Roping event

GARDNER — Entering its 13th year at its current location at PikeView High School, the annual Mercer County Fair will offer visitors a variety of activities featuring the entire county.

Anna Johnson, Secretary of the Mercer County Fair’s Board of Directors, said Wednesday, “The fair is a great showcase for agriculture, but we have a wide variety of activities for everyone It’s on one side of the county but we feature the entire county.”

According to the fair’s website, the Mercer County Fair was organized in 1917 (some sources list 1924) , and was managed by the Fair Association, mainly farmers, with a board of directors, among whom were Meador Bird, Hugh Gooch, Sr., Herbert Barbor, and John M. Bailey. The Fair Association originated with the Farm Bureau in the county.

In the beginning, the Fair was held in different locations in the county. Athens hosted it three times and Princeton four times. In 1923 the Association purchased 10 acres on the Athens-Princeton Road and held the Fair the first time on the Fairground in 1924 .

The Fair Association was dissolved in 1934 and the Mercer County Fair took a hiatus throughout World War II.

In the late 1950’s, the Fair returned to be held in the Glenwood area, and then in Spanishburg where it became the Bluestone Valley Fair and Horse Show.

In 2007, the name was changed back to the Mercer County Fair and moved to the PikeView High School campus.

This year’s fair will be held on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3, with a set-up day on Thursday, August 1 for the entering of exhibits and vendor set-up from 2-7 p.m.

Friday’s events will start with a country breakfast in the PVHS Cafeteria which will be sponsored by the PVHS Cheerleaders from 7 to 11 a.m. At 9 a.m., the vendors will be open for business. The exhibit hall will be open to the public from 1 to 8 p.m., with judging done at 9 a.m. There will be a veteran’s reception at 10:30 a.m.

“This year, we’ll be getting an extra prize for the best decorated cabbage and potato,” Johnson said.

All-day events on Friday will be an antique tractor Engine Display; wood turning demos and Jay Chatman’s Mining Exhibit. At 9 a.m., there will be a flag-raising ceremony. From 1 to 8 p.m., Laser Tag, a new exhibit sponsored by Ellison’s Mountain Heritage Nursery will be held. From 2 to 8 p.m., there will be a spin art demonstration. Jamz Jumpin’ Inflatables will be there from noon to 9.m. as will the Fun Factory Zipline and Climbing Wall. At 7 p.m., rabbits will be judged (they must be entered by 6 p.m.).

At 7 p.m., the West Virginia High School Division Association will be holding a rodeo exhibition. Also at 7 p.m., a concert with Chosen Road , followed by Jeff and Sheri Easter at 8 p.m.

Saturday’s events will include the country breakfast from 7-11 a.m.; vendors and exhibit halls open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., along with the petting zoo.

All-day events will include basket-weaving with pre-registration required by calling 304-320-1626; the antique tractors; a wood-turning demo; and the mining exhibit. Johnson said the basket-weaving event required registration because the first 24 people to respond will get to take their baskets home.

The inflatables and zip-line/climbing wall will start at 9 a.m. The laser tag and spin art will both start at 10 a.m. The Kiwanis corn hole competition, also new, will start at 11 a.m. At noon, the Parade of Power involving the tractors will be held. The new pedal tractor pull will be held three times at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Other featured events will be the Bluefield State College robotics team at 1 p.m., a USA Karate Martial Arts Demo at 2 p.m., Youth Rodeo at 4 p.m. .and rodeo at 7 p.m.

The concerts will be Brandon Green & The Zion Ramblers at 3 p.m.; Eddie Marrs at 4 p.m.; Clinton Collins & The Shuffle at 5 p.m.; Chosen Road at 6 p.m. and The Church Sisters at7 p.m.

Gate admission for Friday from 8 to noon is free, $5 for adults and $3 for students noon to 4 p.m. and $8 adults, $5 for students from 4 p.m. to closing. Saturday’s gate admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students all day. Children under the age of six are admitted free as are all military, fire, police and EMS in uniform or with official ID.

Both the 2019 Ms. Mercer County Fair and the 2019 Teen Ms. Mercer County Fair will be present. The rodeo , concerts and most of the vendors and exhibits are also free with admission.

“Everybody is welcome to come and enjoy the weekend. We have a history exhibit telling people about this area, plus the rodeo and concerts, plus the vendors and the exhibits, which are in the air-conditioned gymnasium. We hope the public is as excited as we are,” she said.

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com