The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Fair has charms for young and old
MORE PICTURES: Day 2 at the Fredericksburg Fair
BY Liana Bayne
The Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair got off to a hot start last night.
With Friday night’s temperature at 94 degrees when the gates opened at 5 p.m., many people didn’t go out until later in the evening. The fairgrounds began filling up closer to 6:30.
But for those who were at the fair last night, there were lots of fun activities to check out.
The fair is broken up roughly into different zones: agricultural competitions and shows, vendors (food and services), traditional carnival rides and an area for vehicle exhibitions.
On Friday night, two of the big headliners were the tractor pull and the Miss Fredericksburg competition.
The tractor pull attracted many families, like the McEathron family of Orange.
Mom Donna, dad Danny and 10-year-old son Destin were anxiously waiting for the tractor pull to begin. A little rain had fallen earlier, but the pull was still set to happen.
“We always come to the fair,” Donna McEathron said.
She said her son’s favorite things are the motor vehicle exhibitions, like the tractor pull. The fair this year will also have a truck pull today, a monster truck show Sunday, a demolition derby on Wednesday and another on Friday and a mud bog next Saturday.
“We just like to walk and see everything,” she said.
People-watching is arguably one of the best parts of the fair, according to rising Stafford High School ninth-grader Karly Gordon.
Karly was at the fair with her friend, Meredith Laray, also a rising ninth-grader at Stafford.
“It’s fun to watch things like the tractor pulls and the pig races,” Meredith said.
I also really like to walk around and just watch people.”
The girls said they come every year with their friends. They normally attend multiple days. Karly estimated they’d go four times in the next week.
And while some folks go to the fair to see the sights, others are participating in the many exhibits and shows.
Ashley Hester won the crown title of Miss Fredericksburg last night. The pageant is for women ages 18–22.
This year there are 149 girls and six boys participating in the various pageants, held today and Sunday. Most of them are babies and younger children.
Last year’s Miss Fredericksburg, 21-year-old Allyson Gallimore, said she loves the pageants because “I love meeting all the girls.”
“I’ve made some lifelong friends here,” she said.
Mary Cooper and Kim Updyke have been co-directing the pageants for the past 10 years.
“We work to instill confidence in them,” Updyke said. “It’s a positive environment.”
“I’m proud of them,” she said.
And while some girls were putting on their makeup, others were out getting dirty with their livestock.
Nine-year-old twins Caroline and Elizabeth Ott of Fauquier County were making sure their family’s cows were cleaned up and ready to show.
The girls were carefully bathing one of the 12 cows their family brought to the fair. They hosed her off with a garden hose, and put laundry detergent onto particularly dirty areas, scrubbing the cow with plastic brushes.
Their dad, Morgan Ott, owns Marshfield Holsteins in Fauquier. He has two daughters, who are 17 and 15, as well as Caroline and Elizabeth.
“Kids with cows are great,” he said. “You know where they are, and at the end of the day they’re generally too tired to get in trouble.”
Ott said his family had also brought 10 pigs to the fair.
He participated in the show and fair in Fauquier in May, so he and his girls won’t be selling any of his cows in Wednesday night’s junior livestock sale.
“I hope it goes well, though,” he said about the sale. “It’s good for the kids.”
Shelby Murrell, a rising fifth-grader at Hartwood Elementary School in Stafford, is another 4H-er showing for the first time this year.
She was hanging out with her 5-month-old pig, Porky. He was lying down in the shade in his pen to try to escape the heat.
“I like to do the showmanship of 4H,” Shelby said.
Her family has horses, sheep and chickens, too, but her favorite animals are the pigs.
“I love pigs, even though they stink,” she said.
Along with livestock on display for people to look at during the different shows and in barns in down time, an indoor building houses competitions like a flower show and a cupcake competition.
And if you want to know more about your garden, visit July Little at the Master Gardeners Association of the Central Rappahannock Area’s table.
“It’s educational,” Little said. “We answer people’s questions about their gardens.”
The fair also features, of course, iconic food like funnel cake and corn dogs. There’s also an on-site Pizza Hut and KFC, as well as Italian ice, barbecue and more.
Barbara and Thomas Holladay of Stafford wanted to relax and enjoy an old-fashioned American kind of date night, and they found just that at the fair. Even though they didn’t bring their grandkids out with them, they still had a great time.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the pageant, and the food was great,” Barbara Holladay said. “The mood just struck us.”
If the mood strikes you tomorrow, gates will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Highlights on tomorrow’s schedule include pig racing; the Hansen family’s acrobatic show; NOJOE the Clown’s circus; the Tiny Miss, Little Miss and Pre-Teen Miss Fredericksburg competitions; the junior livestock showing and junior dairy cattle show; a fiddle contest and a seed-spitting contest; a truck pull; and a concert from local band Home Grown. Tickets are $7 at the gate.
Liana Bayne: 540/374-5444