Manassas Journal Messenger | ARTS: Fair games

The gates swing open Friday for the 54th annual Prince William County Fair.

The farm classic will run for nine days, closing out on Aug. 16 at the fairgrounds, a mile south of Manassas on Va. 234. Upwards of 100,000 spectators are expected to pass through the turnstiles before the curtains come down on the event.

The fair’s one-price admission includes parking, unlimited rides on the midway, nightly grandstand shows, livestock and crafts, special entertainment and commercial exhibit displays.

Sponsored by the Prince William Veterans Farm Club, the fair began more than a half-century ago by a group of young veterans returning from World War II who wanted to promote the agriculture industry in the county. Their dream started when they sponsored a dairy show on Sept. 10, 1949. Although done on a small scale, it was the beginning of what is now the county fair.

The farm club was incorporated in 1971 and the veterans who volunteered their time laid the foundation for what is currently Virginia’s largest county fair.

The fair has been at its present location since 1956 and keeps expanding and adding new features each year.

The theme of the year’s event is “Farm Fresh Fun!”

The nightly grandstand show on the opening two nights will be a tractor and truck pull. Sunday is country music night with Dustin Williams and Joe Nichols providing the entertainment.

There will be three nights of demolition derbies on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Tuesday will be a garden tractor pull and grandparents contest. A rodeo will be held on the fair’s final two days.

Special daily attractions will be the Elephant
Encounters, Dodge City NASCAR Simulator and Ocean in Motion Aquarium.

Local acts in the entertainment tent will include Hot 99.5 Dance Party on Friday; Oldies 100 Night on Saturday; bluegrass music, featuring the Walnut Ridge Boys, on Sunday; an Elvis tribute on Monday and Wednesday nights; WAVA Night on Tuesday; Easy Street on Aug. 14; Glen Shelton on Aug. 15; and Oldies 199 Night with 2nd Conspiracy on Aug. 16.

Visitors can also visit the barns where all types of livestock will be displayed as well as the Home Arts building, which houses crafts, flowers, baked goods and farm produce. The commercial building, inside and outside, will host more than 100 exhibitors.

They can also stroll the Deggeller Attractions midway, eat a variety of foods, tour the children’s barn, take in a baby contest, watch dairy cows being milked, pet farm animals and watch the judging of livestock and children’s pets.

“We think we have something for everyone who comes to the fair and we believe this year’s event will be one of the best fairs in its long history,” said Keith Johnson, general manager. “It’s a place where we can recapture what is a part of our American tradition and we strive to make this the best value in the metropolitan area.”

Staff writer Bennie Scarton Jr. can be reached at (703) 369-6707.

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