Things Looking Bad for the County Fair this Year

The Albemarle County Fair can’t seem to find a suitable home, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Daily Progress, and odds are slim that they’ll be able to have a fair this year—or, indeed, ever, if they can’t find a place to hold it. For years it’s been held on Fred Scott’s land down in North Garden, at Bundoran Farm, but now that the property has been developed, that leaves fair organizers without a physical space to have the annual summer event.

Grandfather and Grandson on the Scrambler

A proper, agriculturally oriented county fair has a permanent home—a few sheds, some covered picnic shelters/performance venues, some administrative space, and a whole lot of relatively flat, open space for parking, games, rides, displays, etc. And that’s exactly what fair organizers are looking for, defining “permanent” as “20-plus years,” needing at least sixty acres. Although Biscuit Run is a distant possibility as a location, that’s far from a done deal.

Unless somebody steps forward ASAP, summer’s going to be rather less exciting this year, and a whole lot of 4-H kids are going to be mighty disappointed to have no place to show—and sell—the prize livestock that they’ve spent months raising expressly for the Albemarle County Fair.

19 thoughts on “Things Looking Bad for the County Fair this Year”

  1. The 4H kids will do ok. It’s a smallish group, probably less than 20 kids. Most Farms in the area would be willing to allow the 4H to hold a show for one Saturday in order to show and sell the animals. Most farms don’t want a full blown fair on their grounds for 3-4 weeks at a time.

  2. The Hook has an article about summer music festivals in the area. Two are in Albemarle County, both at Misty Mountain Camp Resort on 250W in Greenwood. It would be a shame if the public county fair is canceled while private music festivals go on.

    The CHO airport, always my favorite example of a public amenity that does not give back enough to the community, would be a good location. (To be brief, it gets a lot money from the ticket tax and seems to make up projects to spend the dough. I think it could fund public transit along 29N.)

  3. The Greene County Fair has the same issue. It’s also a volunteer organization and their lease is up, I think next year.

    At least there will be a Greene Fair this year, so come up!

    Colfer, CHO is an airport, they don’t have to give back to the community, that is not their purpose. They also don’t have sufficient land in a safe place for a fair.

  4. There are 14 different 4-H clubs in Charlottesville/Albemarle so there are more than 20 kids in 4-H.

  5. CHO should give back. It is not a private business. It is a subsidized, taxing authority. They have tons of land where they mow the grass every day on the street side. People that bored would appreciate a fair. Not to mention the Worrell airport next door, for a private place with even more land.

    A good analogy is the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Have you ever wondered why it has so many police cruisers and nice buildings and paint jobs on the bridge? It’s one bridge with its own police force! Well, it too has a dedicated revenue source.

  6. @cofer. Where do you suggest they place the fair in the city? The tons of land you speak of? And how much $$ of the budget do you feel is warranted?

  7. Sue & Waldo, You are both correct there are plenty of 4H groups in the area, but to my knowledge there is only one 4H Club dedicated to raising livestock. You can tell by that link Waldo put up, only one club is listed as a Livestock club. The others are Community Clubs (which can have members participate in the Livestock project)Horse, Naturalist, etc. In my original comment I was referring to the Livestock Club and their number has been generally less than 20 over the years.

  8. One last comment. In regards to location to hold the Fair; it would be a wonderful gesture on the part of Monticello to offer up a portion of Shadwell Farm over on 250 East near Pantops. That Farm has over 1,000 acres in it and to chop off 60-75 acres right next to Jarmens’ and the 64 interstate exits would send the right message to the community that Monticello cares about the agriculture roots of Albemarle County. That location would satisfy all the needs of the Fair and would meet the minimum requirements of sight distance for VDOT. If I’m not mistaken, the current Fair President is fairly well known to most of folks of TJMF.

  9. Sue & Waldo, You are both correct there are plenty of 4H groups in the area, but to my knowledge there is only one 4H Club dedicated to raising livestock.

    That’s an essential distinction that I was lacking. Thanks for explaining!

  10. Wherever the Dogwood Festival is held. I’ve never gone, only driven past, so I don’t know exactly where it gets set up.

  11. Dogwood Carnival is jammed between the two softball fields. Not sure it would ever be able to support a Co. Fair or livestock, despite the frequent sightings of wild animals at the Carnival…

  12. Mary, the County Fair has outgrown the Crozet Park. They did hold the Fair there for awhile in the late 80’s. But they have since grown to the point of it being a viable option.

  13. How ironic that a county that wants to keep 95% of its land mass rural can’t find anywhere to hold its county fair.

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