Family-friendly festival focuses on agricultural education, fun
by Kathy Dixon, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
At the annual Virginia Farm Festival, you can marvel over a fluffy alpaca; delight in an antique tractor show; and learn how garden crops grow.
The family-friendly festival will return May 5 and 6 for a third year at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. It will feature several of the State Fair of Virginia’s most popular family attractions, including Young MacDonald’s Farm with animals like alpacas, chickens, goats and pigs. It also will include cow milking demonstrations by SouthLand Dairy.
Educational field trips for school groups will be offered on May 5 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The festival opens Friday to the public at 3 p.m. and will close at 10 p.m. On Saturday, the festival will be open to everyone from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
This year the event will be held in and around the 63,354-square-foot Farm Bureau Center to protect guests from inclement weather.
“The past two years have presented us with weather challenges, so we thought it best to take advantage of the covered space the Farm Bureau Center provides,” explains Marlene Jolliffe, executive director of the State Fair. Guests will be able to park in a lot right behind the center, and have the option of enjoying indoor and outdoor activities.
Both days will feature a mix of food, beverages, retail vendors, agriculture-focused activities and musical entertainment. The festival aims to highlight the planting season in Virginia in advance of celebrating the harvest season during the State Fair, from Sept. 22 through Oct. 1.
“The Virginia Farm Festival is an entertaining event, but it also expands our mission of promoting agricultural education that we typically reserve for the State Fair,” Jolliffe notes. “This is a good blend of fun and agricultural education. We want visitors to recognize that the fair food they enjoy every year originated on a farm.”
Sarah Jane Thomsen, agriculture education manager for the fair, added that they are excited to kick off this year’s festival with educational field trips. “They are a great way to increase our agricultural outreach to school students who may have no other exposure to farming.”
During the festival, visitors can see farm animals, explore how food travels from farm to fork, play in an AGtivity zone, savor some fair food favorites and watch live entertainment, including a classic demolition derby and an antique farm and garden tractor parade on Saturday afternoon.
There also will be exhibits from a variety of agricultural commodity groups, and pony rides for children. Adults can enjoy assorted beverages while listening to musical entertainment on both evenings.
TICKETS GO ON SALE APRIL 3.
For more, visit virginiafarmfestival.org.