State Fair of Virginia Packs in the Fun for Families

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    With its mission to to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness and interest through educational programs, exhibitions, and competitions in a fun, family-friendly setting, the State Fair of Virginia is the family destination this fall.

    The State Fair Concert Series offers ten days of Virginia-based, toe-tapping, fist-pumping, dance-till-you-drop fun. Celebrate the best music of the commonwealth; everything from country, seventies smooth jams, eighties hard rock, and the best bluegrass the Old Dominion has to offer.

    Heritage Village transports guests to a different time in Virginia history. This year, in addition to historical reenactments, displays and artifacts, guests will also be able to enjoy acoustic music to aid in their time travel. Throughout the Fair, the talents of Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham-Whitetop Mountaineers, Ron Mullennex, Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, Sandy Shortridge and Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves will delight crowds while performing in Heritage Village. All of these artists are have regular gigs on The Crooked Road Music Trail in southwestern Virginia.

    The State Fair Rodeo, sponsored by the Virginia Horse Festival, bucks into town October 5 and 6. Hold on tight for the ride of your life. It’s a fair tradition, so don’t miss this one-of-a-kind experience.

    And back by popular demand, the Demolition Derby crashes into the State Fair. New this year, tiny crashers will get the excitement started with the Power Wheels Derby on October 7. The Double Figure 8 Demo Derby will have qualifying on October 7, culminating in the championship on October 8.

    There are a few changes this year’s Fair. First, there is premium parking available ($10, general admission parking is still free, with trams running back and forth from the lots to the entrance). In Harvest Landing, the Kidway children’s amusement feature has been moved to a spacious asphalt area, in response to fairgoers who said the previous gravel area became muddy after rain and made maneuvering strollers a challenge.

    “Kidway is still in Harvest Landing and conveniently located with other family-friendly agricultural education displays and events,” said Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, executive director of the State Fair of Virginia. “We feel confident that parents will be pleased with the new location.” The larger Midway Madness has been relocated to the Festival Loop area, which gives customers a much shorter distance to walk and better access to food concessions and entertainment.

    Also new this year, the Virginia Blue Ribbon Craft Beer Fest will take place October 6 through 8 and will celebrate Virginia’s craft beers and the ingredients used to make them. The event will give beer enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy unlimited tastings of craft beer from more than thirty independent Virginia craft breweries. Ticketholders also will get to meet the brewers and brewery owners, as well as enjoy music, food, and all the events on tap during the State Fair. Participating breweries will include independent, small, commercial breweries, including farm breweries. Each will offer a sessionable beer and one of their flagship brews. Malt, honey and hops producers from Virginia also will be part of the event, highlighting beer’s direct tie to agriculture. Ticketholders will be able to learn how brewers develop distinctive flavors, the ingredients they use and the passion they put into every ounce of their products.

    Those attending the Blue Ribbon Craft Beer Fest on October 6 also can attend a farm-to-fork dinner, Barn Appetit which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a delicious meal in Meadow Hall featuring locally sourced foods and craft libations. The dinner will include the debut of Lickinghole Creek Brewery’s second Secretariat-themed brew, Tremendous Machine. The bourbon barrel imperial stout is named after Secretariat’s powerful victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, which clinched the Triple Crown. Tickets to this event include admission to the Fair and a ride on the Ferris wheel. Admission to the Craft Beer Fest is separate.

    The Blue Ribbon Craft Beer Fest will run from 2 to 7 p.m. October 6 through 8. Tickets are $15 per person and must accompany an admission ticket to the State Fair. Tickets can be purchased at blueribboncraftbeerfest.eventbrite.com.

     

    If You Go:

    Held each fall at its permanent home at the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, the Fair opens at 10 a.m. each day except for Midway Madness and the Kidway, which open at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available at area Walgreens, online at StateFairVa.org, or at the Fair. Adult admission (ages 13-59) is $15, kids ages 5-12 are $11, kids 4 and under are free with a paid adult, seniors (60+) are $11, and military admission (must show valid military ID, does not include others in party) is $11. An unlimited ride wristband is $25, or individual ride tickets are $1 each (most rides are in the 4 ticket range). General admission includes access to all concerts, performances, exhibits and demonstrations. Ride tickets and single-day unlimited-ride wristbands are available for purchase at Ride Ticket Booths in the Midway and Kidway areas. Requirements for rides and some attractions include height, weight and whether a child must be accompanied by an adult. Those requirements are displayed at each ride and attraction, as well as at the Midway Customer Service booth.

    Guests can rent wheelchairs, motorized scooters and single and double strollers outside the Ticket Plaza on a first come, first served basis. Chair rentals and a personal chair check station will be available near the main stage, and guests are welcome to bring blankets as well to enjoy musical performances from the lawn outside Meadow Hall.