FAIRLEA,,W.Va. — When you consider the environment of the State Fair of West Virginia it’s hard to picture anybody not having a good time. It’s certainly a place where Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt is in his element and thrives for 10 days.
“It’s always a great day at the State Fair, how could you not have fun here,” he said from the Fair on Friday.
Leonhardt called the 95th Annual State Fair of West Virginia a “celebration of agriculture.” More than a thousand pieces of livestock were checked by the state veterinarian and cleared for showing at the fair. Most of those animals are handled by students in 4-H or FFA.
“We’re teaching our young folks how to raise and display their livestock. They then sell them for a healthy price and most of these kids use that money to pay for their college,” said the Commissioner.
The fair is also an opportunity for the Department of Agriculture to help promote goods and products made in West Virginia.
“We started a new concept when I took over as Commissioner and we run a ‘Country Store,'” said Leonhardt.
The Country Store sells exclusively West Virginia products. Leonhardt said it has grown ever year.
“The first year we did $900 on the first day. Last year we did $1,900 on the first day and yesterday we did almost $2700 on the first day selling West Virginia products.” he said.
Leonhardt added the State Fair is all about tradition.
“It’s 95 years of tradition. This is my third year down here and I’m starting to call it my tradition,” he said.