Good weather and gate specials helped the State Fair of West Virginia reach record food and carnival sales in 2019, according to Kelly Collins, CEO for the fair, who provided a breakdown of figures.
"Although school calendars have affected attendance for the State Fair of West Virginia, we were fortunate to have great weather," Collins said of the success.
"We cannot thank the staff, vendors, exhibitors, and, of course, the fairgoers for helping to make this one of the best years yet for the State Fair of West Virginia."
First Energy's Magic Monday raised just less than 10,000 pounds of food, which was delivered to seven different food banks in the region. In its seventh year, the partnership provided almost 100,000 pounds of food to the area, she said.
Other notable numbers for the State Fair of West Virginia include—
• 7,000 home, arts, and garden exhibits from more than 750 exhibitors were on display in the West Virginia Building.
• More than 450 open livestock exhibitors participated.
• 500 junior 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors showed animals, while more than 6,000 4-H and FFA exhibits (non-livestock) were on display in the Underwood Youth Center.
• More than $15,000 were given in premium awards for home, arts and garden exhibits.
• More than $120,000 were given in premium awards for livestock.
• 318 Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts, 181 Girl Scouts, 125 4-H members completed the Ag Scavenger Hunt.
• Over 13,000 fairgoers spent time in the Farm-to-Food Pavilion, designed to teach kids the basics of agriculture.
• 11 students and three mentors visited from Turkey as a part of an exchange program with Legacy International. The purpose of this program was to learn about agriculture in the U.S.
• $30,282 paid to civic organizations and school programs for services during the fair. Some programs and services include:
o Greenbrier East Music Boosters – parking cars
o Eastern Greenbrier Middle School – trash pickup
o Greenbrier East Cross Country – Farm to Food Pavilion
o Shriners – Concert beer sales
• $20,000 given to scholarships for students from West Virginia to attend accredited schools or trade programs.
• The State Fair hired more than 210 part-time employees for the 10-day event. This does not include part-time help for the food vendors, the carnival, and other concessionaires.
• Payroll for the 10 days topped $200,000.
• Fairgoer spending on food grossed more than $2.5 million, an average of more than $15 per person.
• Reithoffer Shows, the fair's carnival provider, set an all-time fair record for carnival ride gross sales at more than $1.1 million.
• The Grandstand attracted more than 20,000 fairgoers to seven different shows throughout the week
• Overall attendance totaled more than 160,000.
Other Facts and Figures
• The State Fair of West Virginia is a 501c3 Non-Profit
• The fair pays more than $70,000 in property taxes each year
• The fair collects more than $120,000 in sales tax each year. not including tax on food or carnival sales, which is collected by individual vendors or businesses.
"Outside of the number of fairgoers coming through the gates, it is important for us to look at the entire picture to judge the true success of the fair," Collins said.
"State fairs were started to tell the story of agriculture, but to also spur commerce in the local community – two missions we still hold true."
Collins also thanked Greenbrier Valley Equipment for the use of a trailer to transport items and RBS Inc. for weighing the donated food.
The 96th Annual State Fair of West Virginia is set for August 13-22, 2020.
The State Fair of West Virginia, with more $13.8 million economic impacts on the state, is a non-profit corporation committed to the traditions of agriculture, family entertainment, and education.
For more information, visit StateFairofWV.com.