The Times West Virginian

July 24, 2013

Paw Paw Fair launches brief but enjoyable county ‘season’

Times West Virginian

— The lazy, hazy days of summer are here, and the rainy days of summer seem to have been with us for weeks now. We believe it has been a long while since our area has received as much precipitation as it has in 2013.

Some cooler, drier weather is in the forecast, and the time has arrived for an annual tradition in Marion County.

“Fair Season” got under way Tuesday night with the parade that launched another Paw Paw District Fair in Rivesville.

In two weeks, the annual Mannington District Fair will be here.

This is a schedule that has been followed for a number of years now, although it hasn’t always been this way.

The Paw Paw Fair has had a lock, so to speak, on dates in mid- or late-July, but the Mannington District Fair used to wind up Marion County’s fair season in late August. In fact, the fair sometimes “clashed” with the football season opener for Mannington High School and later North Marion, when that school came into existence in 1979.

To prevent the fair from clashing with North Marion’s opener, it was moved up to the first full week in August sometime in the early 1980s. And because rain usually would wash out at least one fair night, hurting turnstile receipts, an extra day was wisely added onto the Mannington District Fair.

At one time it appeared to many that Marion County might lead the state in the number of fairs featured here. Up on Bunner Ridge, there was the annual Winfield Fair, and out in Farmington, there was the Lincoln District Fair. These were smaller fairs in smaller communities, but their supporters kept them going for a good while.

County fairs are always good for people to meet old friends. In fact, it’s often said that many people have friends they never run into except at the annual district fairs. Many folks never miss a fair — whether it’s the Paw Paw Fair near Rivesville or the annual district fair at Mannington.

Both fairs have longevity on their side. The Mannington Fair has been going strong since 1932, and the Paw Paw Fair is being presented this year for the 67th time — dating back to the mid-1940s.

Back several years when Gov. Gaston Caperton was making West Virginia’s homecomings high on his priority list, the Mannington District Fair fell into that category.

The Mannington Fair has been labeled the second-largest in West Virginia except for the West Virginia State Fair for a number of years, and no one is disputing the claim.

So “Fair Season” is upon us, but it will all be over in Marion County on Aug. 10. Enjoy!