From the time-honored 4-H livestock projects to cutting-edge STEM activities, West Virginia University Extension Service will offer a blend of tradition and innovation at the State Fair of West Virginia in Fairlea from Aug. 8 to Aug. 17.
WVU Extension Service Interim Dean Sue Day-Perroots said the fair is an opportunity to honor the state’s agricultural roots and showcase the new directions the state is heading — through a fun and family-oriented atmosphere.
“The State Fair is a wonderful celebration of our traditional agricultural programming, including livestock and 4-H exhibits,” Day-Perroots said. “With our presence at the WVU Building, it also gives us the perfect venue for outreach and education. Our motto is to ‘show by doing,’ and the fair allows us to bring hands-on learning opportunities to visitors, while piquing curiosity and creativity. People of all ages will be able to enjoy interactive games, STEM activities, healthy food tastings, safety demonstrations and much more. We want visitors to walk away from our building having learned something new.”
The WVU Building on the fairgrounds will host a rotating selection of the University’s programs and people. The WVU Extension Service will be there with expert demonstrations and information from faculty and staff on topics of broad interest, such as recipe demonstrations, nutrition outreach programs, home fire safety and canning advice.
Representatives from Mylan STEM-CARE, a collaboration between WVU and Mylan, will also be stationed in the WVU Building to introduce young fairgoers to growth mindset concepts and interactive STEM activities.
WVU Extension Service’s influence stretches all across the fairgrounds, coordinating junior livestock shows in cooperation with FFA and hosting 4-H-oriented activities in the Cecil H. Underwood Youth Center.
Not to be missed, across from the WVU Building is the WVU Extension Master Gardener demonstration garden and high tunnel, where fairgoers can take a stroll through the gardens and high tunnel to witness all sorts of plants, from ornamental to fruit-bearing, and get gardening advice from highly-trained Extension Master Gardeners.
New at the garden and high tunnel this year is a daily speaker series beginning on Friday, Aug. 9. Experts from WVU Extension Service will cover topics ranging from monarch conservation to plant disease management. All presentations begin at 3 p.m.
Representatives from WVU will have the popular “Dream Big” wall set up in the WVU Building, which allows fairgoers to share their aspirations and learn how WVU can help them achieve those dreams.
There are special themed days for the fair as well. Friday, Aug. 9 is 4-H Day at the Fair, where 4-H’ers can get a special rate on tickets and participate in a scavenger hunt around the grounds. West Virginia Day is Aug. 15, where many notable University administrators will visit the fair.
The WVU Building is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except for the first day of the fair when it opens at 11 a.m. and the last day of the fair when it closes at 5 p.m. WVU-themed prize drawings take place at noon and 5 p.m. daily.
For more information, including a schedule of events at the WVU Building, visit the WVU Extension State Fair website.
Fairgoers are encouraged to document their experience at the WVU Building on social media by using the hashtag #WVUFairFun so others can follow along.