LEWISBURG, W.Va. — As the State Fair of West Virginia gears up to celebrate its 90th year, the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center is displaying a panoply of memorabilia from past fairs.
Everything from posters, paintings and vintage photographs to a ribbon collage adorn the sweeping west wall of the Visitors Center’s lobby. Among the art works featured are a print of Greenbrier County native Robert Tuckwiller’s well-known painting encapsulating the State Fair experience and a pair of panoramic photos taken at the 1938 Greenbrier Valley Fair, one of the forerunners of today’s State Fair.
Sure to tug at the heartstrings of old timers who visit the exhibit this month is a glass case displaying the racing silks once worn by the late Joe Blackburn “Black” Hayes, who served as the superintendent of Harness Racing at the State Fair for over 30 years. A printed one-page biography detailing Hayes’ connection to the annual exposition and a photo of him in mid-race, reins comfortably in hand, round out the display.
The “Blue Ribbon Traditions” exhibit also includes two framed historical documents — the impressive Certificate of Incorporation of the Greenbrier Valley Fair, issued March 22, 1921, and a three-page hand-written treasurer’s report from the 1893 Greenbrier Industrial Exposition, another of the fair’s predecessors.
One eye-catching feature of the exhibit is an antique small-scale wooden carousel…