If the theme of this year’s West Virginia State Fair isn’t enough to convince you to make the trip to Lewisburg, perhaps the selection of entertainment will. Fair organizers seem to have knocked this one out of the park with a “Mountain Grown Fun” theme that gives the state a chance to show off a bit.
Until August 20, the fair presents shows like Foreigner, Clay Walker and Tracy Byrd to our very own Kathy Mattea. If all went according to plan, the music alone was worth it.
But state agriculture commissioner Kent Leonhardt is right, there really is no better event to show off a side of the mountain state that is often overshadowed by the intense focus on our “energy heritage”. Agriculture, agribusiness and the food available here are not only a vital part of who we are; but what we produce equals or exceeds anywhere in the country.
Leonhardt has reason to be proud of the 36 vendors who will be touting their wares under the “WV Grown” banner at the fair with products such as jams and jellies, maple syrups, sauces and salsas, honey and even handmade soaps.
And while organizers are vigilant against the spread of avian and swine flu, State Fair management made the right decision to restrict access to the barn but let the young people who worked so hard continue to show their animals through West Virginia High School Rodeo, Junior 4-H and FFA livestock shows, horse shows and draft horse pulling.
What visitors will see at the State Fair is a taste of the best West Virginia has to offer. We don’t talk enough about the culture that produces great musicians, artisans and agriculture, but that’s who we are. In Lewisburg for the next few days, we can brag about it not only among ourselves, but also to the rest of the world.