Organizers continue State Fair planning despite pandemic

FAIRLEA, WV (WOAY) – The COVID-19 pandemic threatens summer plans while officials continue to urge the public to practice social distancing.

“It’s tough,” said West Virginia local Debbie Tygrett. “I really miss going to church and it’s a little harder to get groceries. I mean, you don’t go every day or every other day.”

While many look forward to what summer promises, those organizing the State Fair say things are still up in the air.

“The important thing to remember is the safety and the health of our fairgoers, our vendors, our concessionaires, our livestock exhibitors is always what we’re going to put first,” said Kelly Collins with the State Fair of West Virginia. “We are staying in touch with the federal and local and state officials to make sure that we make the right decision.”

Cancelling the fair would mean massive revenue loss for the state. In its last economic impact study, the fair found that it had a $13.8 million impact. Another loss would be the memories families may not get to make this August.

“The kids would miss it,” said Tygrett. “We would all miss it– the food, [and] seeing the children enjoy themselves.”

The future may not be so dark, as organizers plan as if there is no doubt the fair will happen.

“We have a lot of contracts that are due several months in advance, so we have to order tents and golf carts and get our vendors lined up and our camping,” said Collins. “Those deadlines are all within these few months, so we‘re working with those folks on the deadlines for their contracts because we realize a lot of them are having some financial issues right now with everything going on.”

You can stay up to date on the State Fair of West Virginia by following it on social media.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at