By August 7, 2017 Read More →

Mannington Fair still on despite fairground flooding

By JOHN MARK SHAVER

The Exponent Telegram

MANNINGTON, W.Va. — Despite floodwaters submerging the fairground just last weekend, the 85th annual Mannington Fair is still on for this week, as officials and community members work to prepare the fairground for Monday’s opening activities.

According to Mannington Mayor James Taylor, cleanup of the field and park began as soon as crews could safely reach the area.

“By Monday, parade night, everything should be clean,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that while the field needed to be cleared of debris, the major focus now is on the park’s bathrooms and concession stand.

“The health department is here now and they’re making sure all the concessions are clean and have been sanitized,” Taylor said. “The park is being treated the same way. Everything is basically trying to be disease free.”

Mannington Fair Board Treasurer Eva Yoho said that while the status of the fair was up in the air early last Saturday morning during the flood, the board decided that fair can and will happen regardless.

“That morning, when we knew the floods were up, I think all of us had the panic of thinking ‘What are we going to do?’,” Yoho said. “As soon as the water went down, we all met up here, and we still had that moment of looking around and we still thought ‘How are we going to do this?’

“But within about three hours, we had been bombarded by volunteers that were cleaning. A lot of then, we didn’t even know who they were. They came and they just started cleaning and had to make sure the fair went on.”

The fair kicks off today, with the event’s annual parade, and will continue throughout the week until Saturday.

“When it hits Saturday night, the last night, and we’ve gotten through and it’s been a success, that’s your goal,” Yoho said. “It’s a good feeling.”

While the majority of the fair’s events and activities are carryovers from previous years, Yoho said she was excited about a new performer, an escape artist named Michael Griffin, who will wow the crowd each night with his near impossible stunts.

Merely a week after the flash flood that devastated parts of the town, Taylor said that the community needs the fair, which could be a chance to bring some normalcy back into the town’s daily life.

“The people of Mannington particularly are ready to relax and get things off their head,” Taylor said. “They can come and relax and just forget their troubles for a little bit.”

Yoho said that the fair this year marks the community coming together to do something great, and shows that even though Mannington may get knocked down, it will always stand tall in the end.

“This will be our 85th year,” Yoho said. “It’s a tradition that’s been in Mannington that a lot of people look forward to. It’s a tradition that has to go on… It’ll take a lot more than a flood for us to not have it.”

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