Heat, humidity do not stop fairgoers in Mineral Wells

Photo by Chad Adkins Zadon Tabor’s three-foot, two-inch throw during the hay bale toss at the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition netted him a second-place finish in his class on Friday.

MINERAL WELLS — Hundreds of people made their way to the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition in Mineral Wells Friday even though the heat index remained well above 100 degrees for most of the day.

Bob Lockhart, member of the Wood County 4-H Livestock Chair, said extra high powered fans were brought in on Friday to help keep the animals and people cool in the summer heat. He said the multiple fans placed strategically throughout the barn and observation area were rented and donated by Kent Welding.

“(Kent Welding) is really good people,” he said.

He said participation in the livestock showing has been on the rise in the last few years culminating in 2019 with full pens of rabbits, goats and pigs.

“We want more kids to be involved,” he said.

Photo by Chad Adkins Tara Swiger shows off her championship watermelon-eating skills on Friday at the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition.

Lockhart said the combined efforts of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America have made this year’s fair a success.

“The FFA and 4-H is one big happy family,” he said.

Same fair attendees preferred to do a little work in the heat, though. The annual hay bale toss competition drew about 20 participants that were judged for how far they could toss bales of hay. After their workout, many of the contestants joined the watermelon-eating contest that followed immediately after to cool off.

Tara Swiger, 30, of Washington, wanted to join the competition, but after winning 13 years in a row, she is only allowed to give demonstrations to the competitors on how to eat watermelon. With juice and bits of fruit flying, she quickly consumed a foot-long piece of watermelon.

“I do like watermelon, a whole bunch,” she said. “It’s my favorite food.”

Photo by Chad Adkins Extra fans were rented on Friday at the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition to keep livestock and people cool.

As fairgoers filed onto the grounds, lines formed at the food vendors, displays and rides as they tried to enjoy the festivities through the heat. Victoria Pence, 36, of Parkersburg, was watching her two sons and nephew on a ride. She said there was one main factor when she decided to brave the July weather.

“We won tickets,” she said. “I just texted my friend that I am literally melting.”

She said there were advantages and disadvantages to having the children out in the heat.

“They’ll all be nice and tired,” she said. “And probably stink, too.”

The evening wrapped up with ATV and mudbogs along with Eagles tribute band Out of Eden.

Highlights for today include the junior livestock sale at noon, stone throw competition at 2 p.m., and truck and tractor pulls starting at 6 p.m. The last day of the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition wraps up with William Michael Morgan on the main stage starting at 8:30 p.m.

Chad Adkins can be reached at cadkins@newsandsentinel.com