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More than 2,000 flock to first day of 110th West Alexander Fair

September 6, 2016 GMT

WEST ALEXANDER - Kerry Colbert considers the West Alexander Fair the fairest one of all.“I’ve been coming here for 38 years,” she said, one eye on her young children spinning leisurely on the merry-go-round. “Before I had kids, I’d take one of my vacation weeks and spend every day here.“She grew up nearby, outside Dallas, W.Va., but has been to Hancock’s county fair a mere five times. Colbert, who now lives in Wellsburg, W.Va., prefers the seven-day extravaganza across the state line, and has extended the family tradition to her daughters, Addison, 7, and Natalie, 6.It may be West Alexander, but to them, it is much bigger.“We call this the World’s Fair,” Kerry Colbert said. “We say, ‘We’re going to the World’s Fair.‘“Though less global in nature, the 110th West Alexander Fair kicked off impressively Monday. Food, fun, games, rides, rodeos, reptiles and a welcoming sun drew more than 2,000 revelers to the grounds off National Road during the first two hours alone.It is the final summer fair in the region, and as usual, there was a mix of Washington County residents along with Ohio Valley residents from West Virginia and Ohio. The town, after all, butts up against the northern panhandle of the Mountain State.Colbert enjoys the fair for many reasons, but especially loves the familial atmosphere.“It’s like a family reunion,” she said. “I’ve run into six or seven (relatives) so far.“So it was with Barbara Minch. She has been to 30-plus West Alexander fairs, where she took her three children years ago and was accompanied Monday by her seven grandchildren.“We’re having a family vacation here this week,” she said, leaning on a multicolored makeshift cane cobbled together by one of her grandchildren. Minch, likewise, was raised in the Dallas, W.Va., area, but lives in the Beham section of West Alexander. Her grown offspring graduated from McGuffey and, while participating in 4H, showed animals at the fair. They own a dairy farm.At this fair, Tyler, 10, will be Minch’s first grandchild to show an animal, a heifer.“He won the Mutton Bustin’ contest two years in a row,” the proud grandmother said.The fair runs through Saturday, and Minch plans to attend every day.“This is the only fair where I feel comfortable to let the kids do what they want to do. Everyone keeps an eye on everybody else’s kids,” she said.The fair also has been a tradition for Bill and Karin Lawler of Washington, both of whom were raised in Claysville. They now bring daughter Charley, 8, and son Lehman, 5.“They’ve been coming here since they were born,” Bill said. “One thing I like is you see a lot of family and friends. You plan to meet some of them, but you know you are going to run into some others.“Karin described the event as “almost like a Hershey Kiss. It is a little fair with a lot of big things inside.“One big thing was the 26th annual crowning of the fair queen: Ashley Tremmel, 16, of Claysville, a McGuffey High student.So it is one down, five days to go at the West Alexander Fair. Minch plans to be there through Saturday.“I worked with people who go on cruises for vacation,” she said. “We want to go to the fair.”