FAIRLEA, W.Va. — The 94th State Fair of West Virginia is in the books and event organizers are pleased with how it went.
State Fair CEO Kelly Collins recapped the event with MetroNews affiliate WJLS. Preliminary attendance numbers are higher than recent years at an estimated 160,000 fairgoers through the 10 day event. Collins believes this partly due to the favorable weather.
“It was in the mid 70’s most of the week. The humidity wasn’t too bad there until the end. So we got lucky and I saw several storms just go right around the fairgrounds.”
— State Fair of West Virginia (@SFWV) August 19, 2018
Organizers have said the most popular event this year was the sold-out Luke Combs concert held on August 15. Combs, a North Carolina native with multiple chart-topping country hits, also held a free show at the grandstand stage during the 2017 State Fair of West Virginia.
“He puts on a great show and his manager after the show said that he’s never seen a crowd like that for Luke,” said Collins. “Everybody from the top corner of the grandstand to the front row knew every word of every song, even the unreleased ones. So they were very impressed with our crowd.”
New additions to this year’s fair included the New Fair Food contest. Food vendors submitted ideas for a new food and fairgoers could vote for their favorite. This year’s winner was the bacon mac n’ cheese calzone from Gilette’s Pizza.
Another addition to the festivities was the beer garden featuring local craft brews. Beckley-based Dobra Zupas created a beer for the fair called Fairlea Lemonade Ale.
“That’s something that location-wise, we’ll take a look at. Was it the right location? Was it the wrong location? What can we do to improve on it? But it was actually pretty well received. We had several good compliments on it so we’re going to continue to work on that area.”
As with any large event, Collins said organizers are always looking for areas to improve upon for future fairs. Two areas of concern particularly stuck out this year.
“Signage is always a big thing. The more signage you can have around your property, the better off you are. Parking is another big thing for us. This year we did extent our handicapped parking lot just a few spaces. We want to continue to do stuff like that just to make the user experience better for the State Fair.”
Collins added organizers are already planning shows and festivities for the 95th State Fair of West Virginia.