State Fair of West Virginia highlights importance of agricultural roots ahead of fair week
FAIRLEA, W.Va. (WVVA) - The 97th Annual State Fair of West Virginia kicks off on Thursday, August 11.
While delicious fair food, live music and great rides always draw in a crowd, this year, the state’s agriculture is playing a major role in the 10-day event. Throughout the week, prize livestock will be on display in addition to food safety courses, honeybee demonstrations and more, making the fair as educational as it is fun.
“The Department of Agriculture touches the life of every West Virginian every day, and they don’t even know we exist sometimes,” shared Kent Leonhardt, West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner. “So this is a chance for them to really learn what agriculture is about and where their food comes from.”
Many may not realize it, but the fair is and has always been rooted in West Virginia’s agriculture industry. Leaders with the fair say their goal now, more than one hundred years later, is to pay tribute to the past, while helping boost the farmers of the future.
“It’s why the State Fair of West Virginia Started, you know,” shared Kelly Collins, Chief Executive Officer of the State Fair of West Virginia. “In 1921, that was our first Greenbrier Valley Fair, and they started it to spur the local economy, but also to showcase the agriculture in our state. So, it’s still a mission we stick to these days. We are helping the next generation of AG producers and farmers and livestock folks that come up through the ranks right now.”
With labor shortages across the country and prices reaching record-breaking highs, Leonhardt says the Department of Agriculture is seeing an uptick in demand for a shift toward farm-to-table products.
“We are starting to see a resurgence of that locally grown...so as we see these challenges that are out there now, supporting locally grown products becomes even more important.”
From the West Virginia Country Store to the Agriculture Village and everything in between, the State Fair is sure to showcase the very best of West Virginia this year.
For more information on fair events and activities, visit statefairofwv.com. The fair will conclude on Saturday, August 20.
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