8–13
Mercer County Fair, Aug. 5–6
Mineral County Fair, Aug. 1–6
Morgan County Fair, July 30–31
Nicholas County Fair, July 11–16
Ohio County Country Fair, Oct. 7–9
Pendleton County Fair, June 8–11
Putnam County Fair, July 9–16
Randolph County Fair, Sept. 15–18
Ritchie County Fair & Exposition, Aug. 4–6
The State Fair of WV, Aug. 12–20
Tri-County Fair, July 20–Aug. 6
Tucker County Fair, Aug. 23–27
Tyler County Fair, Aug. 7–13
Upshur County Fair, July 15–17
Webster County Fair, Sept. 5–10
Wirt County Fair, Aug. 3–6