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Fredericksburg Fair: Steeped in History

7/31/2013

By Lisa Limerick

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Since 1738, Fredericksburg Agricultural fairgoers have been gathering yearly to celebrate agriculture and fair manager Travis Bullock is serious about sharing the fair's history with everyone.  The event will be unveiling a new Fair Museum during this year's run.  It will recount a history that includes stock car and horse racing, Hot Air Balloon and Helicopter Rides and so much more.

Past, present and future will be represented during this year's fair with old faces as well as many new.  Past and present will walk hand in hand on Friday night, July 26 when the 60th Annual Miss Fredericksburg Fair Pageant is held.  Since 1953, young ladies from Fredericksburg and the surrounding communities have competed for the title of Miss Fredericksburg Fair.  Bob Williams has been the Master of Ceremonies for over 25 years and will continue with the duty this year.  To celebrate the 60th anniversary fair officials have planned a special celebration that will be held during the pageant.  There will be as many as 35 former winners attending the pageant including the first Miss 1953 Fredericksburg Fair Queen.  Also attending will be Nancy Matter Butzner and Michelle Matter Schmidt, queens from 1967 and 1972 and one of two sets of sisters to ever win the pageant.  The Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair is the proud home to 2010 Miss America winner Caressa Cameron who won the Fredericksburg pageant on the way to being crowned Miss America.  Six other pageants will be held throughout the week for age groups ranging from newborns to adults on the Fairway Stage. 

Other events and activities taking place on the Fairway Stage include Cooter's Garage Band led by Ben Jones who played Cooter the mechanic on the iconic Dukes of Hazard show.  Ben will be bringing the General Lee along so guests can get their pictures taken with a true American icon.  Virginia native Patsy Cline was lost in a plane crash far too early in her career, but thanks to the Patsy Cline Review her music lives on and will fill the air of the fairgrounds on Sunday, July 28.  Local radio DJ Denny More will show that he's not a one trick pony during several Comedy, Magic and Hypnosis shows on Tuesday and Thursday evening.  The Texaco Country Showdown returns this year to find the best singer in the area.  The winner will receive entry into a state contest that could lead to being on TV and earning a recording contract.  There will be two rounds of the Texaco Country Showdown held on Wednesday July 31 and Friday, August 2.  It gets hot at the fairgrounds and what better way to cool off then with some amazing beach music with local legend Steve Jarrell.

Since Fair Manager Travis Bullock took over the fair there have been a lot of new entertainment choices for fairgoers.  NoJoe's Clown Circus returns with their new "Tribute to Hollywood" theme and a new dog show.  Agricadabra returns for another year of entertaining kids and adults alike about agriculture.  Other activities include Hogway Speedway pig racing, Ackmonster's Chainsaw Artist creating beautiful sculptures out of wood and Rockin A Ranch is bringing an array of animals for visiting with and some are even available for petting and feeding.  Tom and Briget Kane are also brining animals to fill the Green Acres Barn.  Fowl, rabbits, cows, sheep, lambs, goats and probably a few pigs will be on display. 

Battlefield Kettle Corn, Benjamin's Barbeque, Apple Frankie's, Chic-Fil-A are all returning with their food stands but there are some new kids on the block also.  Doc's Pizza, which recently opened two new locations in the Fredericksburg area and has a menu that consists of pizza, wings, and breadsticks.  Coastal Cravings will have tuna and shrimp tacos, fried chicken, corn dog bites and other items to choose from. 
BLM Bull and Rodeo Company will host a rodeo at the Motorsports Park on Saturday August 3rd.  The Southern Experience Bull Riding Association will saddle up and take to the arena for bull riding, ladies barrel racing and crowd favorite Mutton Bustin for the kids.  Bulls that have been seen on the Pro Bull Riders TV events will buck off riders that are coming to Fredericksburg from all over the country to participate in a two round contest known as the long and short rounds. 

Gear heads and adrenaline junkies have two  Demolition Derbies returning this year on Wednesday, July 31 and Friday August 2.  A special tow class derby will put drivers from local towing companies on the spot and the Championship derby, taking place on Friday August 2 will have one winner taking home the grand prize of $1000.  Mud lovers will be celebrating the annual Mud Bog on Sunday August 4 which is being held by Mountain View Mudders.  The Stafford Ruritan Club will be hosting their annual Truck and Tractor Pull on Saturday, July 27.  A long running tradition at the fair with six classes and this year they have added a special appearance by local monster truck driver Maxi Broaddus and his truck Walking Tall.  Broaddus and Walking Tall will be doing a demonstration during the event.  New events at the Motorsports Park this year will include the Zach Dipaolo FMX Freestyle MX Show.  The show will have unbelievable hi-flying flipping, twirling dirt bikes.  Sand Dragsters will open the events at the Motorsports Park on Friday, July 26.  Sand drag racing has been around for a long time but it is now growing in popularity.  The machines are a mix between a motorcycle and snowmobile and can go up to 100 mph with specially made tires on the back.  Drivers are coming from all over the country to compete in the event in its inaugural run at the Fredericksburg Fair.  David Harrell stated that this is a "good family fun thing"..

The fair wouldn't be complete without a whole field of shiny, bright-colored, spinning and twirling rides.  Deggeller Attractions is celebrating its 20th year with the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair.  Deggeller is known for having dependable equipment at the Fredericksburg Fair since 1993.  This year's ride lineup includes the Haunted Mansion, Scooters, Big Wheel, Super Shot Windsurfer, Viper and many more including many kiddie rides. 

The Fredericksburg Community has deep roots when it comes to the Military.  Organizers of the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair have put together Military Appreciation Day starting at 9 am on Saturday July 27.  There will be guest speakers from all five branches of the military, a flyover salute by the Bealton Flying Circus War Birds, military vehicles and a special thanks by City Councilman Matt Kelly and the Fair President Wendy Jones.  Retired and active military personnel will be admitted free with ID. 

Radley Chevrolet, GEICO, Cox and Grave Auction Company, Home Paramount Pest Control and Safford Fiat of Fredericksburg are all proud sponsors of the 2013 Fredericksburg Agriculture Fair.

Future plans at the fairgrounds call for a new pavilion to be built along with new bathrooms.  Several buildings will be demolished to add space for the upgrade.  With the addition of a handicap bathroom in the Homemaking Building this year along with upgrades that have been made over the last five years the plans to brighten the area and maximize space are well under way.  With the right people in place and the future plans taking shape the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair will hope to be around for another 275 years.

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