State Fair of Virginia kicks off on September 23

Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 5:58 PM EDT
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This Friday, September 23rd, the State Fair of Virginia will begin its 10-day run at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, running through October 2.

The fair will open at 10 a.m. each morning and the Midway, sponsored by Virginia Lottery, and the Kidway, sponsored by Virginia College Savings Plan, will both open at 11 a.m.


The State Fair is offering a program for any individual to purchase an advance ticket through their website (found in the Related Links section) or at participating Walgreens locations in Virginia.

These tickets save time and money, but September 23 is the last day they can be bought.

But what benefit do they provide? The fair Ticket Plaza will feature a new express lane specifically for anyone who has purchased an advance ticket. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth 5-12 and seniors 60 and older. They can be used any day during the fair. Children 4 and younger will be admitted free. Season passes are available online for $40 through Sept. 20.


For families who want to enjoy prime parking, the new combo ticket—good Saturdays and Sundays—includes an up-close parking space and quicker access to all the fun. A limited number of combo tickets will be sold for $25 in advance only and will include one adult admission and parking near Harvest Landing on the north side of state Route 30. Other vehicle occupants must have advance admission tickets as well.


On Sept. 23, fairgoers who donate five cans of Food Lion branded product will receive a coupon off the $15 adult admission or the $11 youth and senior admission. All donated food will benefit FeedMore.


Rides are not included in fair admission, but ticket-buyers can save $5 online and at participating Walgreens on advance-purchase vouchers for Unlimited Ride Wristbands. Advance wristbands are $20. Richmond-area Food Lion stores are offering coupons good for $5 off the purchase of a weekday Unlimited Ride Wristband, good Monday through Friday.


Parking at The Meadow is free, and Ford-sponsored parking lot trams will be running in Lots A and C to help customers get to and from their vehicles. Look for Ford Tram stops designated with small tents and flags. Fair officials advise guests to note the numbered sign nearest their vehicles so they can find their way back easily. It’s not a bad idea to take a cell phone photo of the sign nearest before proceeding to the Ticket Plaza, just for reference later.

In the portion of the fair on the north side of state Route 30, customers can use guest service carts to shuttle between designated stops.

Guests will be able to rent wheelchairs, motorized scooters and single and double strollers outside the Ticket Plaza on a first come, first served basis. Chair rentals and a personal chair check station will be available near the Festival Stage, and guests are welcome to bring blankets as well to enjoy musical performances from the lawn outside Meadow Hall.

Handwashing stations will be strategically located throughout the property. The State Fair recommends washing hands after leaving an animal or Midway area and before eating or drinking.


Ticket plaza and building/exhibit hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and Monday through Thursday. Rides will operate for at least one hour after the ticket plaza closes.

General admission includes access to all concerts, performances, exhibits and demonstrations. Ride tickets and single-day unlimited-ride wristbands will be available for purchase at Ride Ticket Booths in the Midway and Kidway areas. Requirements for rides and some attractions include height, weight and whether a child must be accompanied by an adult. Those requirements will be displayed at each ride and attraction, as well as at the Midway Customer Service booth.

There are three travel routes to The Meadow Event Park, which is in southern Caroline County. The most common is taking Interstate 95 to Exit 98 (Doswell) and traveling 1½ miles east on state Route 30. If traffic is heavy, drivers can take U.S. Route 301 to state Route 30 and travel about 3 miles west. The third option is to take U.S. Route 1 to state Route 30 and travel about 2 miles east.

Virginia State Police will be on site to help ensure an efficient flow of traffic at all points of entry and exit.


Returning this year is the State Fair of Virginia app, which can help fairgoers find their favorite foods and events. The free iPhone- and Android-compatible app is available from the App Store and Google Play.

Visitors also can access daily fair schedules at or pick up a 10-day schedule and map upon arrival at the Ticket Plaza.

“We’ve made every effort to put the kind of information online that fairgoers need when planning a visit,” said Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “It’s also important to think about items that will help make your day more enjoyable. Those include comfortable clothes and shoes that take the weather into account, hats and sunscreen—especially important for children—and any personal medications you might need over the course of your day. It’s not a bad idea to have warmer clothing or rain gear in the car, too, just in case. Guests who get a hand stamp will be able to leave the fair to go back to their vehicles, and then re-enter.”


The State Fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The fair’s mission is to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness and interest through educational programs, exhibitions and competitions in a fun, family-friendly setting.


All information provided by the State Fair of Virginia | The Meadow Event Park | 13111 Dawn Blvd. | Doswell | VA | 23047