Fun and excitement coming to the 2023 county fair

By Page H. Gifford

There will be plenty of fun, excitement, and activities at the 8th Annual Fluvanna County Fair, running from August 17-19 at Pleasant Grove Park. Fair Board President Wade Parrish and Director of Fluvanna Parks and Recreation are thrilled to offer a wide range of events for all ages this year.

Fluvanna was voted best county fair by state fair officials.

“Attendance has been increasing every year and we had 7,500-8,000 last year,” said Spitzer. There is no shortage of activities and events to satisfy fair goers including music to a rodeo, a carnival, a magic show, and more.

There are 2,000 fairs nationwide and all are attended by millions of people every year. A little-known fact is that county fairs have been around since ancient times when they were religious events with games, competitions, and festivities. 

By the 19th century, they became less religious when sheep farmer Elkanah Watson started the first county fair in 1807 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to promote better farming practices. The same format has remained throughout the centuries with some additions. As fairs spread throughout the U.S., they began to evolve with advanced technology, such as electricity, showcasing these innovations to residents in rural areas who were not able to travel to cities to see what was happening.

In later years, promoting farming and farming technology was the mainstay of most state and county fairs along with the addition of live music, carnivals, Vaudeville acts, and other entertainment.

Though farming remains the pillar of the Fluvanna County Fair, it continues to find other events and activities to engage the public and keep the tradition going. Fluvanna also has a way of combining its Old Farm Day with current fair offerings, piquing the interest of historians, and educating children about the way farming used to be and the hardships farmers endured. This all can be viewed on the last day of the fair at the farm museum.

Livestock is still the cornerstone of any county fair and the children from 4-H who participate in the livestock show are eligible to enter the state fair. The livestock show will be held every day during the fair and Saturday will be an auction of animals that were shown.

Home arts, including produce, flowers, canned goods, baked goods, fine arts, handmade crafts, and animal products are always a favored part of any county fair, showing off the talents and skills of local farmers, producers, bakers, and artisans.

“I want to thank one of our sponsors, C&K Sheds and Carports, for providing sheds for our Home Arts Exhibit,” said Spitzer. He also added that Modesto Farms provided flowers around the shed for an inviting atmosphere.

Music, a main staple of county fairs, will be present with three local bands. Grimson Current will play gospel and Christian rock, and The Worx and Cheap Whiskey Band will rock the last two nights.

The Virginia Giant Rides are back with their monster truck.

“That was a popular family event last year and booked up quickly,” said Spitzer. Meanwhile, Forest Pro is helping out by providing equipment for the Saturday Mini Excavator Challenge for ages18 plus. This is the 4th year for this popular adult event for amateurs or pros. Also, for adults is the Beer Garden, and new this year are the Axe Women, Loggers of Maine. This is a group of women not to be messed with as they show their logging skills with axes, chain saws, and trying to keep afloat while walking on spinning logs in the water.

For kids, there are always fun activities, including the bounce house and corn pit, a petting zoo, the barrel train ride, and magic with Wes Iseli, The Magic Man. Saturday will be the Power Wheels Derby for kids 4-10. Kids and adults will enjoy a ride on the mechanical bull before the rodeo. The rodeo features men bull riding, women doing barrel racing, and kids sheep riding.

Family fun continues with the Friday cornhole tournament. Teams can sign up for this fun event. Valley Amusements returns with its popular carnival and on Friday, Aug. 18, from 10 to noon, the carnival will be closed to the general public so those with special needs can enjoy the rides free of charge. This will include the elderly, veterans, children and adults with special needs.

Shuttle services will also be provided from parking areas to the fairgrounds. No pets allowed. To register for events or competitions, visit or contact Brendan Krett, at or call 434-589-2016.

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