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Caroline County Fair continues its growth
Volunteers, Sherwood Amusements keep the event healthy
By Robert and Lisa Limerick
The Caroline County Agricultural Fair was held July, 14 -18, 2010 at the Tate Family Farm in rural Caroline County, VA. Caroline is a small town situated on the outskirts of Richmond, VA and has majestic rolling hills, lots of agriculture, the military base Fort A.P. Hill and several major highways that run through the town. The fair has maintained its agricultural roots but expanded its popularity by adding a midway. The event is completely run by volunteers with major support from the local community, including surrounding businesses and restaurants.
The Caroline County Fair has a long history in Caroline County and was brought back to life in 1997 after 28 year hiatus. This year,s fair is the second year it is being held at its current location and the farm will be its permanent location going forward. The annual event was held in the past at a school and local flea market but the fair outgrew both locations. The fair now has 40 acres to use as their own and plenty of room to expand as needed.
Volunteers run every aspect of the fair including constructing two new buildings and a pavilion for this year,s fair. Construction for these buildings got started on April 22 and was finished just in time for the fair to open. Local businesses and private donors paid for everything on the property including buildings, the pavilion and air conditioning for the Home Goods building. A special fundraiser was held to "light up the fair" to provide electricity and lights to the Fairgrounds. Volunteers estimate that approximately ten-thousand guests attend the fair annually.
Sherwood Amusements of Maryland provided the midway for the fair, as they have in past years. Volunteers with the fair stated that Sherwood Amusements was a great company to work with and they were always very helpful and ready to work with the board to make the event a success.
Sherwood brought fifteen rides and several food and game trailers to the event. Some of the rides included the Expo Wheel, a trailer mounted Scrambler, Scooters, Paratroopers, Scat, and a Flying Bobs that many riders were enjoying. Some of the Kiddie rides were the Musical Chair Swings, Carrousel, the Flying High Planes, Hampton car ride and motorcycles, a Dragon Wagon, Castle Mania funhouse, Moon Bounce, and a unique combination of a Berry Go Round and a Spin the Apple.
The word agricultural in the event,s title isn,t just for show as the fairground was full of animals and plants. There was an animal barn where you could pet goats, calves, baby chickens, alpacas and a long horned steer. There was a game to guess the weight of a pig. The winner with the closest guess received a gift card to a local store and there also was a fan vote for most popular animal pen.
During the fair there were sheep, hog and cattle shows, with judging and ribbons awarded for several different categories for each of the three animal types. Another new event this year was Pig Racing by Southern Barnyard Runners. The little pigs ran hard to the finish line during each race and were rewarded with a delicious treat to "pig out" on. The Caroline County Humane Society hosted a dog show for all levels and breeds of dogs and the crowd all seemed to have a howling good time at the event.
A huge array of antique tractors were on display, ranging from old Allis-Chalmers to the ever-popular John Deere. There also was a large selection of newer tractors for the farming community to look at and possibly purchase. Tractors weren,t the only antiques being judged, there was also an antique car and truck show. Some of the vehicles included two 1950,s Chevrolet pickup trucks and a 1930,s model roadster.
Other fun events at the fair included a corn shucking contest for three different age groups including a group for one to three year old kids. Each contestant had to shuck the amount of corn designated for his or her age group and ribbons were awarded based on finishing order. There were rooster crowing and hog calling contests along with an American Idol style signing competition. The animals in the barns didn,t seem to appreciate the rooster crowing and hog calling as much as the audience. There was also a maze designed using planted crops and a pony ride. Both were guest favorites.
Saturday at the fair was very busy with a tractor and barrel race, a sanctioned pedal tractor pull, and a pie eating contest. During the event, a Red Velvet Cake baking contest was held, as well as an Oatmeal Cookie Baking Contest and other delicious home baked treats such as jams and jellies. The local Sheriff,s Department joined in the fun by participating in the dunking booth and since temperatures were reaching 100 degrees they probably enjoyed it.
A church service was hosted on Sunday Morning at the fairgrounds and all were invited to attend the service, hosted by Carmel Baptist Church.
The Caroline County Agricultural Fair grows a little each year with new thrills and events. The classic country fair theme, along with the modern day excitement of rides and games and a dedicated group of volunteers will likely help this fair last a long time for future Caroline County youngsters.