The state fair of West Virginia has come and gone and is an annual event that is anticipated by folks all over the state as the clearing house for all things farming related coupled with the biggest carnival in the land.
Although it lacks the carnival rides, the National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration held at Stonewall Jackson State Park on September 17 and 18th is quite possibly the state fair for the outdoors minded people from all over the state.
Each year more than a hundred vendors and exhibits are set up all around the grounds of the park and the surrounding areas with something for everyone. There will be everything from speakers and demonstrations, to archery and bass tournaments, to a perennial favorite, the Youth Challenge.
The Youth Challenge is a series of tasks that each child under the age of 18 can take on all around the park. Once all of the items have been completed they are entered into a drawing to be held at 4pm each afternoon and can win one of several prizes or possibly the grand prize of a Lifetime hunting and fishing license. One lifetime license will be given away each day of the two day event so those attending can have two chances to win if they attend both days.
Along the way the kids will get to experience all sorts of outdoor themed events, everything from identifying fish and animals, turkey calling, and trying their hand at archery and fly fishing. The challenge is set up so every youngster can complete it and have a lot of fun doing it.
For the kids at heart, there are still plenty of things to see and do. A huge display of trophy bucks and deer will be set up along with the many informational seminars and speakers.
Archery trick shot specialist, Byron Ferguson, will again be on hand at this year’s show. However, this year due to a recent surgery, he will not be able to perform those amazing trick shots, but he will be giving several presentations on how to become a better archer and will spend a lot more time interacting one on one with those in attendance at the event.
Also, in attendance this year will be Neal James, reality TV star, from the Call of the Wildman on Animal Planet. Neal will be on hand to take pictures and sign autographs and talk with the crowd. Rumor has it he is even bringing his banjo and has been known to pick a tune or two.
Having been lucky enough to meet Mr. James a couple of years ago, I can assure you that he is definitely a true one of a kind and whole heartedly a genuine people person. If you get the chance to meet him be prepared to talk to him like you have known him all your life.
There are many many more activities to take part in at the celebration. For a more complete listing of the activities be sure to visit www.wvdnr.gov/NHFD/main.html and follow the links to get an idea of all there is to see and do.
The best thing about the entire event is that it is free for kids under the age of 15 and only $6 for the adults. There will also be food vendors scattered all around the event to make it feel and smell even more like a state fair.
The event is a joint venture put on by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation. These two groups have worked tirelessly to make the event bigger and better each year and it is sure to not disappoint all those who venture out to enjoy the weekend.
So, if you are looking for something to do to get you pumped up for the coming seasons the WV National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration is right up your alley. They have actually moved the event one week earlier this year to make sure it didn’t interfere with the opening day of archery season. Talk about accounting for everything.
Take a short drive up interstate 79 and spend the day or the weekend celebrating all things outdoors and have a great time doing it.