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Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.

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State Fair of Virginia announces slate of concerts

The State Fair of Virginia is just three weeks away and organizers have finalized their musical line-up and some other events.

This year’s concert series, which is included in the general fair admission price, features a mix of country and rock performers at the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

The 1970s British rock band Foghat, described as a boogie-rock group, will play on opening night, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m.

The Avalons, who have shared the stage with well-known artists such as the Beach Boys and the Temptations, will perform on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Country music singer and songwriter Dustin Lynch, whose debut single Cowboys and Angels hit the top of Billboard’s country charts, will take the stage at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30.

On Oct. 5, Grammy award-winning country group Diamond Rio will perform at 7:30. The band’s album “The Reason” won the 2011 Grammy for best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel album.

Love and Theft, a country music duo that sings and plays guitar, will perform at the fair on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The final day of the fair will include a performance by Season 10 American Idol standout Casey Abrams at 3 p.m. and country rock band Kentucky Headhunters at 7:30 p.m.

A new event at this year’s fair is a Stampede 5K, a run/walk that will benefit the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Fair officials said the statewide educational program provides teachers with resources they can use to teach children the importance of agriculture in the commonwealth and in their daily lives. That event will be held on the last day of the fair, Oct. 7.

On Oct. 3, fairgoers and interested Virginians statewide will be able to get a close-up look at life on six farms during the Real Virginia Virtual Farm Tour. The one-hour live webcast will be hosted at the Meadow Pavilion at the fair and broadcast at VaFarmBureau.org. It also will include a panel discussion on the issues and challenges faced by today’s farmers.

The fair will continue to feature some of its traditional favorites.

Schoolchildren will tour farming- and forestry-related exhibits such as Young MacDonald’s Farm, which includes the Dairy Calving Center, the Children’s Hand-Milking Corner, as well as beef cattle exhibits.

The poultry and rabbit tents, the displays of award-winning crops and the ever-popular giant pumpkins will also return.

Winning a blue ribbon at the State Fair is also a treasured tradition, and most of the public competitions are back, including those for fresh produce, honey, preserves, baked goods, sewing, needlework and photography. A Sept. 29 Brunswick stew competition also is set.

The entry deadline has been extended to Sept. 14 to allow greater participation. Links to entry forms and guidelines are available at StateFairVa.org/competitions, and participants can register online or by mail.

In recognition of The Meadow Event Park’s ties to thoroughbred racing superstars such as Secretariat and Riva Ridge, the 2012 fair will include equine events. Fair organizers are working with 4-H, the 1st Virginia Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association, the Virginia High School Rodeo Association, the Virginia Quarter Horse Association and the Virginia Reining Horse Association, among others, to offer a variety of horse-related shows and demonstrations.

Visitors to the fair can purchase tickets online at StateFairVa.org.

Admission prices range from $12 for ages 13 and older on weekdays to $15 on weekends. Children 5 to 12 will be admitted for $8 on weekdays and $10 on weekends. Children 4 and younger will be admitted free.

Admission does not include rides, but ride tickets will be available for purchase inside the fair, and a single-day unlimited ride wristband will be available for $21. A one-day Family Fun Pack for two adults and two youth admissions plus two unlimited ride wristbands is $68, and season passes will be available for $25. Parking is free.

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