Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

August 11, 2012

Mercer County Fair — Event has rich heritage, bright future

The Mercer County Fair board of directors would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in this year’s county fair, whether by volunteering, exhibiting, vending, publicizing or coming out to enjoy the day.

Our region is blessed with scores of festivals, each festival spotlighting a specific geographic area or sort of interest, whether it’s downtown main street, bluegrass music or applesauce. The Mercer County Fair is all about the produce of the people of Mercer County, whether it’s grown, sewn or otherwise created.

Every county in every state of these United States of America has a county fair, with the exception of a handful of counties. It is the goal of the Mercer County Fair board to make sure Mercer County is not one of the handful without a county fair.

We are proud, as all of Mercer County should be, of the rich heritage we have in our fair, dating back to the 1920s and continuing for many years as the Bluestone Valley Fair. The role of agriculture in Mercer County has changed through the years. Our volunteers strive to find new exciting ways to make the Mercer County Fair relevant in the culture of today, while preserving our rich heritage of Mercer Countians as a strong, independent, creative, get-it-done kind of people.

All areas of Mercer County were well represented at this year’s Mercer County Fair. The northern and eastern section of the county gave us the highly popular “Hee-Haw” show by the East River Ruritan. Princeton showed off soon-to-be famous Jonathan Buckner and The Chosen Road, and Carla Bragg. Bluefield delighted fair goers with the production of “The Passing of Pearl,” Sarah Allison Turner and Keith Bailey. There were fresh veggies from gardens, home canned jars of garden produce, flowers, artwork and quilts from all over Mercer County. Local folks got to try their hand at various rodeo activities and to pull their antique tractors against other tractors. There were lots of demonstrations, games and activities for young and old.

The long-time mission statement of the Mercer County Fair reads: “The people of this fair believe that a fair should have many purposes, some of the leading are: To disperse information by creating interest in friendly competition; to improve practices and methods of farming; to encourage better cooperation between individuals, organizations, schools and communities; to educate and instill in the public a greater appreciation for agriculture and preserve the agricultural heritage of southern West Virginia.”

The Mercer County Fair is a nonprofit organization consisting completely of volunteers, and we are always looking for more volunteers to help out with this huge undertaking. No one on the fair board profits either personally or professionally. The hefty cost of putting on the fair is funded mainly by gate admission and a few cash and in-kind sponsorships. The Mercer County Fair is predicated upon everyone working together and pulling their weight to make the event successful and enjoyable and beneficial to everyone.

As for next year, whatever you do best and are rightly proud of, the Mercer County Fair invites you to show off the fruits of your labor at your Mercer County Fair.

Mercer County Fair Board of Directors

Dusti Snider, president

Keith Circle, vice president

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