CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This year's Kanawha County Fair is set to be "bigger and better than ever," according to officials.For the first time in its 60-year history, the fair will extend its schedule to five days and boast more carnival rides than ever before, including a long-awaited Ferris wheel."One thing we learned a long time ago is that the public wants every fair to have a Ferris wheel. Even if they don't ride it, they want to see it," said Ron Gregory, the fair's director. "For years, we've received calls months in advance asking if we have a wheel -- we've even had people turn around and leave when they see we don't have one."The fair will take place at Shawnee Park in Institute and will begin Aug. 15 at 6 p.m."I hope we have the biggest crowds we've ever had," said Kanawha County Commissioner Hoppy Shores. "We welcome everybody, and we're thrilled to be having a successful fair. When the people of the county are happy, I'm happy."In addition to attractions such as a mechanical bull, a bungee drop and animal exhibits, local music acts will also perform. Acts include The Pour House Crew, which will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17, and The Earl of Elkview, who will perform at 3 p.m. Aug. 18. The Hill Breed Family will perform at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 18, and the Tommy Griffith Gospel Show will perform Aug. 19.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will speak during the official opening ceremonies at 6:10 p.m. Aug. 16.Animal exhibits hosted by the Putnam County chapter of the Future Farmers of America will featured throughout the week, as well as a living-history camp provided by the West Virginia State University Extension Service.Mayfield Dairy will host free ice cream socials Aug. 18 and 19, and professional wrestlers will perform near the main stage at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18.Gates open Aug. 16 and 17 at 6 p.m. and at noon Aug. 18. Gates will open at 1 p.m. Aug. 19. The fair will conclude at 6 p.m. Aug. 19.Admission for adults is $12, and $8 for children; the admission price includes most rides.Reach Mackenzie Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5100.