CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The sights and sounds of summer in West Virginia silenced this year by COVID-19.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Curator Reid-Smith awarded grants for fairs and festivals in the Mountain State.
“I’m tickled to death today to be passing out a whole lot of dollars,” Justice said.
Justice announced he will be awarding a total of more than $1.3 million, spread out among each of the state’s 392 fairs and festivals, in order to keep as many of these events afloat as possible moving forward.
The State Fair of West Virginia is going to receive $300,000 in funding from the grants. There will be additional grants for historic groups as well other fairs and festivals not receiving money from initial funding.
“Well I mean at that point and time, what do we do? We go to work, because I can’t let that happen,” Justice said.
Justice considers fairs and festivals to be the fabric of West Virginia and its identity. So do those who spend a year or more preparing them.
“Bridge Day is a celebration of our state’s cultural tourism icon and this funding will help us secure the future of a 40-year-old event and we so appreciate it.”Becky Sullivan, Executive Director, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce:
The mountain state hosts more than 500 festivals annually — which rely heavily on state grant money and tens of thousands of fair and festival goers for success the majority of which have been canceled earlier this year.
Justice is now handing out $1.3 million dollars to the state’s fairs and festivals to help them — hopefully — hang on another year.
“When you get a town of 5,000 that grows to 50,000 for a weekend or however many days and you see the community pull together to put that event on and make it a success and pass on the traditions, it’s truly great to see so we hope that our events get to continue next year.”Kelly Collins/CEO the State Fair of West Virginia
To keep the pride and continue driving the Mountain State’s agriculture and commodities.
“We put heads in beds, they buy our gas, they buy our food, they go to our little shops, we have antique shops on the streets and then they buy food from the vendors that are at the festival, so it is an economic driver.”Vicky Vaughan — Executive Director, South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau