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Putnam County Fair built on tradition

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Putnam County Fair seldom has new attractions, and that is part of the draw.

"The fair is a lot about tradition," Vice President Doug Pierson said. "People want the same things every year."

Last year's event drew about 30,000 during the course of the fair, and the popularity is expected to remain intact with so many things that fairgoers anticipate.

Participants register exhibits this afternoon when meetings are set for various groups taking part in the fair. The fair kicks off for the public on Saturday and runs through July 20 with lots of farm animals, track events, concerts, carnival rides, food vendors, various exhibits, and typical topnotch fair attractions. July 21 is fair closure and cleanup day.

Youth who participate in 4-H raise and show the animals, including goats, pigs, cows, rabbits and sheep. The animals are predominantly sold at auction at the fair.

"Many of the kids who come to the fair are not farm kids," Pierson said. "They may not know hamburger comes from a cow. There will be quite a variety of animals. The animals are sold at auction on Friday and the 4-H child keeps the money with the intent to use it for education."

Pierson notes that some 4-H members are also part of Future Farmers of America thanks to a new agricultural science program at Buffalo High School.  

With the exception of food, admission at the gate covers just about everything at the fair, including carnival rides, he said. Aside from the thrilling rides, there will also be a few for little kids from a merry-go-round to a train that will accommodate parents along with their children. A circus for children will be held several times throughout the week, allowing children to participate as ringmasters and jugglers.

Food choices will include goodies such as hot dogs, fries, chicken sandwiches, funnel cakes, popcorn and candy apples.

Aside from 4-H exhibits, there will be displays open to everyone including everything from quilts to pickles with awards presented.

Pierson notes that ribbons are awarded early in the week. So, those who have something to enter should show up on Friday and register.  

Popular concerts this year will include the Henningsens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Love & Theft at 8 p.m. July 20. Additional concerts are scattered throughout the week from gospel to bluegrass.

General admission to the fair is $8. There is no charge for children under 5. Family Fun Day is Sunday, when general admission is $5. Senior Day is Thursday when those with a Mountaineer Card are admitted for $6.

Fair hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; 4 to 11 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday; 4 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and July 19; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 20.  Go to for more details, directions to the fairgounds in Eleanor, and a complete schedule of events.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.

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