County Fair Opens This Month

County Fair Opens This Month

Entertainment, competitive exhibits highlight “The Many Faces of Arlington” from Aug. 21-24.

Arlingtonians don’t always agree. Scott Springston can attest to that. As president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, he’s involved in an ongoing dispute with the county over the best location for a new Cherrydale Fire Station. But when the county fair hits town this month, politics and land use take a back seat to flower arrangements and woodcarvings.

“It’s a good way to participate with the community, other than fussing with development issues,” said Springston. “And it’s a good way of showing off the Arlington way of doing things—getting people involved.”

“The Many Faces of Arlington” will be the theme for the 27th annual Arlington County Fair, at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center August 21-24.

“I think the fair is going to be one of the biggest we’ve had,” said Fair chairman Dick Durland. Last year nearly 70,000 people attended. “We have the largest indoor/outdoor fair in the United States,” he said.

Carnival rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, pig races, duck races, even human races, and of course food from a variety of cultures, will fill the outdoor area.

Indoors, the fair will feature live music and dance performances along with Springston’s favorite, the competitive exhibits, open to all Arlington residents and students, as well as residents of Falls Church.

“I think that’s what the county fair is really all about,” said Springston. Residents can enter in a wide variety of categories, from crafts and fine arts to fruits and vegetables.

WITH A DEARTH of sunlight this spring, there should be a wide-open field in the produce categories. “My pumpkins are about as big as a baseball,” joked Springston, who has won awards in virtually every category.

His wife Kathy helped start the fair 27 years ago, and the family has been involved ever since. Their son Dakota, 12, won his first grand champion ribbon eight years ago.

Springston hopes more local residents will get involved in the old-fashioned exhibits this year. “It’s a good feeling when you get a ribbon,” he said. “And it’s even a good feeling when you don’t get it—just to come by and see your stuff there with everybody else’s.”

LAST YEAR AT fair time, the community center floor was being replaced. As a result, fair organizers cut out live entertainment. “We did have a lot of comments that people missed the inside entertainment,” said Les Morgan, the fair’s entertainment coordinator.

This year’s schedule should make up for last year. “We just kind of started from scratch, and went out looking for old entertainment, new entertainment, and fortunately we found quite a variety,” said Morgan.

That means Tai Chi demonstrations will follow Hawaiian dancers, and Latin music will precede the Fire Department Puppet Show, to name a few.