State Fair of Virginia – Doswell, Virginia

October 3, 2012
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State Fair of Virginia

 

The State Fair of Virginia is currently running this year through October 7, 2012.

The fairgrounds at Meadows Event Park, nearly saw the end of the annual fair earlier this year after some financial hardships, but the event was saved.

 

This fair is much like the county fairs I have grown up attending, but on a much large scale.  It has many of the same standards, greasy carnival food, vomit inducing spinning rides, and of course agricultural exhibits.

 

The major difference in this fair, than others I have attended, however is the sheer size of all of this, and the addition of some pretty spectacular shows.

The obvious scale of this fair becomes apparent from the parking lot, which feels more like parking at a major sports event than a fair. The big difference, though, parking at the fair is still free. After parking several acres away, and walking underneath a tunnel under the road, we paid the weekend $15 ticket rate to attend. Initially, I thought this was a bit steep for a fair admission, but after attending, and without the parking fee, I think the price was reasonable and fair (no pun intended).

 

Immediately inside the venue, visitors approach one of the multiple agricultural exhibits in the form of a petting area filled with goats, lambs, alpacas, and bulls.  Right beside this, is one of the many shows going on, a Grizzly Bear Encounter exhibit with two young grizzly bears pacing through their mobile enclosures.

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Just past this area, however, is where the fair really spreads out into two separate sections divided by a large hilltop brick house.

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To the left of the home is the section of the fair containing all of the carnival rides, and these are actually divided into two section of their own, one for the little ones, and one for the more daring.  This section of the  fair is actually a loop with the rides and some concessions on the backside of the loop, and  most of the shows and more concessions on the front side(towards the entrance).

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The shows we were able to witness were pretty exciting. That morning was an antique tractor pull, a dare devil motor cycle and acrobatic show, and a cowboy roper/knife thrower/six shooter show.  By far, though, the most popular “show” was the hog racing event. Watching those tiny little pigs run around a small rink was cute, but it was really surprising how popular this event was with the packed crowd.

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State Fair of Virginia

Of course, one can’t attend a fair without a corn dog and some fried deserts (I recommend the fried Oreos), and there is certainly now lack of food options throughout this section of the fair. In fact, nearly the entire inner loop is made up of concessionaires. If you’re looking for a good deal on a cheap drink, I recommend the sweet tea at one of the several tiki tea huts. For the quantity, and the offer of cheap refills, it’s probably the best price on drinks.

 

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State Fair of Virginia

On the other side of the “farmhouse” is the agricultural section of the fair. Around this smaller loop, visitors will be able to view and pet even more farm animals in one tent, see rabbits in another, and gain a lot of information about Virginia agriculture and agricultural supplies throughout the exhibits.

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In an open field behind the kiddie rides is a large stage in a big open grassy field.  This is the main stage where bands will be playing each evening of the fair.  While we didn’t stay for the concert, during the day, we did get to see an escape artist perform a handful of his great escapes in this area.  One of the more entertaining was watching his group of volunteer children try their best to tie him up with a piece of rope.  It took them over 3 minutes to complete there task, and him less than a minute to escape.

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Overall, I’d say the fair is worth the visit if you live within a couple of hours from their, and enjoy county fairs. Again, it’s must bigger than a county fair, but it is really well done while maintaining that fall festival atmosphere.

Timeline: September 28 – October 7, 2012

Admission : Weekends $15, Weekdays $12 (Adult)

Website: State Fair of Virginia

Directions:

1. From I-95 take exit 98 (Doswell)

2. Drive Past King’s Dominion for about 1.5 miles (plenty of signs showing the way).

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