Agriculture has nonstop presence at State Fair
From the moment the front gate opens on Sept. 28, Virginia agriculture will be in the spotlight at this year’s State Fair of Virginia.
Many popular agriculture exhibits will be easy to find in the fair’s Harvest Landing area north of state Route 30. They include the row crop plot, where fairgoers can see some of Virginia’s staple cash crops, like corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco, and the horticulture pavilion, where crops submitted for judging will be displayed. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day anyone can get answers to questions about agriculture from actual farmer volunteers at the Ask a Farmer station near the row crop plot.
Also in Harvest Landing is Young MacDonald’s farm, a perennial family favorite that features many kinds of farm animals and the iconic baby duck slide and chick incubator. Nearby is the Southland Dairy Pavilion, where visitors can try hand-milking cows and witness calf births. The giant watermelon and giant pumpkin competition weigh-ins will take place at noon on Sept. 29 in the Blue Ribbon Tent in Harvest Landing.
Also in the fair’s Harvest Landing, Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program staff will host Small Farm Day at the State Fair Oct. 2 at the fair’s larger VSU exhibit. Visitors can receive information on careers in agriculture and on the SFOP, which assists limited-resource, socially disadvantaged, military veteran and beginning farmers and ranchers.
At Virginia Farm Bureau’s booth in the Meadow Pavilion, fairgoers can use virtual reality glasses to experience farm surroundings close-up.
Agriculture is the primary focus of activities in the fair’s Livestock Loop, south of Route 30, closest to the Ticket Plaza. It will be the location of numerous livestock and equine shows over the fair’s 10-day run.
Livestock exhibitors will show beef and dairy cattle, dairy and meat goats, sheep and swine. On the evening of Oct. 6, the Sale of Champions fundraiser for the fair’s scholarship program will recognize youth exhibitors of the grand champion and reserve grand champion market steers, hogs, lambs and goats.
Equine events will include cowboy mounted shooting Sept. 28-30; a draft horse and mule show and pull Sept. 28 through Oct. 1; coon mule jumping Oct. 1; a Virginia Cowboys Association roping competition Oct. 2; the Northeast Virginia Dressage Schooling Show Oct. 3; professional rodeo Oct. 4; open and youth miniature horse shows Oct. 4 and 5; youth barrel racing Oct. 5; and high school rodeo Oct. 6 and 7.
Local farm-fresh foods will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the State Fair farmers’ market outside the Ticket Plaza.
A full fair schedule and ticket information are available at StateFairVa.org. The 2018 State Fair will run from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.