The State Fair of West Virginia, an event and organization that has deep roots in the state’s heritage, lost a beloved icon this week.
On the evening of Tuesday, September 29, a large portion of ‘the tree’ collapsed, making it necessary to remove the remainder of the iconic landmark for safety reasons.
‘The tree,’ which was the centerpiece of the state fairgrounds, stood for over 100 years. In fact, ‘the tree’ had already grown to maturity prior to the opening of the state fairgrounds in 1921. According to Kelly Collins, Director of the West Virginia State Fairgrounds, ‘the tree’ was the heart of the facility.
“That’s where people would meet and take pictures and find each other,” Collins said. “It’s really sad to see it go, because it’s been here forever. But 2020 strikes again.”
It is difficult to determine the exact age of ‘the tree.’ Greenbrier County has no records readily available regarding ‘the tree’ specifically. And the core was so badly decayed that dating it was not possible. Collins told the WV Daily News that the tree had been in decline for some time. Discussion had already begun about the possible need to remove it, and what would be put in its place.
“Now we’ll have to figure out something really special to do with that space,” Collins said.