Interstate Fair concludes today in Mineral Wells

MINERAL WELLS – A spell of cooler temperatures that is uncommon for mid-July has helped draw crowds this week to the 2014 West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition in Mineral Wells.

The fair concludes today with track events, livestock activities, carnival rides, concessions and live entertainment.

“The weather’s been holding out,” fair board president Mike Zoller said Friday afternoon. “It’s been nice and cool in the evening, with a lot of sweaters being worn. That’s always a good thing when you get weather like that in July. The events have been flowing along and people have been coming in,” he said.

Official attendance numbers were not yet available, “but everything’s been well attended,” Zoller said.

“It’s really been a pretty good flow this week,” he said.

Michael Conaway, with Sno Ball Castle of Washington County, said the cool weather this week helped some vendors more than others. Those serving hot food and drinks saw more traffic than his shaved ice concession, as people sought to warm up rather than cool down.

Cara Atkinson and her son Gabe, 11, were working in the horse barn Friday afternoon, a short time after Gabe earned Reserve Champion in the Western Junior Division with his horse, Rosie. Gabe has been a member of Bits and Bridles 4-H Club, a specialty club within Wood County 4-H with members from throughout the county, for the past three years.

“It is fantastic, they do a wonderful job with the kids and I wish we had more kids in it,” Cara Atkinson said of the organizers involved in putting on the horse activities and other 4-H programs during the fair.

She likes all of the activities, attractions and rides available at the fair, “but I lean toward the barn side of the fair and the 4-H because the kids work all year, they work so hard. It’s a very exciting week for every kid,” she said.

Jessie Pennell, 16, of Harrisville has been active this week after being crowned on June 28 as the 2014 West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition Queen.

In addition to reigning during this week’s fair, she has been involved in a variety of activities during the week, including competing Friday in the watermelon-eating contest.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said, adding the experience has let her see more of what goes into putting on the fair and more of the behind-the-scenes work involved. Prior to competing in this year’s pageant, Pennell said she has been coming to the fair for several years “and I like being in the animal barns.”

Jasen Nichols of Elizabeth was riding the carnival rides Friday with his sons, Devin and Gavin, both 9. Nichols said they come every year to the fair to enjoy the activities.

“It’s a good family time, a good chance for me and my boys to bond and hang out and have a good time together,” he said.

Admission is $10 for today and the final headliner of the week will be country artist Cole Swindell at 9 p.m. today.