Agriculture gets extended focus at this year’s State Fair
Published 4:07 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022
Beyond the bright lights of the midway and the enticing aroma of fair foods, the spirit of the State Fair of Virginia is rooted in agriculture.
During the fair’s 10-day run, from Sept. 23 through Oct. 2, fairgoers can immerse themselves in Virginia agriculture and forestry through numerous attractions. From live animal competitions and exhibits to creative art and culinary contests that highlight Virginia-grown foods, the State Fair has agriculture connections for all ages.
A celebration of Virginia dairies
The fair will commence with a celebration of Virginia dairies through Dairy Days, Sept. 23-25. The dairy-themed weekend will help promote the Federation of Virginia Food Banks’ Milk for Good initiative.
In partnership with FVFB, The Dairy Alliance, the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association and the Dairy Club at Virginia Tech, the State Fair will offer dairy-related attractions in the Meadow Pavilion. It also will sell frosty milkshakes, with proceeds benefiting Milk for Good.
The fair’s Dairy Days will coincide with additional dairy programming, which includes competitions, calf births and milking demonstrations at the SouthLand Dairy Farmer Center and The Meadow’s livestock barns.
Exploring local farms
In the Meadow Pavilion, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which owns the State Fair, will host an educational display. Fairgoers can explore farms virtually in the Farm Tour Tractor Cab and learn about Virginia commodities at the Farm Product Kiosk.
A wide range of agricultural programming will be offered in the family-focused Harvest Landing area, including Young MacDonald’s Farm with the ever-popular sliding ducks, hatching chicks and other farm animals. Guests in this area also can participate in an agricultural trivia game during the giant pumpkin and watermelon weigh-off on Sept. 24.
Visitors can explore the horticulture tent, where the products of farms and home gardens are displayed, including crops like corn, tobacco and wheat. This also is where fairgoers can view the winning giant pumpkin, which in some years weighs over 1,000 pounds.
Live animals on display
Other attractions include the pigeon and dove tent, where visitors can see over 300 species of birds and learn about their homing abilities and other fun facts.
Youth will prepare to show cattle, goats, sheep and swine during livestock shows that are part of the State Fair Youth Scholarship Program, and fairgoers are encouraged to visit the Sale of Champions on the fair’s second Saturday. AgriScience, forestry, crop and farm equipment competitions are among other 4-H and FFA events.
The Natural Resources Area also will provide exciting lessons about Virginia’s aquatic species, reptiles and raptors.
In Heritage Village, guests can admire antique tractors, steam engines, home goods and tools, or enjoy demonstrations of centuries-old trades like blacksmithing, glass blowing, rope making and wool spinning.
Adults and youth can compete in the creative and culinary arts competitions, whose winning entries will be displayed throughout the fair. Creative arts entries are due Aug. 26, and culinary entries are due Sept. 2.
Online ticket sales begin Sept. 1. Visit StateFairVa.org to purchase tickets and to view details of the fair schedule, concert series and free entertainment.
The State Fair of Virginia is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The event celebrates the best of Virginia’s past, present and future through scholarship initiatives, creative programming and a focus on the commonwealth’s agriculture and natural resources industries. Virginia Farm Bureau Holding Corp. operates the fair and is a subsidiary of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.