State Fair of Virginia now open in Caroline

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

CAROLINE, VA (WWBT) - A new era begins in a new place, for the State Fair of Virginia.

Its new home is Meadow Event Park, which is just a few miles away from Kings Dominion off Exit 98 on Interstate 95 in Caroline county.

For so many years, the fair took place, at the home of horsepower. Now, it's at the home of horses.

We asked some of the fairgoers to give us their take on the difference between the Richmond International Raceway Complex, and the Meadow Event Park.

The traditional emphasis on agriculture is now more clear on the famous horse farm. Fair organizers just have to hope getting around becomes that way, too.

Of all the things we saw going down on day one, it seemed unusual, that there were so many students. But this isn't exactly the fair we used to know, anyway.

Some 2,300 kids were part of a statewide Education Day that got them out of class, and into agriculture.

"They have a scavenger hunt, they learn things about agriculture and different things in the county, and  they also get to ride rides half a day and get out of school," said Donna, a student at the State Fair.

So the thrills of the midway, were just one small part of the experience.

"We come here in the morning around 6 a.m. and wash, feed, and then they just kinda...well...," said Vinnie Albin.

She and her friends are spending the weekend here, showing off cows. There's no other place, they'd rather be.

"I really like showing cows, it's a lot of fun," said Jessie.

"It's just fun to work with the animals and work on the farm and getting rewarded for something that you  put hard work and a lot of effort into," said Victoria.

Others favorites appear to be a bit more conventional.  The rides. The food. The lemonade.

But most would agree, this new era in fair-going beats the alternative.

"Studying is boring. Most of my classes that I have today are boring," said Micah.

"It is partly a learning tool for today but also fun," said Donna.

We've been following the State Fair's move to Caroline county and the progress of this project since it was announced.

At 20 miles north of Richmond and 30 miles south of Fredericksburg, State Fair officials are hoping to draw big crowds.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.