County fair takes home state awards

Prince William County Fair officials brought home a plethora of awards from the Virginia Association of Fairs annual meeting and trade show this past weekend in Williamsburg.

The fair picked up five first-place awards in competition against other fairs from across the commonwealth as well as the top prize for having the most representatives present at the convention.

The fair was presented a plaque for winning in the following classifications:

— First place for best theme, Amoos Eweself

— First place for best radio advertisement.

— First place for T-shirt design.

— First place in newspaper advertising for a color ad that appeared in the Manassas Journal Messenger and Potomac News.

— First place for merchandizing/advertising for its logo appearing on Pepsi cans, aprons, shirts, etc.

The fair was also awarded second place for its poster promoting the event and third place for its brochure.

We entered eight of the 12 possible divisions and placed in seven of them, which made us very happy, said Randy Fox, the fair’s general manager.

Jim Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the board of directors of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions of Springfield, Mo., was the keynote speaker at the state convention hosted by the Williamsburg Lodge.

Tucker told the gathering that county fairs across the county and state fairs should look for large increases in their attendance this year.

I believe, following last Sept. 11 terrorists attacks, people across the country are going to want to come out and have some wholesome, hometown fun while meeting up with their friends and neighbors, and that is something only fairs can provide, said Tucker.

Kelly Liddington, state fair president, agreed, saying: Fairs have always been a unique part of the patchwork we consider community living. Whether you are from a small town with a little country fair or a large city with a spectacular show, our events provide a unique opportunity for the communities we share to come together for a short time, to share, to become one and to be part of something bigger than ourselves. The events of Sept. 11 will make this more desirable an outcome, even a necessity to some.

Fox said he plans to carry out the patriotic theme in this year’s 53rd annual fair. It will run Aug. 9-17 at the county fairgrounds, one mile south of Manassas on Va. 234.

Fox said the nine-day event will pretty much follow last year’s format — opening the first two days with a tractor and truck pull, followed by a country music night, demolition derbies on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, Grandparents Day and half-price day on Tuesday and rodeos the last two days.

We do plan new and different events throughout the grounds all during the time the fair is open, said Fox.

Fox said the $3 parking fee which was used last year will not be put back into effect this year.

He said a major emphasis will be put in promoting the fact that the daily admission price to the county fair is good for everything that takes place — from all the carnival rides to all the entertainment.

I was surprised to hear from many people that they didn’t know that everything except food and special purchases was included in the admission price … and as a result they weren’t using the rides or going to the grandstand shows, said Fox, who is in his seventh year as the fair’s general manager and is the vice president of the state association.

Staff writer Bennie Scarton Jr. can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 125.

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