TODAY'S NEWS

Rockingham County Fair kicks off next week

The Valley Banner

HARRISONBURG — Folks who have been to the Rockingham County Fair before will recognize the event that begins Monday.

But Pam Edwards said this year’s iteration of the agricultural fair will feature new events for people of all ages.

“There’s just a lot going on in a very fast-paced week, and I’m excited to see it,” Edwards, the new general manager of the Rockingham County Fair Association, said in an interview July 25. “I’ll be out all over the grounds watching to see how things are working and how it all comes together.”

The week-long fair kicks off Monday and runs through Aug. 19 featuring live music, carnival rides, food, livestock showing and more at the fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg off U.S. 11.

The changes start before the fair does.

Edwards said the ABC Horse Show, officially a prefair event, has been moved to Saturday from Sunday so the horses will be out of the barns before fair rides start arriving. The $45 entry fee allows riders to participate in as many classes as they want.

The fair is honoring its first president, the late Charlie Wampler Jr., by admitting people all day Monday for $1, the bill that features the nation’s first president, George Washington, instead of the standard $5 for those 13 and older and $2 for ages 6 to 12. In previous years, the Monday $1 admission was offered only until 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, which is youth day, children ages 3 to 8 can enter the stick horse competition. Children will be provided stick horses and allowed to ride around the arena at 4:30 p.m.Wednesday also is a day for culinary flair at the fair.

A cupcake-decorating contest is slated for three age groups that day. Children ages 8 to 11 who have registered will work on their designs beginning at 2 p.m., followed by 12- to 16-year-olds at 4 p.m. and ages 17 and older at 6 p.m.

An Eggs Ole’ contest also is scheduled for Wednesday, with participants bringing dishes to the fairgrounds between 6 and 7 p.m. for judging in the following hour.

The event, sponsored by the Virginia Egg Council, challenges contestants to create an egg dish with a Latin or Hispanic flavor but with a personal culinary twist.

Participants must register by Friday, and the first-, second- and third-place finishers qualify to compete in the contest on Oct. 7 at the State Fair of Virginia. Visit rockinghamcountyfair. com for details.

Crafting Introduction
This year, the Rockingham County Fair is partnering with the State Fair to try to get more winning entrants in the homemaking departments to take part in the state competition.

Steps will be taken to make it easier for winners to register at the state level.

“There are some people that go on to exhibit at the State Fair, but then some people who have won here didn’t know that their item could go on to the State Fair,” Edwards said. “It’s giving them the opportunity to get their item there, help them get their item on to the next level.”

The Activity Hall, she said, will offer opportunities throughout the week for children and adults to get an introduction to various crafting activities, such as pottery, embroidery and quilting. The hope is to provide handson exposure to an activity people might enjoy if they just tried it.

In addition to the rides, fair attendees will be able to play knockerball for an extra fee this year.

While most changes come in the form of entertainment and activities, some affect basic comfort.

A new map designed by Edwards’ 15-year-old son Jeff will help people navigate the grounds this year, and portable air conditioners will be placed in the Horticulture Building to lower the temperature in the metal structure.

“We’re working to make improvements to make it more comfortable for people to be in the facility to view all the exhibits,” Edwards said. The fair has flirted with the 100,000 attendance mark in recent years, and Edwards said she’d love to see the event finally reach that milestone. A lot of factors go into such a feat, though, so she’s been seeking divine intervention. “I’m already praying,” she said, “for 70-degree temperatures and sunny weather.”





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