Explore the fun at the State Fair of Virginia
by Alice Kemp, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
There’s no shortage of things to do at the State Fair of Virginia. This year’s theme, “Your Fair, Your Way,” encourages guests to create their own exciting fair adventures.
The State Fair will be held Sept. 22 through Oct. 1 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The 10-day event will feature a thrilling mix of attractions, food, rides and exhibitions — all while honoring Virginia agriculture and natural resources.
“2023 is a celebration of the many ways fairgoers enjoy the event,” says Marlene Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “We wouldn’t be who we are today without our loyal fairgoers who create traditions and have their own approach to what makes their visit special.”
Among the experiences from which fairgoers can choose are new acts like Dan-Dan the Farmer Man’s comedy show and the Cast in Bronze bell carillon, a unique musical experience featuring the world’s largest and heaviest musical instrument.
“We continue to expand our grounds attractions and entertainment so guests can build their fair adventure the way they want,” Jolliffe says.
Returning crowd-pleasers include two nights of Revenge Roughstock Rodeo Company’s adrenaline-pumping professional bull riding, bronc riding and barrel racing, and families can root for their favorite speedy swine at the famed Rosaire’s Royal Racers track.
Master chainsaw carver Ben Risney will wow guests by sculpting logs into one-of-a-kind masterpieces, with some auctioned off to benefit the fair’s scholarship program.
The fair also showcases the best of Virginia, featuring hundreds of unique creations from talented Virginia artisans, cooks and crafters, with winning entries for baking, quilting, woodworking and metalsmithing displayed.
Families can visit Young MacDonald’s Farm on the fair’s south side to interact with farm animals and see the iconic duck slide and chick incubator. Guests also can experience hands-on farm fun at the petting zoo in Harvest Landing.
On the main stage, the fair will host a variety of performances for music lovers, starring Motown tribute Brencore Allstars Band, country legend John Anderson, new country artist Megan Moroney and more. The Crooked Road series also returns, featuring musicians from Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail in Southwest Virginia.
After exploring the grounds and taking a spin on carnival rides, indulge in fair food cravings from traditional funnel cakes and turkey legs to new treats like crabcake eggrolls and dessert turtle beignets.
Interested in feasting on local fare? Check out the fair’s first-ever “Taste of Virginia,” a ticketed event for sampling Virginia foods and beverages prepared by chefs in the historic Meadow Hall. Ticket proceeds will benefit the fair’s scholarship program and Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom.
And what would a fair be without a fun, educational peek into Virginia agriculture? Families can learn all about the state’s largest private business sector at the commodities pavilion; see gargantuan pumpkins, watermelons and squashes in the horticulture tent; and witness all kinds of equine and livestock exhibits and competitions.
Mark your calendar and make it a fair to remember.