By David GilpinField Representative & Business Outreach CoordinatorWV Secretary of State’s Office
Summer’s greatest tradition is back with the opening of the 2019 State Fair of West Virginia, which will take place Aug. 8 to 17 at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea. On behalf of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, I would like to invite everyone to attend what is truly one of the highlights of the summer, not only for West Virginians but for countless others from around our nation and the world.
As always, those attending the fair will have an opportunity to speak with various West Virginia government agencies. The Secretary of State’s Office will host its own booth in the West Virginia Building throughout the entire fair. If you need to register to vote, change your party affiliation, update your address or just have general questions to be answered about the election process, members of our staff will be there to assist you.
We also have something special in mind for the young folks who stop by our booth this year. Kids will be invited to vote! The Secretary of State’s Office designed a special ballot just for elementary-aged children attending the fair. They will get to choose for their favorite cartoon characters, super heroes and fair foods, just to name a few. On the last day, Secretary Warner will announce the 2019 State Fair Winners. We see this fun ballot as a great way to get youngsters interested in the election process.
A copy of the State Fair Ballot can be downloaded here. Families with children who plan on attending the fair can download the ballot and bring it with them to our booth, or pick one up when they visit.
Information will also be available on the various other services handled by the Secretary Of State’s Office, including business registration, charity information and more. We will even have the great seal of West Virginia on hand, allowing those who stop by our table to experience an example of what happens after a bill becomes law. No law is “official” until it has our seal on it.
On Thursday, Aug. 15, Secretary Warner and other statewide elected officials will be at the fair for Governor’s Day ceremony and activities.
All of us at the Secretary of State’s office are proud to support the State Fair. We take great pride in the fair’s storied history, which began well over a century ago before West Virginia was even considered a state. In fact, our nation’s Declaration of Independence was a mere 78 years old when the first fair was held!
In 1854, the Greenbrier Agricultural Society of Virginia began the practice of organizing and conducting an annual fair where agricultural accomplishments could be displayed. Known as the “Greenbrier Valley Fair,” the first was held on approximately two acres of land at the corner of Washington and Lee Streets in Lewisburg. As the event grew, the state of what had since become West Virginia started to take notice. In 1941, the Legislature passed an act officially renaming the annual affair the “State Fair of West Virginia.” Due to World War II, however, the new fair was put on a bit of a hiatus. In 1946, it made a triumphant return, much to the delight of eager attendees. The fair saw continued growth over the next several decades with the addition of the racetrack, grandstand and the other nostalgic features we still enjoy to this day.
For our office, the State Fair is a great way to meet and talk with thousands of West Virginians interested in their state government. Stop by and see us at our booth in the air-conditioned West Virginia Building.
For more information about the State Fair of West Virginia, visit www.statefairofwv.com or call (304) 645-1090.
David Gilpin joined the WV Secretary of State’s Office in 2017. He is a member of the WVSOS Field Services Team and he serves as the public outreach coordinator for the WV One Stop Business Center.
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