Like a phoenix: AlbCo Fair rebuilds... at Ash Lawn


Plagued by heat, storms, and– most-recently– a season-quashing unavailability of land, the Albemarle County Fair has just revealed that it will be reborn this August at the home of James Monroe, a bold commitment to celebrating agricultural heritage and an ambitious announcement that comes just a day after the company operating the State Fair of Virginia announced that it has gone out of business.

A typically five-day event, the Fair will be reborn three-day August 2nd-4th as a fun and festive “old-time country fair," according to  release from organizers. The farm animals, exhibits, baked goods, crafts, and family entertainment will happen at the presidential home known as Ash Lawn-Highland, located less than two miles past Monticello.

"It's got great facilities, and it's going to be close to town," says Fair President Rob Harrison, noting that this is a transitional year with a smaller number of vendors, no night-time events, fewer days of operation, and no carnival rides.

"It will be primarily agriculturally focused," says Harrison, noting that 4-H events will be paramount along with the traditional beauty pageant– while the board seeks a permanent location in time for 2013.

"If anybody out there has a suggestion for a site," says Harrison, "we're open to that."

For years, the Albemarle County Fair teetered on the verge of financial disaster particularly after a series of wet weekends climaxing with a dramatic maelstrom toppling tents in 2003. Last year, organizers literally got the earth yanked out from under them when they learned that the Fair's longtime North Garden home would be unavailable, as that site has been turned into a private vineyard.

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Looks like the founders are competing again. Monroe's Ash Lawn will have the first fair, but Jefferson's Monticello wouldn't be far behind .

Two agriculture fairs in 2 months just miles apart, maybe the Industrial Revolution has come to an end.

Battle cry of the new generation - a chicken coop for every yard, but hold the rooster, please.

There is no comparison between those two events. Me thinks this is a cheap way to slip in an advertisement for Monticello.

Me thinks County Resident is right. Shame on you Gilda.

I wish there would be strip tease tents. But then I am old and like cheap entertainment.