Virginia State Fair breaks records, draws big crowds for tenth year in a row

Photo by Michel Maulding

Ada Romano
Contributing Writer

Featuring rides, competitions, food vendors and shows put together by people from all over the state, the annual State Fair of Virginia was held at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia for its tenth consecutive year.

Every year, contributors bring new attractions and break records. This year, Hank Houston of Thornburg broke records with his 254-pound watermelon.

With a culture that revolves around food, it is natural that the highlight of the fair was the variety of food vendors that participated this year. Lines circled around the food trucks as attendees waited to get their hands on anything and everything fried.

“You name it, they fry it,” said attendee Dan Trimm.

One item Trimm was excited to see on the menu was pretzel-wrapped hot dogs.

“I had never seen them before but they were a nice treat,” Trimm said.

People stood in line ready to order fair-favorite desserts including fried Oreo cookies and red velvet funnel cake from Wensil’s Concessions, which has been popular in years past and seemed to be in even more demand this year.

Arts and crafts competitions — a staple of the state fair for many years now — also made an appearance at the fair. Cheryl English, a director of arts and crafts for the fair, put together competitions and organized demonstrations this year, as she has for the past five years she has held the position. The event featured crafts such as knitting, painting and pottery, which is one of English’s favorite crafts. She also gathers judges for each competition.

“I’m dealing with over 100 judges and the demonstrations have increased a lot in the last five years so we always have something going on,” English said.

English has been crafting all her life so when asked to take the job as an arts and crafts director, she was more than happy to contribute to the event. Another art form English enjoyed seeing the fair — quilting.

“Quilting is very near and dear to my heart,” English said. “There are some beautiful quilts hanging up and that part for us is growing so it’ll be even bigger next year.”

English said young people really stood out this year because in the past, it was not something they heavily participated in. Their presence grew as more schools and youth were involved in submitting entries compared to previous years.

The entries for arts and crafts competitions start as early as June 1 every year, but English is aiming to have entries submitted further in advance because of the amount of time it takes to get some of the entries together for competition.

For more information about the State Fair of Virginia as well as how to participate, visit statefairva.org

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