October 05, 2014

"Our State Fair is the Best State Fair!"


"... Don't miss it! Don't even be late!"

These lyrics from Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair musical always weasel their way into my thoughts whenever I visit the State Fair of Virginia.  This year we actually were "late" to the fair as we did not visit until the very last day of its 2014 session.  But better late than not at all - and it was a gorgeous day at the fairgrounds!

Virginia's State Fair is held at the Meadow Event Park (you horse lovers ought to recognize it as being the farm where Triple Crown winner Secretariat was born and raised) just north of Richmond in Doswell.  A successful state fair experience requires only three ingredients: good weather, lots of carnival food and rides, and plenty of farm animals.  With hardly a cloud in the sky, sated with elephant ears and gyros, and more bunnies than hands to pet them with, our state fair experience was definitely a success!

We began our day with free samples of Virginia peanuts as we munched our way through the vendors and craft competition exhibits in the main event hall.  I was especially taken by the intricate quilt work and loved the second-place quilt featuring iconic symbols of France.  It certainly stirred up my travel fever again!

From belt buckles to bathroom remodeling vendors to political campaign tables and everything in between, there were plenty of temptations to lighten your wallet in that exhibit hall!

Next we satisfied our stomachs with some carnie food.  Throw your diets out the window!  From fried Oreos (or candy bars) to cotton candy to turkey legs, you have your pick of gastronomical poisons delights.  We chose a gyro, the Greek version of our beloved döners from Europe, as our lunch.  At the hefty price of $9 a piece, it was far from thrifty, but we were more than satisfied at how delicious and filling they were.

After lunch we checked out Rosaire's Royal Racers - a traveling show from Sarasota, Florida, featuring some fast (and not so fast!) racing pigs.  Even the most dour-faced person couldn't help but crack a smile over the pigs' names: Shake'n'Bacon, Miley Swine-us, Britney Spare-ribs, and Lindsay LoHam being chief among my favorites.  The first two heats of racers went by rather quickly, but the crowd favorite turned out to be the last one between the Asian Potbelly pigs.  While the first two races took less than 20 seconds, the potbelly race took several minutes as these 300 pound animals meandered lazily around the track!

From the racing pigs, we walked through all the carnival rides (choosing to abstain from trying any this time) and on to the animal tent.  Baby chicks, tiny ducklings, and three day old calves could all be found under one giant tent to make your "coos" and "awes" easy to do in one place.  Farm equipment, antique tractors, and the rabbit, pigeons, and chicken tents were all close by.  This year's pumpkin competition entries were also in the cow's tent, and the largest pumpkin set a state fair record at a whopping 1,203.2 pounds!


After a solid five hours at the fairgrounds, we were ready to call it a day.  The State Fair never seems to disappoint, and today’s experience was no exception.

Have you been to your state’s fair?  What’s your favorite part?

***


Linking up with other travel bloggers on the #SundayTraveler!


8 comments:

  1. Holy shit, that pumpkin! Like, how is that possible and how did they even get it there? So many questions for that farmer... I've yet to try fried oreo balls either, as a foodie, it's just never appealed to me. Although, I've never liked oreos haha. The gyro sounds great! Festival food is always super expensive, though right??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, yeah, fair food is almost always expensive! They've got a captive crowd so will ask for your soul in return for some greasy eats. :P

      Delete
  2. Hello pumpkin! What did they feed that damn thing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HGH? Haha, no idea, but it's humongous!

      Delete
  3. Wow pumpkin! That's massive! I'm always wanted to go to a state fair. They seem like it would be a lot of fun to explore. Canada doesn't really have anything equivalent I don't think...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, really? I'd never stopped to think whether state fairs were something purely American... maybe they are. You should check out one sometime! :D

      Delete
  4. That pumpkin is amazing! I have tried growing pumpkins. Once. Mine turned out tiny. No idea why. Never tried it again, though ;) And I love pumpkins!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! Our veggies have always turned out small. Oh, well - I'll leave the big stuff to the pros! :D

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.