My fellow West Virginians, something truly wonderful has occurred in this time of the pandemic.

Throughout our state the boards of our local fairs and festivals have chosen to place their communities’ safety before their financial security. On Tuesday, June 16, the board of the State Fair of West Virginia voted to cancel this year’s fair for the first time since World War II.

This was a heroic act in a time when many of us have begun to think heroism was something from children’s books. But this was just the biggest of many hard and brave decisions made throughout our state this year.

The people on these boards have gone on record saying “Our community is more important than the survival of our event.”

Such acts of sacrifice must not only be recognized for what they are but they demand that we honor that sacrifice in whatever way that we can. We must rise to the example that we have been shown. Please reach out to your local boards for your community events and, to paraphrase JFK, “Ask what can I do for you since you have done for us?” Consider making a donation of a small bit of the money that you would have spent at the canceled event this year or offer to volunteer at their fundraising activities or next year’s event.

These events are the lifeblood of our community fellowship and at the core of what makes West Virginia Almost Heaven. I don’t have the contact info of each of our local community events, but I do want to share the State Fair’s. The fair seems like an eternal institution but, like our local groups, it is not prepared for a complete cancellation of both the annual fair and all other events held on the facility. Please reach out to them here and give them a day’s admission price donation: State Fair of West Virginia, PO Drawer 986, Lewisburg, WV 24901 (phone: 304-645-1090).

For $25 or less, you can ensure that next year you and your children can carry on the family tradition of going to ride, exhibit or, what all of us West Virginians love best, eat at the State Fair of West Virginia.

Please also remember that many local community groups count on our fairs and festivals for their fundraising. So when they reach out for donations help them out because they are already out there ready to help you when you or your family need their aid. Not all of us can help at this difficult time, but if you can in some way now or later, think of doing it for our communities.

In closing, I would like everybody to take a moment and take a deep breath. Now exhale and think about how far that breath just traveled…

It is time to stop arguing about masks, it is time to wear them for our families, our friends, our communities, and our state. We will still be free and, more importantly, we will be alive.

God bless you all and remember, something wicked this way has come

Gregg Wingo

Lewisburg

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