New owners pledge to hold Virginia state fair this fall
DOSWELL—The new owners of the State Fair of Virginia plan to put on the annual exhibition as scheduled four months from now.
That’s good news for anyone who supports Virginia agriculture and the history and heritage the fair represents, according to Wayne Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
Universal Fairs LLC of Tennessee bought the fair at auction on May 22 for $5.67 million including fees and commissions. The previous nonprofit owner of the Caroline County facility filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March.
“In recent weeks Farm Bureau has been in touch with a number of groups that were interested in purchasing the state fair property and assets,” Pryor said. “We have already begun discussions with representatives of Universal Fairs to gauge their interest in restoring the premier agricultural exposition of Virginia.”
Universal Fairs produces a number of exhibitions, including Georgia’s state fair.
An agreement reached May 21 allows for all scholarship money earned by youth exhibitors at previous State Fair of Virginia shows to be held in escrow for their benefit.
Pryor said the fair served to highlight the achievements of Virginia farm families. Fairgoer surveys in recent years found that 84 percent of attendees experienced animal agriculture at the event, and 72 percent toured general agriculture exhibits.
“Farm Bureau has been a key partner in those educational efforts over the years,” Pryor said. “The state fair’s unique combination of hands-on exhibits, animals and programs, nostalgia and family-friendly entertainment made it a perfect teaching tool for future generations to learn about farming. We’re certainly interested in continuing that relationship.”