Youth fair kicks off 61st year in Berkeley Co.

August 04, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The grass parking lots have been mowed.

The nacho stand is ready and the animals are in their stalls.

It's time for the 61st annual Berkeley County Youth Fair.

The fair spotlights youths who compete in projects as varied as livestock showing to cooking, computers to photography and small engine repair to natural resources, according to organizers.

The week-long fair started Saturday with a string of events including the Miss Youth Fair Contest.

The contest attracted 29 contestants, a bigger crowd than usual, and Brandy Orsini came out the winner.

Orsini, who competed in the event last year and made it into the top 10 contestants, attended Blue Ridge Community and Technical College last year and is heading to Shepherd University this year to study business.

The daughter of Jill and Randy Orsini of Inwood, W.Va., Orsini has been around horses all her life and shows American Paint Horses around the country, including the West Virginia State Fair.


Orsini's horse "Deuce" is stabled at the fairgrounds along Golf Course Road and she will show the animal in competition this week.

Orsini walked through the fairgrounds Sunday afternoon in her new Miss Berkeley County Youth Fair attire and one woman excitedly clapped her hands as Orsini walked by.

"We're happy there is a horse person as a queen," the woman yelled out to Orsini.

As usual, an exhibit hall was packed with youth exhibits like bee hives, fancy cakes, wood working projects and science creations. In past years, youth exhibitors sometimes procrastinated in getting their projects completed or did not show up at all, said Doug Hovatter, Berkeley County's 4-H agent.

"The quality of the exhibits is looking real good," said Hovatter.

There's a smattering of new offerings at the fair this year.

Next Saturday, a new craft and vendors show will be held at the exhibit hall from noon to 10 p.m., said Carolyn Linton, who oversees the fair's advertising.

Also new this year is a Pretty Animal Contest, where youths who are showing animals at the fair will be given a little artistic freedom with their friends at 8 p.m. Thursday in the indoor arena, Linton said.

Parking could be tricky at times on hilly fields next to the fair so workers recently graded some of the areas to make them easier to drive on, Linton said.

And today at 3:30 p.m., Gov. Joe Manchin is expected to come to the fair to help open a new 4-H concession stand, fair organizers said.

Linton stopped for a moment Sunday and asked fair official Barbara Kendig if she could think of anything more new this year.

Nachos, replied Kendig.

"There's just good food everywhere," Kendig said.

If you go ...

What: Berkeley County Youth Fair

When: Runs through Saturday

Where: Berkeley County Fairgrounds on Golf Course Road

For directions and a complete listing of events at this week's fair, go to

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