Interstate fair drives on despite heat, humidity

MINERAL WELLS – Despite the high heat and humidity, the 41st annual West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition was going strong Thursday night.

Russ Collins, vice president of the West Virginia Interstate Fair Board, said while it was somewhat uncomfortable, it did not hurt attendance.

“We are slightly ahead of last year,” he said. “It’s hot and humid but it has not killed us yet.”

Collins said the board went from dealing with realigning the carnival area due to excessive rain before the fair to dealing with extreme heat.

On Thursday the event drawing the largest crowd was the Mud Bog featuring different vehicles. Many said they were motor sports fans.

“I like to see the mud fly,” said Ethan Watkins of Wirt County. “I used to do this but I had to stop because I messed up my Jeep.”

Austin Wilson of Parkersburg said he made his way to the fair to see a friend compete in the mud bog.

“I came to see my buddy in this,” he said. “He did pretty good, better than we expected.”

For Al Nottingham of Mineral Wells motor sports of any kind is a draw for him. He said he’s been to see the mud bog several times over the years.

“If they don’t have motor sports, I don’t show up,” he said.

Nottingham said while he watched the mud bog, his favorite is the truck pull, which is set for Saturday.

“Around here the truck pull is the big attraction,” he said.

In years past, he said, he would come to see friends compete but not now.

“The guys I used to come to watch are out of it,” Nottingham said. “They either gave up, got out or ran out of money.”

Huntar Shank of Parkersburg said the mud bog was one of the things he came to see at the fair.

“I’ve been to this at times,” he said. “I came here for other things also.”

Jesslyn McLain of Parkersburg said she was just along for a night at the fair.

“I’m here because he’s here,” she said of Shank.

Kristen Board of Walker and Amber Fouty of Parkersburg said they were fans of the mud bogs and other motor sport events.

“We come every year to watch one of our friends; he’ll be out when they move to the deeper part of the track,” Board said. “We go to other things but this is mainly why we came.”

Board said she likes the other races as well.

“I like seeing which vehicle is worthy of making it all the way through,” she said.

Fouty said her feelings about the event are the same as Board’s.

“I’d like to race in this,” she said.

“Yeah, I’d like to do that too. I’d love it,” Fouty said.