Jefferson County Fair continues to grow

November 30, 1999|By Dave McMILLION


Continuing in its pattern of growth, the 55th annual Jefferson County Fair got under way Sunday with new attractions, including an expanded area for commercial exhibits, more educational exhibits and a second demolition derby in a new viewing area.

Last year, fair officials opened a new section of the fairgrounds to offer a better place to stage the fair's popular demolition derby and other events.

Since last year's fair, workers have continued to grade the area, making the spectator section larger and more attractive, fair spokesman Locke Wysong said Sunday.


Wysong showed the new area at the back of the fairgrounds as he rode around the property on a recreational vehicle.

"We're just taking it one step at a time so we can do it right," said Wysong, who also is a local member of the state House of Delegates.

Like other fairs in the Tri-State area, the Jefferson County Fair along Leetown Pike north of Charles Town, W.Va., is a big event, attracting an estimated 40,000 people over a week.

Dozens of youths enter livestock in judging contests, and entertainment includes performances by local school bands and other live music. On Wednesday, the Poverty Neck Hillbillies will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the grandstand.

A second demolition derby has been added and will begin at 7:30 p.m. today, Wysong said. A figure-eight demolition derby will start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Other new entertainment slated for this week's fair includes a karaoke contest Tuesday at 7 p.m. and a heavy- equipment rodeo Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Wysong said.

Educational exhibits are relatively new to the fair and have been expanded this year, Wysong said. The exhibits help illustrate the county's heritage, and this year's exhibits will focus on quilting, butter making, wool processing, Harpers Ferry, W.Va., history and livestock.

In the area of livestock judging, llamas have been added to the mix this year, Wysong said.

Sunday's installment of the fair had all the familiar sights, sounds and smells.

In the area where the antique tractors are exhibited, Mike Shade of Kearneysville, W.Va., pounded out metal merchandise at his blacksmith stand.

Acrid smoke filled the air as Shade worked over a hot fire. Shade said he makes items like fireplace tools and knives, and plans to be at the fair two more times this week, including Friday night.

Shade and his friend, Curtis Headlee, worked in an area where antique gas engines chugged.

In one of the livestock barns, 15-year-old Preston Berkeley was getting ready for a week of livestock judging.

The Jefferson County boy is planning to show a Texas longhorn, among other animals.

"I've been here awhile. Probably at least 10 years," Berkeley said of his long run of showing animals at the fair.

Berkeley said he will probably continue to raise animals as a hobby when he gets older.

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