By Melissa Toothman
The Exponent Telegram
BELINGTON, W.Va. — Crowds came out to the Barbour County Fair on Wednesday to enjoy everything from gospel music to the demolition derby.
With so much to do, however, there was only one activity at the forefront of one young fair-goer’s mind.
“Bull riding is what I was looking forward to,” said Logan Stuart of Philippi. “I’ve never tried it. I want to, though. It looks pretty fun.”
Chris McDaniel of Grafton said he was looking forward to participating in the demolition derby. He said his car won at the Taylor County Fair demolition derby and he was entering the Barbour Fair’s derby to finish it off.
“I ride in it,” he said. “It’s a whole different world. Your entire normal life fades away out there.”
Custom made T-shirt
Nate Lee keeps busy on a requested airbrushing request made by an attendee of the Barbour County Fair. His booth, Nate’s Airbrush, was located near the midway.
Wednesday during fair week always draws a crowd, Barbour Fair Board member Bruce Short said. “It’s is our gospel night and the demolition derby — it’s one of our biggest nights,” he said.
He emphasized that the fair’s goal is to serve the community
“That’s really what it’s all about,” Short said. “At the fair board, our purpose isn’t to make money. It’s to provide a clean, safe environment so people in the county, non-profits, can make what they need throughout the year in a safe, clean environment and show off our kids along the way.
“We have a lot of craft vendors and we have the best food vendors in the world. Because what we have is local people who use the fair as their primary money-maker for the year. You have the churches, the band boosters and the Lions Club. They do a fantastic job and really work hard at it.”
Belington Public Library Director Tammy Smith agreed that the fair is a great resource for nonprofits. At the library’s fair booth, she was giving away free books to children and trying to raise awareness about the resources the library offers.
Short said the fair also is important to the youth of Barbour County.
“Friday is a day off of school for our kids in the county, so we’ve put together some agricultural contests
and some education and a lot of different things for the kids of all ages to enjoy,” Short said. “We’re also going to have some agricultural demonstrations in the barn and just have a good fun day. Gambill’s (Amusement) is going to have a matinée Friday afternoon. This is the first year for that, so we’re hoping it’s going to be a big success.”
The midway’s carnival rides were popular with younger fair-goers Wednesday night.
Two-year-old Silas Morgan said he liked to ride the “horsies” on the merry-go-round, and his brother Waylon Morgan, age 4, said he liked the elephant ride “because they have trunks.” Their brother, Adam Bailey, age 8, preferred the Zero Gravity because of how fast it spins. That was the same reason older brother Jaiden Bailey, age 10, favored the Back Draft.
Fair President John Loyd said livestock is still a big part of the Barbour County Fair, noting that there are over 100 animals in the livestock barns for this year’s event.
Loyd said he has been part of the fair since it began 40 years ago, and he can remember purchasing the land on which build the barns that were needed to show livestock.
Other traditional fair activities are also featured all week.
“Everything else that makes a fair is here,” Short said. “We’re going to have horse pulls, tractor pulls, the whole nine yards. The horses are on Thursday night and then on Saturday.”
Today is Senior Day at the fair, and Short is expecting about 300 senior citizens from all over the county to come out and enjoy the activities.
“We just have a good time,” he said. “We have seniors from all over come and enjoy it and get a free meal.”
Today’s headline entertainer will be Craig Wayne Boyd. On Friday, the headliner will be Cadillac Three, and on Saturday it will be RaeLynn.
“Saturday is probably our biggest day because we start early in the morning with lawn tractor pulls and antique tractors and all kinds of shows in the barn, and then in the evening is the traditional 4-H FFA livestock fair,” Short said.