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Event-packed eight-day Shenandoah County Fair offers fun, food, entertainment

The 101st annual Shenandoah County Fair will cover eight days this year from Saturday, Aug. 25 to Sunday, Sept. 2, with a familiar panoply of crowd- pleasing events that help make it the valley’s largest and most popular fair.

“It is one of the last family fun activities of the summer,” said Tom Eschelman, general manager of the fair, adding that it helps support local nonprofit charitable organizations and 4-H and FFA clubs.

A week before the Woodstock-based fairgrounds open, the Miss Shenandoah County Fair Scholarship Pageant will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, at Central High School covering seven age categories.

Fair highlights include:

With free admission opening day Aug.  25, there will be a morning tractor pull and in the evening an admissio-charged, modified track and tractor pull. No rides or exhibits will be open this day.

The following day Cole Shows Amusements returns with a carousel and more than a dozen kiddie rides and 22 adult rides including a new Funnel Force centrifugal swing ride and the “scary” 2.5-minute Zipper ride. Riders must be 36 inches tall.

On various days, foodies can gorge at eating contests: spaghetti, BBQ wings, nachos, chili dogs, donuts and a brain freeze with a cold slushy drink or mega snow cones. More than a dozen food vendors will populate the fairgrounds.

The wooden nickel lunch is back for $5 and if the nickel is returned before 1:30 p.m., the $5 is returned.

Starting on Sunday, Aug. 26, there will be daily 4-H livestock educational shows and competitions.

Last year the fair had over 4,000 entries in the various livestock, home arts and horticulture departments.

“A lot of our entries are up this year and we are looking good,” said Carol Nansel, of the 4-H extension for Shenandoah County who has helped with 34 county fairs.

“I hope we have enough stall space to get everything in,” she said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

Barns are open daily and visitors can see animals to be shown – beef, swine, sheep, goats and dairy.

Nansel estimates there will by 125-130 exhibitors and for market 28 steers, 28 cattle, 108 market lambs, 59 market hogs and 110 market goats.

Breeding cattle animals total 30 heifers, two bulls and three pairs of cow and calf. Breeding sheep include 44 ewes and 13 ram lambs; for goats 33 breeding does and for hogs eight breeding gilts.

Two demolition derbies will be held and three successive nights of grandstand concerts will showcase country, Christian and legacy rock music in that order beginning Thursday night, Aug. 30.

They begin with the Charlie Daniels Band, then 10th Avenue North with opening by Zach Williams, and conclude Saturday, Sept. 1, with bands Great White and KIX, which is from Hagerstown, Maryland.

An internationally acclaimed dog Frisbee show will perform two free shows daily beginning Monday, Aug. 27, and there are four days of harness racing – no betting allowed.

Under the grandstand on racing days there will be arts and crafts/crops/poultry/rabbit exhibits and on all days an antique post card exhibit.

There are kid’s sctivities daily with inflatable bounce houses, face painting, crafts and carnival games at the music tent, where various bands will play daily. Kids Kernal Korn Tent also has a play area.

A greased pig contest (billed as Virginia’s largest pig scramble) always brings cheers and laughter from onlookers and will be held Tuesday, Aug. 28.

There is a seniors rest-home breakfast, a Children’s Day, an all-day tribute to military veterans and a “My Fair Ladies” luncheon.

Fair brochures are distributed throughout the Shenandoah Valley to visitor centers, convenience stores, local shops, etc. Tickets for the fair and various fair events can be purchased online at ShenCoFair.com or ordered from the gair office at 540-459-7300.

The Shenandoah County Fairgrounds is one of the oldest fairgrounds in the state and its mandate is to help promote and benefit the community by providing a clean safe family environment for education and entertainment through the promotion of agriculture, business and other opportunities.