Gov. Joe Manchin

By GOV. JOE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- With summer rapidly approaching, now is the time to plan for vacations and family fun.

As many parents try to juggle work, pay bills, take their children to sports practices and make quality time for the whole family, they may realize that an entire week of vacation may not be practical.

However, West Virginia's fairs and festivals offer fun and entertainment for all ages -- proving that you can have a great, inexpensive retreat close to home.

As we know, our state is small is size, so it is easy to travel. In addition, many of our state's fairs and festivals are scheduled near or on a weekend, making it a convenient weekend getaway without spending a great deal of money.

For years West Virginia has been a state known for its tourism industry, offering friendly services and unmatched hospitality to visitors from near and far. Whether you chose to attend the annual Blue and Gray Reunion in Barbour County, the Calhoun County Wood Festival or the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta and River Festival, there is a close-by celebration that offers something for everyone.

As the heart of our state's tourism industry, fairs and festivals also serve as a bridge between different cultures and generations. West Virginians have a long, proud tradition of protecting our heritage, often showcasing it during these annual events. Add to that the fact that West Virginia is home to some of the best crafters and performers in the nation, and you get a weekend filled with exciting entertainment.

My family has long enjoyed the many travel opportunities our home state has to offer. You can pack up the kids and attend a parade, shop at a craft show or enjoy great bluegrass music in the middle of a busy street.

I've made so many great memories with my family while traveling across the Mountain State –- moments that I treasure, just like those you can make and share with your family.

I invite you to take part in this year's West Virginia fairs and festivals -– each a unique and fun learning experience in its own right. These seasonal festivities also give us a great opportunity to celebrate our beautiful communities.

So what are you waiting for ... travel West Virginia!

For more information on West Virginia's fairs and festivals call 1-800-CALL-WVA or visit www.wvtourism.com.

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