PARKERSBURG - Despite storm damage and road work, the 40th annual West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition will open today on schedule.
Fair officials have been repairing damage from the storms that hit on June 29, knocking out power to a majority of the area.
''Things are going pretty well,'' said Mike Zoller, president of the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition. ''For the damage we had two weeks ago with the storm, we have stuff patched back together and we are looking good.
The carnival rides and midway at the 40th annual West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition are being done once again by Reithoffer Shows. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)
''Vendors have been getting set up. We have not had any major issues so far. We should be in really good shape.''
The storms pulled a third of the roof off of the main barn, caused damage to roofs at the fairgrounds, damaged air conditioning units in the commerical building, blew a trailer onto the main stage area, and destroyed another trailer being used as a livestock office.
''We had a mess out here,'' Zoller said Monday. ''It was pretty rough out here.''
Repairs happened quickly.
''We didn't have a choice; we had the fair coming,'' Zoller said. ''It looks good now. We got the grounds in good shape. It is not as perfect as we would like it, but we are here and it is usable.''
The 4-H livestock arrived Sunday.
Ashton Melrose, 10, of Mineral Wells was at the livestock barn Monday preparing her York Cross hog for show later in the week. This is the second year she has shown hogs at the fair. She is a member of the American Brushpoppers 4-H Club of Waverly.
She is hoping to sell the hog this year.
Evelyn Stephens, the domestic arts chairman, was getting the 101 entries in their division ready for display Monday after judging was conducted.
The domestic arts features quilting, knitting, cross-stitch and other projects.
''Entries are up this year,'' Stephens said. ''We have a lot of really talented people. Everyone will be here first thing (this) morning to see what they got.''
With today being Senior Citizens Day, Stephens is expecting a big turnout of people to look at the projects.
''They are always interested in the quilts,'' she said. ''I am sure we will have a good turnout. We always do.''
The carnival rides and midway are being done once again by Reithoffer Shows. Crews have been assembling the rides and the carnival midway.
There are 22 food vendors and 31 regular/commercial vendors setting up at the fairgrounds, fair officials said. Officials have been fielding calls from other vendors throughout the week for additional spaces.
Road crews were working Monday along W.Va. 14 between the Interstate 77 interchange and Mineral Wells. Flaggers were out and one lane was open close to the top of the hill before the Mineral Wells Post Office, causing traffic back-ups.
Vendors and others said it took them a while to reach the fairgrounds.
Zoller was told by department of highways officials the road should have been passable by Monday night.
''We are at their mercy,'' he said. ''We are keeping our fingers crossed. That is all we can do.''
''Our lineup is great,'' Zoller said of acts like Randy Houser, the Marshall Tucker Band and Hunter Hayes that will perform throughout the week. After a scheduling problem last year, the mud bog events are again on Thursday and Friday and the truck pulls are once again on Saturday night.
''The weather is looking like it will be excellent,'' Zoller said. ''I believe Mother Nature owes us one.
''She gave us five days in excess of 100 degrees last year and she tried to tear us apart this year. I believe she owes us a decent week.''
With everything that has happened this summer with the storms and damage, Zoller hopes people will be able to come out and have a good time.
''I am hoping people come out for a sense of normalcy,'' he said. ''It has been tough on everybody.
''I want people to be able to come out and be able to enjoy themselves. That is why we are here.''
Gates open at noon.
Senior Citizens Day