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Changes at this year’s State Fair of Virginia, which starts tomorrow at Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, will provide for a whole new experience for fair-


With a new owner—the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation—some older fair traditions will be brought back and new ones will be established.


“The footprint is going to be much larger than last year,” said Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

For the sixth year, it will be held at Meadow Event Park in Doswell.

The fair will be divided into four quadrants: Festival Loop, Midway Madness, Harvest Landing and the Equine and Livestock Complex.

For the first time, the equine and livestock exhibitions will be together, and more than 1,600 cows, goats, lambs and hogs will be on display.

There will be 4–H and Future Farmers of America competitions there, back after a one-year absence.

Competitions, held from Oct. 3–6, will include market and breeding shows for beef cattle, swine, sheep and goats. Students will compete for $100,000 in scholarship money.

The horse complex will have horse shows, including competitions and a professional rodeo Oct. 1–2 and a high school rodeo Oct. 5–6.

Festival Loop, located on the north side of State Route 30, will offer a slew of entertainment with two music stages featuring everything from acoustic folk and bluegrass to rap and rockabilly.

National acts this year include: John Anderson, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Casey Jones of “American Idol,” Back N Da Day, American Pride, Donna Meade with Four of a Kind, Jefferson Starship and Greg Bates. The Charlie Daniels Band plays on the fair’s last day.

There will also be a new music stage featuring Richmond and Fredericksburg-area bands.

Festival Loop will also have a demolition derby and almost all of the food vendors.

Harvest Landing will host family-friendly activities, including Young MacDonald’s Farm and the kidway.

The kidway will have rides that are better for the little ones. There’s also Heritage Village, which shows how technology has changed over time. The display is a tribute to agricultural heritage, with items such as a 1930s washing machine, early tractors and antique engines. It will be a re-creation of what farm life was like at the turn of the century.

At the birthing center inside Young MacDonald’s Farm, guests can witness the live birth of a calf. If watching a life birth isn’t your thing, there will be other baby animals on display, including baby chicks, ducks, pigs, sheep, alpacas and goats.

Over in Midway Madness, fair-goers can try out 55 rides. Tickets for individual rides can be purchased; wristbands that allow for unlimited rides are also available.

Brave folks can take a three-story jump off a building into a cushy airbag and hot air balloon rides will be available on the weekends for additional cost.


It wouldn’t be The State Fair without copious amounts of less-than-healthy food offerings.

Traditional favorites such as funnel cake, fried everything, turkey legs and barbecue will be there, along with new goodies, such as chocolate-covered bacon and Krispy Kreme sloppy Joe sandwiches.

There will be a Brunswick stew competition Saturday, and the Virginia Tech Block & Bridle Club will serve up barbecue, rib-eye sandwiches and roast beef.

A host of Virginia craft breweries will join the party this year on the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the fair. A local beer truck will feature Legend Brewing Co. and Strangeways of Richmond, Center of the Universe Brewing of Ashland, Starr Hill Brewery of Crozet and Bold Rock Hard Cider of Nellysford.


Entertainment is one of the biggest parts of the State Fair, and this year, there’s more music and more stages for fair-goers to rock out to.

National acts include:

7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, John Anderson

6:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Michelle Nixon & Drive

7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Darin and Brooke Aldridge

7 p.m. Sept. 29, Casey Jones

2 p.m. Sept. 30, USAF Heritage of America Band’s Blue Aces

7 p.m. Sept. 30, Back N Da Day

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 1, American Pride

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 2, 32nd Army Band’s Big Band and Pop Combo

7 p.m. Oct. 3, Donna Meade with Four of a Kind

7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Jefferson Starship

7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Greg Bates

7 p.m. Oct. 6, The Charlie Daniels Band

New this year, The Triple Crown Amphitheater will feature bands from the Richmond and Fredericksburg areas.

The bands from the Fredericksburg area performing are: David Palmer & Mike Milstead, Shakara Monique and Swamp Trash.

The bands will perform every day beginning at 11:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. until 8 p.m.


What: State Fair of Virginia

Where: The Meadow Event Park, Doswell. Parking at Meadow Event Park is free.

When: Friday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 6. Hours: Friday and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays through Thursdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: $12 for adult general admission (ages 13 and up) Monday through Thursday, $15 Friday through Sunday. $8 for youth (ages 5–12) and senior general admission Monday through Thursday; $10 Friday through Sunday. Children ages 4 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Single-day unlimited-ride wristbands are $21 each. On Oct. 1, fair-goers can purchase the unlimited-ride wristband for $12. Oct. 3 will be Dollar Thursday, when all rides will require a single ticket. Season passes will be available for $30 at the gate.


—Robyn Sidersky

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413 |