Located about a half of mile north of Matewan High School on Route 49, the 10-acre property will soon be filled with rides, food, music, and fun as the beginning of the annual fair draws near. The land was donated to the town for the purposes of the fair by the Mingo County Commission.
This year’s incarnation of the Magnolia Fair offers more than 20 rides, live music, and dozens of food, novelty, and arts and craft vendors, but the event’s main attractions are the bands and musicians that will be performing at 9 p.m. nightly.
Monday’s concert is led by Restless Heart, a well-known, multi-platinum selling artist whose claim to fame is the instantly recognizable and catchy song, “The Bluest Eyes in Texas”.
On Tuesday, the award-winning country band Little Texas takes the stage. Little Texas became famous in the early 1990s with hits like “What Might Have Been”, “Kick a Little”, and the chart-topper, “God Blessed Texas”.
On the very next night, country artists Blackhawk will perform. The multi-platinum band is best known for their hits “Goodbye Says It All”, "Every Once in a While", and "I Sure Can Smell the Rain".
Gospel artist Michael Combs will perform for fairgoers Thursday night and on Friday, the newly added West Virginia group, Taylor Made will round out the fair’s live entertainment.
The live musical performances will go on rain or shine. The fairground’s stage is inside the large structure on the property and set up in the back. If the weather is fair, the artists will face outdoors into the opened fairground. If inclement weather persists, the performances will be held inside the structure.
Originally set for the dates of Aug. 2 to Aug. 7, the fair has extended to eight days, now beginning on July 31. The company providing the rides, Carr Amusements, will be setting up on the Magnolia Fairgrounds approximately three to four days prior to the event.
The fair will play host to two beauty pageants held Monday, Aug. 2 and Tuesday, Aug. 3. Monday’s pageant will be the “Baby Miss” pageant for newborns to 23-month-olds with the “Young Miss” for ages 2 to 9 years old held on Tuesday. Registration forms for the pageants can be picked up at A & A Auto in Matewan, R.C.’s Country Store in Buskirk, Ky., or from Heaven Sent in the South Side Mall in South Williamson, Ky.
Along with the pageants, door prizes will be awarded throughout the week, but the biggest prize will be awarded Saturday in a $10,000 reverse drawing. Two-hundred tickets for the drawing will be sold at $100 each. The last ticket sold will receive the grand prize, however the last five people to purchase tickets will get an option to share the money or continue. Prizes will also be given out for the first ticket purchased and every 25th ticket purchased.
Sponsors of this year’s event include: Massey Energy, Jones Oil Co., Food City, the South Side Mall, and WXCC Coal Country has sponsored Taylor Made’s Friday night performance.
The Rotary Club of Matewan began planning for the event a little over a year ago, soon after the 2009 Magnolia Fair ended. The club is comprised of: Keith Blankenship, president; Dimple Allara; C.R. Ball; Debbie Blankenship; George Blankenship; Junior Blankenship; Paula Blankenship; Karen Browning; Betty Charles; Roger Charles; Sandy Collins; John Fullen; Sheila Kessler; and Robert McCoy.
The grounds should offer ample parking for fairgoers, but if needed, two shuttle buses will be on hand for convenience. The buses will run from Rawl Sales to the high school and into the town itself if necessary.
The gates will open each night at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 which covers all rides and live entertainment.