Livestock, chainsaw carvers and a funny waiter among features
by Adam Culler, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
Celebrating the culmination of Virginia’s agricultural growing season and focusing on family fun, the State Fair of Virginia is returning with more attractions than ever.
This year’s fair will be held Sept. 23 through Oct. 2 at Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. Featuring an exciting mix of entertainment, delicious fair food, thrilling rides and exhibitions related to Virginia agriculture, forestry and natural resources, the 10-day event has something for everyone.
The fair was not held in 2020, but returned in 2021.
“After a year away, we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to invite the public back and provide a fantastic experience to everyone who attended,” says Marlene Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “Thanks to our wonderful guests, we exceeded our expectations, and we hope to repay their enthusiasm and dedication with an even better fair this year.”
NEW FOR 2022
Among new attractions is the Triple Crown Circus, which will wow crowds with three daily performances featuring high-flying aerial stunts.
Other new attractions include The Funny Waiter, a roving performer who will entertain fairgoers with a variety of waiter-themed props, juggling and stunts. Also scheduled to perform is The Fire Guy, who will light things up with fire breathing, fire juggling and high-octane magic tricks.
Guests also can visit the new Otter Adventure attraction, an interactive water show featuring curious, playful otters.
Returning crowd-pleasers include the racing pigs of Rosaire’s Royal Racers, master chainsaw carver Ben Risney and two nights of Revenge Roughstock Rodeo’s professional bull riding, bronc riding and barrel racing.
After taking a spin on carnival rides in the Virginia Lottery Midway and Virginia 529 Kidway areas, guests can find a bounty of refreshments to satisfy their fair food cravings.
Returning vendors will serve up favorites such as barbecue, chicken on a stick, funnel cakes, turkey legs and a host of deep-fried desserts. New vendors will serve unique fare such as a s’more-like dessert called Campfire on a Stick, customized macaroni and cheese bowls, fried chicken and hotcakes, and Brazilian-inspired rotisserie beef and chicken served in pineapple bowls.
On the main stage, the fair will host a variety of live music ranging from modern country to Motown, and tribute acts playing classics from the Eagles and Elton John. The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail series will return for another year, featuring musicians from Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail in Southwest Virginia.
The State Fair also offers visitors an opportunity to earn blue-ribbon bragging rights in multiple arts and crafts, culinary and horticulture competitions. Each year, hundreds of participants enter the competitions and have their entries displayed during the fair, which contributes to the event’s mission of educating the public about agriculture.
“The experience is so rewarding,” says Traci Garland, a Richmond resident who has won 10 ribbons since entering her first culinary competition in 2016. “It’s amazing to go from picking the fruit with my family, to thinking up fun jam flavors, to entering in the competitions and sometimes even winning.”
Virginia agriculture is highlighted during the fair through equine and livestock exhibits and competitions, as well as giant produce competitions. The ever-popular Young MacDonald’s Farm will again return to Harvest Landing, where children can interact with farm animals and enjoy the duck slide, chick incubator and Goat Mountain.
The State Fair of Virginia: Sept. 23-Oct. 2, Meadow Event Park, Caroline County.
For ticket and entertainment information, visit statefairva.org. Additional live updates can be found by following the fair at Facebook.com/statefairva and Instagram at statefairva.