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County fairWhile area farmers revived the Fluvanna County Fair in 2014 so 4-H kids would have a local place to show their animals in the summer, there is so much more than animals at the upcoming county fair.

The fair runs from Wednesday through Saturday (Aug. 16-19) at Pleasant Grove Park on Route 53. Gates open Wednesday with a carnival. Attendance is free, but tickets to ride are a dollar apiece.

Thursday, children 18 and under get in free. Friday and Saturday admission is $2 per person and children two and under are free, said fair treasurer Channing Snoddy.
There is something for everyone:

  • High school pep rally – Thursday;
  • Wing eating contest – Thursday;
  • Hot air balloon and helicopter rides – Thursday and Friday;
  • Antique tractor pull – Friday;
  • Equine trials and obstacle challenge – Saturday;
  • 4-H livestock sale – Saturday;
  • Jalapeño eating contest – Saturday;
  • Rodeo – Saturday;
  • Live music – throughout; and
  • Home arts display and competition – throughout.

There will be plenty of entertainment for small children. Besides inflatable play areas, many vendors such as the Fluvanna Master Gardeners have activities for little ones. Don’t forget cotton candy, balloons and the chance to pet animals.

It takes a host of volunteers and support from local businesses to put on the fair.

“The antique tractor pull and rodeo alone cost thousands to bring in and attending those costs an extra fee,” Snoddy said. “We have to charge at the gate, because if you go in the red you can’t keep having a fair.”
4-H members used to show their animals in October at Old Farm Day. But it usually fell on the same weekend as the state fair, which meant the members couldn’t participate in both, Snoddy said.
A few years ago a group of farmers, 4-H participants and extension agents got together and decided to revive the county fair and hold it in August.

Kim Mayo, Fluvanna’s extension agent in charge of all things 4-H, said one of the best things about the fair is giving kids a chance to show off their projects to locals.
But it’s so much more.

“Besides animal husbandry, they learn communication, record-keeping and goal-setting,” she said. “The fair gives them the opportunity to engage with the public and answer questions. There’s nothing like seeing how their faces light up when someone enquires about their project.”

With that experience under their belt, students who want to show at the state fair are better prepared, she said.

It’s not just Fluvanna 4-H members who show their projects. Snoddy said last year kids from Louisa, Albemarle, Goochland and Powhatan competed.

Some will auction off their animals. That starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

For complete schedules, times and additional information about the entertainment line-up, competitions, shows and displays, see the fair advertisement on page 4 of this issue.