The Virginia State Fair started Friday, predictably delivering us from the recent dry spell (it always rains during the State Fair). Despite the weather, Alison humored me by making a field trip to the Fair. Ever since I was a teenager,
I’ve been a fan of state fairs. Every state has its thing. Minnesota’s fair is famous for the
butter sculpture contest to celebrate its dairy industry.
Alison and I have attended the fair several times when our families were younger. You know how that goes: eating fried food
and stomaching endless rides
on the Midway. This time we wanted to visit the new location of the fair at The Meadow Event Park and experience the event through the eyes of The Gracious Posse’s mission, celebrating inspired living with practical style.
Location, Location, Location
A few years back the State Fair of Virginia relocated from the Richmond International Raceway complex in Henrico County to Meadow Farm, best known as the birthplace of Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973, in Caroline County north of RVA. At the time I thought the fair was going to a distant locale, and I’d never make the time to get to it again. How wrong I was. It’s a 25-minute ride up I-95 from my home in the city and has plenty of navigational signs to the entrance.
In addition, its rural farm setting provided ample, organized parking, and plenty of grassy areas and trees, a far cry from the asphalt jungle of RIR.
Something for Everyone
The State Fair of Virginia’s mission
is to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness, interest and education in Virginia through programs, exhibitions and competitions integral to the operation of the State Fair of Virginia.
And all those years ago I thought the fair was about eating, riding the rides and boy-watching!
Arts and Crafts
Alison and I headed straight for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition to check out the baking and crafting winners.
A youth competition called Literary Table Setting, where a book is interpreted into a tablescape and the main character is invited to lunch, wowed us. The winner was Moby Dick with
Call Me Ishmael as a place card! Truly an inventive and festive tablescape and an interesting thought for future book club meetings.
In the baking division a cold oven almond pound cake won the big prize. The winning baked goods are displayed a bit unceremoniously in a case, no doubt to protect them from the hungry masses! Now I’m trying to figure out if it’s possible to get our hands on the winning recipe.
The Horticulture Pavilion provided ample eye
Roosters, Rabbits and Cows Oh My
My favorite attractions at the fair are the animals. Alison indulged me as I teared up at the newborn bull, Torque,
a mere 8 hours old when I took his picture. We moved through the Livestock Pavilion, stopping to admire
these Kunekune pigs and Rosie,
a displaced-looking Texas Longhorn. Then it was on to the poultry and rabbits.
As I said, the State Fair of Virginia has something for everyone, like Pig Racing for the swine-inclined. Rosaire’s Royal Racers is a must-see for all ages. Sit under the big tent for 30 minutes, rest your little piggies and watch three types of pigs round the track. Ok, maybe pig racing isn’t all that gracious, but it sure was entertaining!
An unexpected surprise at the fair was the lush plantings of all sorts around the grounds. From gorgeous planters
the rural setting and Meadow Farm homestead
provided a photo-op at every turn. As we left Alison and I raved at what a lovely location the new Meadow Park setting was for our 146-year-old fair.
Our visit inspired Alison to make a batch of lFy‘s 1994 State Fair Winning Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1¼ cup raisins
- 2 t vanilla
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup regular sugar
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 2 t baking soda
- ½ t almond extract
- 2 cups uncooked oatmeal
- In a small bowl, combine eggs, raisins and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 1 at least one hour up to overnight.
- When you are ready to begin, preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease baking sheets. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Remove raisin mixture from fridge and stir in almond extract. Add to flour/butter mixture until well-combined.
- Add oatmeal and mix thoroughly. Dough will be stiff.
- Drop by rounded double tablespoons (I used a 1/8 cup cookie scoop) onto cookie sheets leaving room for cookies to spread. Bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool baked cookies on wire racks. Cookies harden as they cool.
- Approximately 3 dozen.
- Winner of the 1994 Cookie Contest at the State Fair of Virginia.
We are proud to share it with you, with lFy‘s blessing.
September 29, 2015