West Alexander Fair begins, bringing nostalgia, small-town feel

September 4, 2017
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Brad Hundt/Observer-Reporter
A lamb gets a trim Monday courtesy of Bruce Grice at West Alexander Fair. Order a Print
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Brad Hundt/Observer-Reporter
Bridget McConn of West Alexander gives a bath to Jade, a Holstein Heifer, Monday at West Alexander Fair. Order a Print

WEST ALEXANDER–Amid the pleasant odors of baked goods and the less pleasant odors of animal dung, Justen Post of Fairmont, W.Va., said the West Alexander Fair was scented with something else entirely for him – nostalgia.

“It hasn’t changed since I was a child,” said Post, who used to live in nearby West Finley Township. “It’s a nice small-town fair, and you run into familiar faces.”

The agricultural fair opened its doors Monday for the 111th time, and, yes, some things about it have remained unchanged since the first one – namely, the displays and contests built around goats, lamb, swine, steers and other farmyard denizens. The fair also has carnival rides aplenty, performances of marching bands from local high schools, demolition derbies and more.

Macaque in the trees
Bridget McConn of West Alexander gives a bath to Jade, a Holstein Heifer, Monday at West Alexander Fair.
Brad Hundt/Observer-Reporter

New attractions this year include a “History Walk” series that explores the fair’s long history, and a new concrete floor in the fair’s entertainment center.

Opening Labor Day, which happened to be a day filled with warmth and sun after several days of unseasonal clouds and chill, about 3,000 people had already turned up by mid-afternoon, according to Rich Hunter, who serves on the fair’s board.

“It’s about average,” he said.

The fair will continue throughout the week and wrap up Saturday.

West Alexander’s fair comes at the tail end of fair season for many of the participants and, like Post, Jodie Cowden said she appreciates its manageable size. She explained her daughters and a niece were participating in the fair and “everyone helps everyone here.”

“It’s all family,” she added. “At the bigger fairs, you don’t get that.”

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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