Premiere of show barn, Kenny Rogers among lineup beginning Friday
By Preston Knight -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Fairgoers can become barnstormers at this year's Shenandoah County Fair.
The long-awaited premiere of the new 4-H and FFA livestock show barn -- officially named the Sharon Lilly 4-H FFA Show Arena -- boasting thousands of square feet under its roof is set to take place as the fair opens Friday.
"Last year, we made a strong attempt [to get it ready] but it just didn't work," said Tom Streett, a member of the fair's board of directors.
It will be worth the wait, he said, as there will be "way, way" more space to show and sell livestock.
"We're very proud of our community [for helping out]," Streett said. "It's a tremendous addition to the livestock area and fairgrounds."
But, as always, there will be more than livestock to show off at the fair, which runs through Sept. 5. One of the biggest changes is a new carnival company, Penn Wood Shows, along the midway.
Fair manager Marcy McCann visited the carnival's owners in Gettysburg, Pa., with some board members and walked away impressed.
"Even folded up, their equipment was pristine underneath," she said.
Dave Martin's Bullride Mania rodeo on Friday and professional FMX Motorcross on Sept. 5 return for a second year, and the usual tractor pull (Saturday) and two demolition derbies (Monday and Tuesday) are around once again.
Musical acts are headlined by country legend Kenny Rogers on Sept. 4, sponsored by Dave Bob's BBQ and Such in Winchester. New country acts Jamey Johnson (Sept. 3) and Julianne Hough (Sunday) also are scheduled to perform. Hough is a two-time champion on "Dancing with the Stars." Another new country act, Kate and Kacey, will open for her.
Classic rock group America will perform Sept. 2.
People can pre-register to donate blood to the American Red Cross on Sept. 4 and receive a CD from one of the entertainers.
Sept. 2 will also be veterans' day at the fair. All veterans and active duty military members will get in free, McCann said, thanks to David Britt and Joe Evy, who have agreed to cover entry costs.
There will be military-related demonstrations and displays, scheduled appearances by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, and Oliver North and more. Two nights later, the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team will land at 7 p.m.
Throughout fair week, the Army marksmanship trainer truck and American soldier adventure semi will be on hand, with mobile exhibits, night vision and more.
Elsewhere, new food vendors will offer homemade doughnuts, fried Oreos and grilled barbecue. There are now 100 permanent recycling bins on the property -- O'Sullivan Films Inc. in Winchester donated half -- and ATMs are on hand for the first time.
Harness racing will take place Sept. 2-5, and the activities tent and exhibits building will be active all week, McCann said. She said the goal is to make sure costs don't interfere with someone having a good time at the fair.
For more information, visit www.shencofair.com or call 459-3867.