Could the State Fair return to RIR? - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Could the State Fair return to RIR?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond International Raceway hosted the State Fair for decades, and now they're open to bringing the fair back.

We confirmed today that the track's president is open to hosting the fair, if the right group comes forward to lead the charge.

"There's been a lot of discussion in the community about what's next and you know we've had a lot of questions here given our history with the State Fair and given the fact that it ran here for so many years," said Bickmeier.

It wouldn't be a first, the State Fair has opened at RIR before -- a fact that hasn't escaped many mourning the loss of the fair at The Meadow Event Park.

"I think it's familiar territory. I think people are comfortable coming here. It's maybe a little more centrally located," said Pamela Vaughan, a State Fair supporter.

"Talking to people over the last 48 hours, there's a lot of passion around the State Fair," said track president Dennis Bickmeier. "I think there's a lot of people that want to see some form of the State Fair continue." 

RIR says it would be willing to help bring the State Fair back.

"Would we be open or willing to having the state fair here?" said Bickmeier. "From a venue standpoint, from a facility standpoint, yeah we'd be open for those discussions."

Foremost, RIR says it would need some good business partners.

"The fair side of it, the games, the amusement, the agricultural side of it," said Bickmeier. "It's not our business so we would have to have some other willing partners to sit down at the table and then everyone put the best deals together."

And we spoke to a lot of people who say, they hope whether at Meadow Event Park or RIR, they hope a deal can be reached and the State Fair comes back.  

"You have to have a State Fair," said Debra Ledbetter, a fair supporter. "Where's your state pride? How are we going to show off all of our fabulous animals and plants and flowers and big pumpkins without one?"

"It's a tradition," added Patricia Hamilton. "It's one of our Virginia traditions. I mean we're the home of Presidents and everything."

And it's important to note, no one representing the fair has contacted RIR. They have heard from several community members interested in keeping the fair going.

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