Raymond Naeyeart and his family have a love affair with The State Fair of West Virginia patrons who gobble up their hot, buttery cinnamon rolls.
And it’s mutual, on both sides.
Cinn-Sational Cinnamon Rolls—made fresh while folks stroll the midway—has been a staple at the fair for 28 years, and is a time-honored tradition.
The family business is headquartered in Florida, but now spends most of its time offering its delicacies at only select West Virginia and Virginia events.
“It’s because we really love the area, and that’s where we want to be,” he said.
Customers are fiercely loyal, and come back year after year.
“My dad is now seeing children of people he first served when they were little. It has been quite a ride, and we get pretty sentimental just thinking about it,” he said.
When flooding hit Greenbrier and surrounding counties, Naeyeart said his family’s first thought was the folks they’ve come to love in Lewisburg, Fairlea, White Sulphur Springs and other towns in the southern part of the state.
The good news is that there was minimal damage to the fairgrounds, and the fair will be held Aug. 12-21 as scheduled
“Since the people there have been so good to us, we wanted to do something special for them,” he said.
His father, David Naeyeart, donated $1,000 to the United Way to help with flood relief efforts.
Patrons have also been supportive, and raised approximately $1,400 in donations by dropping money in a jar at the company’s food booth, he said.
Josie Hanna, who is helping do marketing for the fair, is pleased – but not surprised – by this kind of generosity.
That’s because fair vendors are loyal to the event, and folks come to know them, she said. For example, the Greenbrier East High School FFA will have a stand offering ham sandwiches.
There’s lots of variety and plenty of good food at the State Fair of West Virginia.
“I am a lifelong fair goer and a Greenbrier County native, so I’ve tried almost every food that the fair has to offer,” she said.
This year’s offerings will include funnel cake, steak sandwiches, French fries, pizza, barbeque, strawberry shortcake, elephant ears and homemade ice cream.
“My two favorites are Ben Ellen Donuts and the FFA ham sandwiches. Both of these say State Fair of West Virginia to me because that’s the only place I can get them,” Hanna said.
“The sweet of the sugary donuts and salty taste of the cured ham is a combination that can only be described as a match made in state fair heaven.”
Heather Pyne said she looks forward to eating some of the best pizza of the year while visiting the fair.
“The Gillette family has been serving up authentic New York style pizza at the state fair for over 20 years. Fair goers can just walk over the blue bridge, and smell the homemade pizza fresh out of the over,” she said.
While her favorite is chicken bacon ranch pizza, Pine also recommends the meat Stromboli or a calzone, since it is made with ricotta cheese.