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Merriment on the Midway

Virginia State Fair returns, to everyone’s delight

Once again, the Meadow Event Park in Doswell will have its green grass and rolling hills covered with carnival rides, games of chance and skill, food vendors and hundreds of thousands of visitors for the State Fair of Virginia.

The fair is returning to the park for its second year there, and is expected to welcome more than 200,000 throughout its 11 days. New features include dog, horse and motorcycle shows; new competitions including brunch recipes and a Secretariat-themed table-setting contest; later hours on Fridays; and a pumpkin sculptor.

The fair committee is focusing on improving parking and traffic flow after the inaugural year at the new location.

“A year of experience at our new location has allowed us to take a good product and make it better,” said Steven Bryan, senior director of human resources and risk management for SFVA, the not-for-profit organization that produces the state fair. Last year’s parking pattern caused some headaches among guests who were caught in traffic trying to enter and exit the fair grounds.

The fair runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3. Complete information on entertainment, schedules, admission and ride ticket sales and more can be found at www.statefairva.org or by calling 1-800-LUV-FAIR.

Entertainment

On-stage entertainment includes the Colgate Country Showdown, Kings of Swing, Molly Hatchet, Brother Trouble, Jake Owen, Honor Society, The Wallers, Amanda McIntosh, Sons of Bill, Kristen Roth bluegrass and gospel festivals and more. Old favorites in entertainment include the tractor pull, lumberjack show, a “heritage village” that offers reenactments of Virginia history, and other traditional fair activities.

On the theater stage, The Magic of Lance Guilford, The Musical Tribute to John Denver and Jesse Garron’s Tribute to Elvis will entertain the crowd. Richmond-area bands The Remnants, Detour, Trongone, Loose Honey and more will be on hand, as well.

Competitions

As always, competition entries in categories such as horticulture, arts and crafts, animals, baked goods, rodeo and more will be available for viewing in various tents. The competitions and demonstrations help those in the industry keep up with trends and educate city dwellers on their craft.

“Alpacas, dairy goats and dairy cattle educational displays show non-meat products and new, expanding markets,” said Glenn Martin, livestock and programs director for SFVA. “Producers can see which direction the industry is going and keep up with new breeds and current trends.”

“Green” Fair and horticulture

“The State Fair Gardens are one of my favorite places at the fair,” said SFVA horticulturist Gwynn Hubbard. “Every year, plants are donated from garden centers and nurseries around the state; industry volunteers and Master Gardeners spend countless hours installing the gardens just for the fair.”

Those interested in the environmental effects of the fair will be pleased to hear both the fair and its location have received Virginia Green certifications, a stamp of approval from the state-wide program that works to reduce the environmental impacts of Virginia’s tourism industry.

“As a result of significant coverage regarding environmental issues in the media and in our school educational programs at all levels, the public is even more interested in seeing what business, industry and non-profit organizations are researching, developing or implementing to improve that quality of our environment,” said Harry Gregori, of Gregori Consulting, LLC. A new area of vendors, non-profits and educational presenters will show fairgoers how the fair and Virginia are striving to be environmentally conscious.