Arlington may be part of the D.C. urban environment, but on Aug. 17 it gets back in touch with its rural roots with the Arlington County Fair. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the County Fair runs from Aug. 17-21 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center. Ribbon cutting for the ceremony begins at 5 p.m. The fair will also host a parade on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 10 a.m.
“This will be our 40th year,” said Rene Gornall, Arlington County Fair board chair. “It’s an urban county fair, which is different from what people might be used to in a rural area, but we still have tons of rides, lots of amazing food, funnel cake and things.”
The fair will also feature livestock, like racing pigs and a pony ride, as well as live performances by local artists. The fair is 1970s themed as a throwback to 1976, the year of the first fair. Since then the fair has grown to one of the largest county fairs on the East Coast. Admission to the fair is free.
The Arlington County Fair is a non-profit organization that is volunteer run with support from local groups.
“The planning process starts the day after the previous fair,” said Gornall. “There are no paid positions; most of us just do this in our free time. Our stage performers are donating their time. It’s kind of amazing what about a dozen people can do in their free time.”
Gornall said the local heat wave is supposed to be broken by the time the fair kicks off, but just in case, the fair has indoor activities, like theater and musical acts as well as competitions for best knitting, best photography, and best sculpture all in an air conditioned environment.
“There will also be rides, some new ones and some coming back, as well as carnival type games,” said Cornall. “And hey, how many chances do you have to get funnel cake?”