For decades State Fair of West Virginia goers have utilized the West Virginia Building as a reprieve from the sun and as a chance to immerse themselves in the spectacle of the home arts and garden competitions.
It is a hub for meetups, a place to relax while watching a cooking demonstration, and a refresher as a place to take a bathroom break.
Colorful quilts hang from the ceiling, state and political agency booths line the inner ring with a plethora or information and freebies, and the vast outer perimeter is adorned with exhibits of cakes, flowers, crafts, pumpkins, and more.
Now West Virginia Building browsers can enjoy the same great showcases in a newly renovated building.
With such a high volume of visitors each year, the upkeep of the building has been of the utmost importance. Smaller scale projects have been completed every few years, such as repainting the floors and revamping the bathrooms, but a major refurbishment has long been on the books to provide continued comfort for fairgoers and for patrons at events that take place during other times of the year.
Thanks to a grant from Governor Jim Justice through the West Virginia CARES Act, the State Fair of West Virginia was awarded money for general fairgrounds operations, and part of that was used to tackle several projects within the West Virginia Building.
This was made possible because of the active role the fairgrounds played during the pandemic, having been used as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site.
The West Virginia Building renovations focus on the benefit of the county in the event that the building would ever need to be utilized again by the health department, Department of Homeland Security, or any other government agency as a facility for public safety purposes.
“It’s a priority for everybody’s health and wellbeing in the area,” stated Melody Hill, special events and concessions manager for the fairgrounds. “We want to do everything we can to keep things up to date and in good condition, so when something like that happens, we’re available to help the public.”
The renovation project includes an entire roof replacement, an upgraded electrical system, and new lighting.
Fairgoers will be especially pleased to know that the renovation also includes the construction of a new family restroom and the upgrade to a new and more efficient HVAC system to keep crowds cool during the hot summer heat.
State Fair of West Virginia Executive Director Kelly Collins asks fairgoers to pardon the work in progress, as renovations are ongoing.
Post-fair projects will include a complete refurbishment of the floor as well as several other upgrades.
Another renovation project on the fairgrounds was made possible through a grant from Seneca Trail Charitable Foundation, which provides for additional paving to extend the handicap-accessible parking lot. The grant also encompasses the construction of a new family restroom near the livestock barns at the AG pavilion to provide accessibility and comfort for all fairgoers.
The grants from the West Virginia CARES Act and Seneca Trail Charitable Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time. Although events were restored in 2021 and crowds flocked to return to the annual fair, the cancellation of the 2020 festivities was a major loss of revenue for The State Fair of West Virginia, and consequentially, for the community’s economy.
A year without its biggest source of income meant that several projects and hopes for restorations had to be put on hold.
The current grant-sourced renovations have put the fairgrounds back on track and have restored their plans to continually improve the grounds and facilities to continue one of the greatest annual traditions in the state of West Virginia.
|New lighting and in-progress renovations at the West Virginia Building|
|The West Virginia Building at the State Fair is undergoing grant-funded renovations.|