The State Fair of West Virginia is an annual State Fair for West Virginia. It is held annually in mid-August on the State Fairground in Fairlea, West Virginia, which is just outside the town limits of Lewisburg, West Virginia in the southeastern part of the state. The State Fairgounds consists of a large open field for carnivals and exhibitions, a horse track, and grandstands, and several exhibiton buildings.
The fair evolved from local events that date back to 1854. In 1941 the state government declaired it to be the official State Fair. However World War II forced cancelation of the event until 1946.
By the standards of large states with a more agricultural economy, the West Virgnia event is a fairly small event. It lasts over nine days. It features a traveling carnival with varrious rides, competitive exhibitions by farmers and 4-H and FFA members, harness racings (no gambling is currently allowed), exhibitions by manufacturers of farm machinery and industrial tools, and a nightly concert by a traveling act, generally country or oldies acts. Higher stakes Bingo is conducted at the Fair than is normally permitted under state law. A beauty queen is selected.
In political years, elaborate displays by candidates and political parties are also a part of the fair.
Generally about 225,000 paid admissions are collected. Prior to the completion of Interstate 64 in 1988 the fairgrounds was difficult to access from most of the state and the event was much more local in nature, however it has grown greatly since that time.
The Fair receives no appropriation from the state, supporting itself from admissions and rental of the fairgrounds to other groups. It does receive support in kind from the state Department of Agriculutre and from West Virginia University.